How do you really feel?

I am feeling overwhelmed and exhausted at the moment. And in pain. Yes, I feel pain. 

It feels like I have been spending most of my time “explaining” why I don’t eat or wear animals, don’t drink alcohol, don’t wear shoes… isn’t it obvious?!

It makes me feel so sad that this is the case… that I am so-called “radical” (not the ninja turtles kind!) and “extreme” and I am patronized daily. This is not a nourishing space for me to be exposed to over long periods. Or even short ones. It’s not “safe”. Energizing. Reinforcing. Loving. And it’s only time when I will either totally hate the world or myself or both! Or in order to not “hate” which is completely self-destructive, I will start to numb my pain and suppress my feelings to fit in with the “norm”.

I wrote a blog recently “Love is the way” – and I believe what I said in there. But I also don’t believe in “false love” and “false positivity” which right now I feel I am in distinct danger of falling prey to. The exact “I am ok” “I am strong” “look at me I am so happy and so successful” bullshit that got me sick in the first place. The “insta profile” stuff. False spirituality. Spiritual bypassing I think it’s referred to as. Some shit like that. Some yoga teachers are experts at this. Insta influencers. It’s so hard not to be! I mean who wants to follow someone in pain and in turmoil, right ? Someone who tells the truth?! So rather keep that shit away! What do YOU think is the cost of this? 

I have even seen it with people reading my book. They don’t know what to say or do with someone expressing so much pain. It would be far easier and more comfortable not to. It’s almost as if someone expressing this pain becomes undesirable. We have been programmed to avoid pain and not really listen to it. I got this message last night:

“John great to see you too.. yes found your book very hard to read as could feel the pain and turmoil you must have been going through..well done though..what an amazing achievement to get the book written and published..safe travels, best of luck in the future and be happy x 😄” 

I have decided to stop using Facebook and Twitter. Not for the first time! I got sucked back in after a couple year hiatus during which was my most creative and inspiring period of my life. I made myself believe again that I had to use social media in order to have a voice. In order to reach people. Sell books. Get yoga students. Followers. To change the world. For now I am going to use instagram sparingly and see how this goes. It just doesn’t feel right. It feels like it’s so hard to express exactly what I am feeling on social media. And if I don’t express what’s inside it will amplify and manifest in dis-ease. It feels like social media makes us feel that we are changing the world, but somehow it feels to me that we are just adding to the noise, making ourselves feel good and merely losing ourselves along the way. 

Be. Here. Now.

Jeepers social media has ripped me away from here so often! 

I remind myself of the incredible moment back in 2013 when I was cycling across South Africa part of the annual Unogwaja journey (applications to join the 2019 Unogwaja team are open click here: http://unogwaja.com/applications-process/unogwaja-challenge-applications ). It was late one evening outside Lady Frere, a rural Eastern Cape Town, it was getting dark, it was cold. And suddenly to my right I catch a glimpse of a young boy in the distance running towards the road with his hand aloft. As he came closer I heard the words “Unogwaja! Unogwaja!” coming out of his mouth. I had goosebumps all over back then. I have goosebumps now. Social media didn’t deliver this message to this young boy. True light will reach, somehow, it will find a way, it always has and always will, just keep shining it. Stories, movements, change-makers have been “viral” long before the advent of social media. We don’t need social media’s for our stories to reach. 

Necessity is the mother of all creation

If we pretend all is fine we will not be stimulated to create new ways. Have YOU ever thought why we keep repeating history?

Butterfly Man is living proof of how pain leads to creativity. This is an excerpt from the book:-

“Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Don’t be afraid of birth. I promise you, and this is me, John, telling you. 

It’s the known bru, that we should be afraid of. That’s another thing Cristina said. Remember her?

“Just look” she said.

– climate change is real

– half the world’s people live on less than $2.50 per day

– 16,000 children under the age of 5 years die every day 

– more than 100 million people are homeless 

– 5 men own half the world’s wealth 

– they are all white 

– each year, nations generate 1.3 billion tons of waste 

– 8 million tons of plastic goes into the ocean every year, for a total of 5.25 trillion pieces as of now, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean

– you eat them 

– 21 million people are trapped in one form of slavery or another 

– 48 football fields of forest are cut down every minute 

– women still earn half as much as men

– do you get my point?

