One of the adagios I have been living by the past months is this: if it feels good, it probably is good.
Beauty, pleasure, love, inspiration. We are said to chase it all, and yet, I think very few of us actually know how to embrace it. Embrace the beauty of a flower in your garden, the passing intimacy with a stranger on the street, the flow that has you write all day or work at what you are good at. Receive the love you see in your lover’s eyes. Or the compliment coming your way. Or even the stillness of just being there, with yourself, in the moment.
It is really a practice.
I am wanting to write about this practice because it has been kicking my ass. (One of the up- and downsides of writing these newsletters is that I often think, “Well, I can not beat around the bush here, I have been writing about this shit!” In other words, I want to hold myself to my own standards)
I remember a few months ago I really started practicing this in an intimate relationship. My head was saying one thing, and my body and heart another. My head was very stressed out at somebody coming so close, my belly and heart were saying “yes”, and it felt good. So I practiced staying with my heart and body. It was a hell of a ride, and it did not last, but I feel happy and grateful I dared to pursue what felt good.
It felt like I was staying so true to and intimate with myself, it truly felt like that was the real gold.
To be clear: I am not speaking about the rush and intensity of drama. Or attachment-based attraction (read more about Attachment Theory here). Or surfing your adrenaline until you drop. Neither am I speaking of addictions such as over-eating or numbing out with your drug of choice. I am also not saying taking drugs is always bad, or over-eating can not be very pleasurable at times. I am talking about that layer deeper. Where you feel closely connected to yourself, where your deeper knowing knows this is good for you,
because. it. simply. feels. good.
Cues would be: relaxation of your body. Presence. Your heart opening. A smile on your face. Giggles. The way that the world suddenly looks brighter and more alive. You feel more here. More expansive.
And yet there is a whole array of things that get activated when we embrace what feels good. “Who am I to..”, “I am not worthy of..”, “What if it goes away again..”
We all have our flavours and core beliefs, originating from our early childhood. And even though I know those beliefs are not true (Byron Katie’s The Work can be very helpful to work with these core beliefs), they will flare up when I am triggered, feel vulnerable, or am simply stepping out further than I am used to, because I believe I am worthy of it.
It feels like different parts of me are at war, and sometimes it is really hard to know what to trust: my head is saying one thing, my body and heart another.
And that is when I track what feels good. Because I know my thoughts are simply a collection of past experiences. And because I know stepping out into new territory, more goodness, more pleasure, more ease will activate these. And I also know these thoughts and patterns are simply wanting to keep me safe. So I hear them, I listen to them, I tell them I got this, and I pursue pleasure. Rather ruthlessly I would say, because it feels like a beacon in the confusion, and it shows me where the goodness is.
In the beginning it felt terrifying, because I did not have much data to back this strategy up, but as I have been doing it more, I can report it is a good strategy. I feel happier and more alive. More relaxed and more at ease. I still get activated, I do not think that ever goes away, but when I get lost I take my time to find my way back.
Because I have my compass. I track what feels good.
It is beautiful really. Try it sometimes and let me know what you find.