Often lately I think the most two people have to give one another, in loving connection, is the truth of their feelings in a moment.
“I feel nervous and energized. This post comes from a deep place inside, but I don’t know how well it will be received. Feels like I’m taking a chance.”
In a way, the meaning of life is the feeling of life. By sharing what we feel, we grow meaning together.
We can share not just feelings about one another, but feeling as such — how it feels to be fresh home from an errand, to finish a phone call with your mother, to think about life while I peel potatoes, to step out of the shower and onto the cold tile.
“I’m anxious again about work. I should have sent out invoices today, but I got bogged down answering emails. And I’m judging myself a little for not being more present with you now. Voicing it, though, I’m starting to relax.”
Our feelings ebb and flow, like improvisational life-art inside us. Often feelings pass without witness, even inside ourselves. What if that witnessing became more like shared ritual, especially during those moments when we want to relax and connect?
Sharing feelings is a craft itself. It takes the willingness to be open and known, interested in another’s truth. It takes the grace to find the words in a given moment to describe those private and fleeting brush-strokes of spirit.
“I feel sad. I’ve had this stupid headache for two days, now. Actually, scratch that: I’m angry at God. In a way I want to blow up the universe. But I also feel tender, that you asked. Thank you.”
Today, among my closest friends, we often ask, “What are you feeling, right now?”
We take joy in not just listening to the answer, but imagining what we are hearing, as they answer. As if I felt it inside myself as well. In those moments of shared feeling, the closeness deepens, rises, spreads.
With practice, the sharing becomes less effortful or mechanical. More subtle and rich and interesting.
Instead of just sad, I notice I’m actually grieving in a way that feels young and sweet. Instead of just upset, I notice I’m feeling a growing urge to lash out defensively.
And as we see the feeling in greater detail, we watch its very nature changing before our eyes — our eyes, not just my own.
With more and more detail, and meaning, we know and we are known.
Of course, doing so requires real trust in who we’re with, that they know they don’t have to fix what we feel, that the witnessing itself is transformative. That feelings aren’t silly, or indulgent, or something to be afraid of.
Within that container of trust, the practice comes alive. It becomes connective and sacred.
What are you feeling, right now?