A terribly tortured client complained about her feelings. Not a specific feeling. She simply hated the whole idea of feelings; they were inconvenient; bothersome. Not surprisingly, she was suicidally depressed, full of self hatred, and utterly confused by why she was so miserable.
There’s good news. She’s doing great now; cognitive therapy has helped her far more than all of the hospitalizations and medications. She’s come to understand that feelings are wonderful teachers and friends. Instead of repressing them she lives her life joyfully by respecting the wisdom they offer.
Her story comes to mind as I reflect on my trip (told in a previous post) to Meron. Instead of taking our car, I decided on public transportation (it was actually really nice!!). One major difference between going in a private car and public bus is that on a bus there are no bathroom breaks. Otherwise, the driver would be forced to pull over every second; tachlis, a three hour trip would take three days. So instead we must all ‘hold it in’, cutting ourselves from our the messages that our bodies tell us.
The same is true of the family which my client comes from. Many children. Harried parents. A culture which indoctrinates towards sameness and ostracizes difference. In a world like that who has time for feelings? Who has time for inconvenient truths spoken by the heart. ‘Onward!!’, she was told again. Onward towards where? To a place whose entry fee was the cruelest kind of amputation: the person from herself.