“I’m stirred,” I said to Jeanie recently. Not that that is unusual. I frequently say I am stirred. Why? Because I am frequently stirred.
Am I alone? Are you stirred? Do you ever feel a little emotional flip in your belly? It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, just a tiny little flip will do. If so, you too have been stirred.
Stirred [adjective] Being excited or provoked to the expression of an emotion
Imagine a jar of water. The water is clear, but there is sediment on the bottom. The jar is me (or you), the clear water is a lack of emotion. The sediment is the stuff we remember from our past… some of it good some of it bad. It is made up of memories and beliefs attached to the memories that were emotionally embedded. Haven’t you ever been reminiscing about something with a friend and say, “Remember when we…?” and the friend doesn’t know what you are talking about. She has no memory of it whatsoever. Chances are, it was emotionally embedded for you, but not for her.
Our jars get stirred when anything bumps up against our expectations and beliefs. Sometimes we feel that little emotional flip. Sometimes we are paralyzed with anxiety. Our tendency is to ignore the little flips and avoid the big ones until the emotion dies down and it seemingly takes care of itself. Getting stirred can be incredibly uncomfortable and even embarrassing. If we just hold the jar still long enough, the feeling will go away. I think that’s what they mean when they say, “time heals all wounds.” It doesn’t, but the feeling gets smaller over time. It becomes more sediment in the jar to be stirred up later.
The feelings are what embeds the memory and with the memories are embedded beliefs. Some are true, but many are lies. The value in the stirring is that we can feel and in the process examine those beliefs. I won’t tell you that is easy. In fact it is incredibly difficult to examine carefully and to be honest about those beliefs. As far as I know, the only alternatives are to a) ignore the stirring and hope it will go away soon or b) point fingers at other people or circumstances. Neither is worth the pain in the long run.
The thing is, stirring the jar is the only way I know of to un-embed those feelings and beliefs. As uncomfortable as it is, it is valuable. Kind of like removing a splinter. The first time you get a splinter, getting it out with the tweezers hurts like crazy. The second time, just the sight of the tweezers is enough to hurt even worse than it did before. There’s a fear embedded with the memory. The problem is that to leave the splinter is to invite infection. So we feel the fear and let the tweezers do their work anyway. Soon it is all forgotten.
I am afraid of being stirred. Just the same, I want to be stirred. When I feel the flip, I want to keep asking myself what it is about. What do I believe? Is it true?
What about you?