February 22, 2022

Reflections on What's Behind

By Therese Conway
Milky Way by Peter Doig, 1990

Milky Way (1990)
Peter Doig

The other day I was on a zoom call with about nine people. Toward the end of our discussion, one woman said,

Lately, when I am in conversation, I notice I am struggling to get the words out. I don’t know exactly what is going to come out of my mouth. What’s more, I feel "something" is trying to push itself out through my words, but I have no idea what it is. And I ask myself, "If I don’t understand what I mean, how can I expect it from my conversation partner?"

I can relate.

The essences I make for people are designed to suggest the messages/truths behind our words and feelings. I have been making essences for people for just this thing for almost 30 years. But listening for the message behind the words is much harder to do on the fly while in conversation, particularly one that evokes strong emotions.

A related pattern I am seeing now is people knowing that certain on-going strong emotions—anger, longing, or frustration, for example—are more about something they are trying to learn or express, and less about the need to dig deeper into the emotion. We seem to know this emotional state is our teacher. And we want to know more. What is so important that this emotion won’t let us go... or we won’t let go of the emotion?

I describe my main “teacher” emotion right now as “holy rage.” This is an anger that is not an annoyance, nor is it due to a personal slight. It is an anger that seems to come from the ground, right up the soles of my feet, and it fills my whole body. As I sit with this holy rage, it is usually about a perception of a violation of someone’s inherent dignity. Other people I've spoken with have different emotions that uncover different messages.

Why the problem now?

I have a few theories, but nothing definitive. Yes, we are in a global transition that is calling us to be bigger, wiser, and more focused. Also, who is not noticing the change in how we relate to each other. Our old categories to define each other aren’t working anymore (that’s a good thing). At the same time, we are all aware how interconnected we are. The creative and destructive possibilities held in our relatedness as beings with EMOTIONS are fascinating and frightening.

Do these “holy rages” point to ways we are revealing and standing for our fundamental human gifts and responsibilities? Are we wary of losing them? Are we revealing them because they are the elements of healing that life needs from us now?

Have you noticed any of this in yourself? Are you aware of changes in your conversations with others? Do your emotional responses feel different to you? Do you feel called to connect with others differently?

If so, ask the cards (which, you know, is asking your undivided self):



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