Foundations: Ferocity

Fierceness is not the same as cruelty. Our fierceness is what gives us the energy to want to change things in a positive direction. It’s also what mothers feel when somebody attacks their children. And that’s a healthy thing. We need to re-embrace that kind of fierceness and indignation, not from an egoistic point of view but from a compassionate perspective. We can’t let the world be destroyed, and we need to be fierce—not violent or cruel, but fierce about it.

– Michael Soulé, “The Whole Package”

Michael Soule’s quotation is a Word of Wisdom all by itself.  He leads me to ponder more deeply.  Too often, I fail to take my own feeling life seriously enough.  In fact, I think that I live in a culture, was raised and educated in a culture, whose message has been something like this: what you feel can be ignored.  What you feel may often need to be ignored. Feelings are inferior to thoughts.  Not only can you ignore feelings, but you must, and when you do, they will go away, and then you can be rational and thoughtful.

The fact is, our feeling life pervades every inch of our bodies.  Our feelings flow through us all the time.  They have a color, a texture, a dimension and a language all of their own, and I am learning that the more I pay attention to them, the more I begin to understand and appreciate how they help me to engage life more deeply.

Because our collective way of being in the world denigrates feelings and pretends that we can banish them, we become blind to their continued presence, and when they rise up in us in their more powerful forms, they are forced out through our egos–the false mask self that we walk around wearing and pretending to be.  The forcing out, the doing out of our otherwise natural feelings are called e-motions–moved-out-energy.  When our feelings are moved out of us via the false self, they almost always do harm.  When feelings are ignored and suppressed in the body, they take their toll on the body-self: higher blood pressure, higher stress hormones, and a deep-seeded disconnect from our own souls.

Ferocity speaks to my feeling life.  Can I allow today, with a genuine ferocity, that I have feelings, all the time, and that they belong to me for my good: to listen to, to feel, to experience, to take insight from, to help me make choices that are good for me and for others?  Let’s be ferocious today:  let’s choose to pay attention to what we are feeling. Let’s honor the feeling.  Let’s listen to it.  We don’t have to do a thing other than that to begin this re-acquaintance with our true self.

Bob Patrick

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