This being human thing

Maybe what we want to do is get good at feeling lost.

Rob Bell said something along those lines on one of his recent Robcast episodes. It reminded me of something that a friend of mind once said to me. I was telling him how I wasn’t feeling confident about something, and he said to me, Maybe being confident doesn’t feel the way you think it feels1.” It also reminded me about something that I said to a different friend. I’m not interested in just feeling happy all the time. I just want to develop the capacity to fully feel whatever is coming through me. To be fully present with my life.” Of course, this was in the midst of a difficult time when I had just gotten done telling this particular friend that I thought I was permanently stuck, and wanted to feel differently. Does that include feeling permanently stuck,” he quipped back. D’oh!

All of this points to a kind of expertise that we rarely talk about in our world: the expertise of living a human life. It’s something we all share. If you can read these words you are living a human life2. A human life may take place in a variety of contexts, and our experience of it may be influenced by a variety of different factors — examples coming to mind are race, sex, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, etc. — yet, at the base level, the level that includes how we are feeling, the energies that flow through our bodies, it is the same thing. But we don’t talk about it much. We certainly don’t look at it as a place we can find common interest. And we don’t necessarily get taught how to navigate it in a way that opens us to the fulness of the potential swirling within us. This potential lives in our capacity to navigate the things we don’t like. The things that don’t feel good.

How do we get so big that we can feel these things flow through us unimpeded? How can we see the benefits they bring? How can we learn to be with everything as it moves through us? As I’m writing this, I’m seeing that there is something here to more deeply explore. For myself, and for all of us. What would it look like to continue to dig into this being human thing? Where might it take us?

More on this soon, I’m sure.

  1. I have this niggling suspicion that I’ve written about this piece of advice from this friend before. I can’t remember where, and don’t really feel like looking for it. Just FYI.

  2. If that’s not true, please come forward. I’m very curious about you.

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