Thursday, April 5, 2012

Oh Darling Tell me More & Snakes Become Ropes

In Women God and Food, Geneen Roth writes, “Can you imagine how your life would have been different if each time you were feeling sad or angry as a kid, an adult said to you, "Come here, sweetheart, tell me all about it"? If when you were overcome with grief at your best friend's rejection, someone said to you, "Oh, darling, tell me more. Tell me where you feel those feelings. Tell me how your belly feels, your chest. I want to know every little thing. I'm here to listen to you, hold you, be with you."

Wow, I don’t know about you but I am struck by how profound Roth’s words are.  The sentiment expressed, makes me a little weepy.  The little girl inside me seems to awaken with longing.  I think back to my life and wonder, ‘WHAT IF?’  How would my life have been different if someone had said “tell me more,” when I was in tears for being made fun of, instead of helping me make a plan to lose weight.  How would my life have been different if my Mom had said “tell me more” when my parents problems upset me, instead of “it’s none of your concern, don’t worry about it.”   How would life have been different if my feelings had been ok and had been welcomed?

My life would have been different, however that’s not the way it went down.  Most likely it’s not the way your life went down either.   We can wish for what wasn’t or we can become the adult we long for to ourselves.

When we notice a powerful emotion we can make a choice to say, "Oh, darling, tell me more.” instead of trying to push or rationalize it away.  We can take the time to be with that emotion.  Welcome it, no matter how scary it seems.   We can give our selves permission to feel it.  We can be intensely curious, noticing how it impacts us physically. We can say to the emotion “I want to know every little thing. I'm here to listen to you, hold you, be with you."

Roth describes what happens beautifully, “All any feeling wants is to be welcomed with tenderness. It wants room to unfold. It wants to relax and tell its story. It wants to dissolve like a thousand writhing snakes that with a flick of kindness become harmless strands of rope.”

Snakes become ropes.  Captivity becomes freedom. Suffering becomes joy.  Stuck becomes possibility.   

P.S. If you haven't read Women, God & Food consider doing do.   Highly recommened Radical Hateloss reading!


Fresh and Feisty said...

Thank you for these thoughts! I love this book but didn't remember this quote. As I try to parent my increasingly active and strong personalitied toddler I wonder how to best go about it. This may help!

Mischa said...

Thanks for posting this. It is so timely for me today. Growing up for me, expressing feelings was just not allowed, had to put on a smiley face all the time and not feel anything bad or sad, or if I did was to risk ridicule.

I have been doing some detoxing lately, and for the past 2 weeks or so I have been emotionally detoxing. By that I mean I cry and scream for a good long while every night, like I have never screamed before. After doing this a couple of weeks now, I had a lightbulb moment yesterday that I am very angry and this is me feeling that anger. I didn't realize why I was screaming until yesterday, just needed to scream. Let me tell you, its scary, but it feels good too. I want to be able to feel my feelings as they happen instead of repressing them. I feel like I am emptying myself of the past in order to move forward (new job coming up, new way of thinking and feeling about my life and my body).

I just wanted to share and tell you that what you wrote touched me, and thank you for sharing that quote.

Stephanie Vincent said...

@Fresh&Feisty- I LOVE that this post if inspiring parents. That is what its all about!

@ Mischa-Thank you so much for sharing. It sounds like you are allowing yourself to feel your emotions in a way you have never before. i'd love to hear how that impacts you going forward!

penguinsandladybugs said...

I read that book a while back...maybe it's time I re-read it! I really, really liked this thought and hope I can honor my feelings with gentleness!