It has truly tipped into winter in Melbourne with drizzle sending the frog under my window into chirrups of delight. I am also well, not delighted, but contented to slip into longer nights and cooler days that provide an excuse for introspection. And the inner stories are always beckoning.
I recently gave a talk on ‘Revealing Feeling’ where I admitted that I had sometimes been accused of being ‘too sensitive’, something that felt more like accusation than admiration. Yet more and more I have grown grateful for sensitivity. When feelings and emotions are welcomed rather than suppressed or skipped over, they may offer wisdom. Arthur Zajonc says ‘When we illuminate hatred, jealousy, and lust, we convert feelings into scouts that run out far before us, telling us about the world.’ And also telling us about ourselves: our deepest values, the direction our life may be asking us to choose, the habits and beliefs we need to leave behind, the things that need to change or transform.
Recently, someone made some justifiable but rather stinging comments about something I had done. ‘Ouch,’ my over-sensitive soul said, ‘that hurt!’ Immediately I could feel the voices of inadequacy curling up inside me and whispering, ‘Oh, not good enough, Clare’ and then indignance puffed itself up and tried to find reasons to blame anything or anyone other than myself. Once I observed these forces and voices, I could listen instead for the deeper reasons for the complaint, the truth that lay within and what needed to be addressed.
Yes, the sting of hurt continued but I did not linger (too long!) with the reactivity of low self-confidence and self-righteousness. Already a colleague and I have taken creative steps to address the situation.
So, I welcome wintry times of living more with the fascination of inner stories (and the calls of delighted tree frogs).