Staying “Permeable”

The hag in Massbrook Woods
The hag in Massbrook Woods

I once read something by Luisa Francia, one of the wise-women whose life’s work have given me so much inspiration and teaching on my own pagan path. She described how she’d dealt with being burgled by allowing, rather than resisting, her attacker, and letting his energy flow through her without doing any damage. In recent years, I’ve started to learn to apply this principle to my own emotions as well.

If you know me, you’ll know that I’m an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) and also highly emotional. Most of my life, I’ve struggled to embrace this rather than view it as a liability. I’m currently in another phase where I experience fairly intense emotions – mostly, I’m overflowing with happiness, but there are other periods, too.

I was talking to my wonderful Inga the other day, when I was in quite a lot of emotional pain. We talked about the difference between drawn-out, relived or self-tortorous pain versus the “clean” pain of simply experiencing different things in life. Today, I was reminded of Luisa Francia’s story, and I think the key to it is to allow it to happen and feel the full extent of the emotion, but without putting up any resistance, so that it can run its course and then flow through me – and leave my system.

It’s very scary and requires a lot of trust. The thing with sadness or, as I remember from a few years ago, heartbreak, is that they feel so real and absolute. When I fully allow them, they threaten to swallow me whole and I’m convinced that I can’t possibly ever feel anything else again. But the true pain, the kind which leaves behind real damage, only happens when I then try to hold back and resist. As long as I manage to allow it, it invariably ebbs off after a while, and it’s often a much shorter period than I’d thought possible.

I wonder if this makes sense to anyone except myself (I know it does to highly evolved and wise people, but they’re so much better than I am at explaining the concept)?

Mount Nephin, Maigh Eo
Mount Nephin in Maigh Eo

For me, the conclusions are clear, and they’re closely connected to my life purpose, the catalyst work I was put here to do. It’s only possible as long as I feel unconditionally, love unconditionally, and allow absolutely everything. And I can only get through all of these by staying “permeable”, not holding on or resisting, and letting it flow through me.

This is also why depression is my arch enemy. It’s the “dark side of the Force”, the moment when I capitulate and long for respite from the intensity. Depression makes me numb; it’s quite literally the absence of feeling. It’s also the death of me, not in the physical sense but in the sense of all that truly makes me who I am.

People often try and fix other’s pain or sorrow, but if it’s the “good kind”, then that’s really not necessary; it’s part of the deal and it always, always passes and makes the beauty and the miracles possible which also happen. And I’m learning, too. Mostly when I get hurt, it’s because I don’t live up to my own expectations. Believe me, I’m really working on that and I’m getting better. But I still have that expectation to be the best me for the people who deserve it (and most people do), and when I fail to deliver this, then I sometimes can’t help beating myself up about it.

At least for a bit, until it’s run its course and leaves my system. See how this works?

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10 thoughts on “Staying “Permeable”

  1. I think you’re very clear and I also think it’s better to allow and work with it rather than shutting down or working against it. That tends to come back to bite you later. I’m not a very emotional person but I’ve experienced both and I do better with allowing.

  2. Crystal clear and agree…thank you for sharing!! We live in a society that wants to fix everything and not feel. Feelings are a hassle. We live in a world that thinks we can fix everything and that we have to feel happy all the time. It is a challenge to walk away from that and really experience the message pain (and joy, love, etc) has for us. We are taught to remain calm, level, but experiencing life is messy, a beautiful mess, ups and downs…the fear of pain is greater than the pain often really is. Fear locks us in and keeps us from following our hearts. But yes it is hard not to slip into default defense and something to be mindful off. Thank you so much for this post! x

    1. Yes, yes and yes! Thank you for understanding ❤ It's a huge relief to see these replies – it's difficult enough to make sense of it on my own, so it feels wonderful to get some feedback.
      I find it's so easy to get distracted. Nobody benefits from brooding 24/7, but sometimes I just need to "sit" with a feeling in order to explore it and get to the bottom of what healing is needed. Rather than, you know, start scrolling through social media to take my mind off it.
      Thanks for reading! xx

  3. Inge Moon

    Oh my gods I can relate to the feeling of being absolutely overwhelmed by hurt or emotions in general, the feeling like you won’t ever survive. My rational side knows you do of course, but the overwhelmingness (I think I just invented a new word) is extreme sometimes.
    I am a true believer of living through the pain though, I have learned quite young that blocking things out is defenitely a bad idea and like Linda said it will come back and bite you in the ass (twice). But sometimes emotions are so exhausting that I want nothing more than nothingness, you know? Just nothing, leave me alone with my own mind. Maybe that too is a form of letting go. It’s like now and then I need this moment of true introversion to process the stuff that has been going on.
    Being a HSP is a gift, but there are defenitely days that I want to crawl away in a dark corner where everyone just leaves me alone. Unfortunately they rarely do. And then I feel guilty for wanting to be left alone. Because it’s not socially acceptable or something… Difficult balance.

    1. Yes to all of the above! And that’s definitely the danger with me, that it gets too much sometimes and I just get so tired about feeling such extreme emotions all. of. the. frickin. time. That can lead to me numbing myself and going into depression.

      It’s been quite a journey to find alternatives to it, and it’s in fact still a work in progress. What works for me is having space to myself (including my living space), taking time away from the rest of the world, lots of self care. For others, having a close family is the best medicine. It’s very individual.

      Thank you for sticking around and for understanding! ❤

  4. I’ve been taught something similar – to feel the feelings and then let them go. Like you said, the whole ebb and flow thing. It’s important to get into those feelings instead of pushing them down and pretending they don’t exist. The important thing is to not let them swallow us.

    1. Yes, exactly! My experience is that as long as I allow and don’t resist, my feelings may seem like they’re swallowing me, but they actually don’t. For example this time: It took two days, and then the sadness receded and I’m back to my “baseline” happiness. Yay!

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