feeling more

I'm starting this draft on a gloomy, stifled Saturday in New York. Right now I'm waiting for a tropical hurricane to come, projected to hit the city with its full ferocity. As I stare outside the 25th floor rooftop of the impressively elegant Herald Towers, I observe clumps of ominous dark clouds entering the scene like a B-rate movie villain. FLASH FLOOD WATCH MANHATTAN pops up on my notifications. Drip drip drip. So it begins.

One hour later, everyone is frantically running for cover as the torrential downpour consumes the streets. The damp default is always to think and act as quickly as possible. Where should I go? Should I be worried of subways getting flooded out? Will my plans get ruined? Why is New York City weather so wacky?

Being born and bred in “Raincouver” has given me the gift of resilience and so I tell myself, “Hey, it's just a little bit (lots) of water! It won't be the end of the world." And it's true, rain is just another liminal space. Just a meteorological transition passing through on Mother Nature's whim. But this time, instead of running the scenarios of how to optimize my situation, I sit there and watch.

The rain is soothing. It invites an atmosphere of calm and collectedness despite the imminent uncertainties that come along. What I've also realized is that the rain also puts a pause on having to think too much. There are only a few choices to make when the skies are pouring: stay inside or brave the outside. Movement is limited and external stimulus is suspended. No matter which decision you make though, you still feel the effect of the rain, emotionally and physically. In some ways there's beauty in embracing a rainy day mood, especially for those who never put out their constant fire (me).

My therapist, psychic, and improv instructors have all told me that feeling is key. To feel is to live fully & freely. Empathy, intuition, compassion... these are all fundamental elements of the human condition that we often don't take seriously enough. Ambitious folks know it's hard to live through feeling because our weeks are primarily laced with logic. Of course, I'm especially a huge violator of this. I thrive on curating knowledge and switching contexts quickly, finding novel ways to harvest deep thinking into personal gratification.

The dangerous thing is if we get too consumed by the flood of data analytics, status updates, transactional emails, and complex problems bombarding us constantly. We end up getting washed away by the very actions that put us into flow state. We end up digitizing ourselves as mechanical metrics seeking to be optimized. We end up conflating feeling good with feeling whole.

What results is a tragic sacrifice: shunning our core emotions to the side in favour of the neverending deluge of thoughts.

So how should typical lovers of logos shift more towards a path of pathos? Naming emotions felt is one important step. Then tuning into the sensations and letting them wash all over you, as the rain does with our bodies, can push you to be truly present. Or put simply, feel with your entire body.

The truth is that romanticizing your life to some extent is a powerful force to spur curiosity and action. But you can only view life with this freeing lens if you open up to consciously feeling. As much as I'm currently facing a backdrop of impending change and stormy transitions about to rock my lifeboat, I'm warming up to the idea that "just feeling" is the antidote to conquer these ambiguities.

For September, I'm going to try feeling more!

Published by Sam (samwong) 9 months ago on Saturday the 28th of August 2021.

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