– do you understand why we are suffering?”

We need realness.

“Write what you’re feeling. Tell the truth. Write like nobody’s reading.” Susan David, TED talk “The gift and power of emotional courage

Like write down for real how you are feeling in this moment.

Do it for yourself. Do it for me too. Do it for us all. If you deny your feelings you will be doing harm to the relationship you have with your own body. And this very relationship determines how you treat everyone around you. This is not just about you. 

I can’t pretend to be happy when I’m not. I think people’s idea of happy is a state of “forgetting” or “pretending” – “fake it until you make it”. This isn’t working. Hence why so much alcohol (and other substances) is consumed around the world in order to take us out of a state of feeling. People are scared to feel. 

I want to feel. I am desperate to feel. I spent too long pretending I was ok when I wasn’t. Not feeling as it was too painful to even consider. Hiding my pain. Ignoring it. Not listening to what it was trying to say. As if in expressing pain there was “something wrong” with me. This made the pain inside grow not go. My book is uncomfortable for some people because it confronts this pain in us all. Pain is our greatest teacher, our way to creation, to new life. To bring to life what has never been seen before.

We can’t carry on in this state of false positivity or numbed pain, but we need to surround ourselves with love, gentleness and acceptance in order to have the courage, strength and energy to face the pain together, really feel it and allow it to guide us to a new way of being, to birth the unknown and not to kill us.

How do YOU feel? How do YOU really feel?

I feel better for sharing how I really feel with you. Thank you for listening. Each word is like pain being released. Better out than in. Believe me!

Bodhi

About Bodhi

In conventional speak, John McInroy is a South-African born social activist, humanitarian, social entrepreneur, ultra endurance athlete, international field hockey player, actor and vegan yogi. In more authentic terms, Bodhi is a human you may see walking the streets barefoot trying to find new ways to tread as lightly as possible.

3 Comments

  • Janice says:

    Bodhi…reading your words are like listening to my own thoughts and remembering similar experiences. I can relate to so, so much of what you say. Part of my journey has been learning to ‘feel’ on a deep level. At times I feel quite connected and other times so out of balance that I want to jump out of my skin. For me, there are tools that I need on a daily, weekly basis to keep grounded and connected to the universe/god/humans in an energetic way, beyond the superficiality of mindless self-promoting talk, beyond incessant chatter because we feel we need to fill up space, beyond all of our self-imposed limitations, connecting in simple heart-felt ways. Sometimes it’s as simple as a stranger offering me a seat on the subway. One day the train jerked and I was about to fall forward when a woman caught me! We both smiled and laughed. I thanked her and she joked that it was her maternal instinct that helped me. In that moment I felt like I could cry, a happy cry because I felt a connection in my heart. It was beautiful. Those small moments are there, find them, so that you can remember what is good in humanity.

    Recently I had a traumatic event on the train. A stranger confronted me in an angry, humiliating way based on false notions of who they thought I was. It was weird and upsetting and I couldn’t even try to speak rationally to this person because the things they were yelling did not make sense. There was a distortion of logic. I was on my way to see my therapist and of course I spoke about this incident. She said this was one of the most important things to happen to me and it was a blessing if I could learn and remember the lesson. The lesson was…I had been in the habit of sometimes cursing humanity, saw the ugly side and not the beauty, focused on how I felt different, was different, had ideals and values that were not important to my peers, felt I was supposed to play this weird, social, superficial game that I didn’t like, was tired of fake smiles and small talk, didn’t want to deal with people at all…

    so the lesson was, how I was perceiving humanity was not the whole truth, maybe not the truth at all, in the same way that the stranger on the train perceived me…nothing could be more false! And if I kept cursing humanity, I was in fact cursing god because we are one and the same. And I was cursing myself. That part of myself that I hated because I’m still terrified to connect and trust others. So I told myself all sorts of stories to keep a safe emotional distance from people. It’s something I’m working on and still brings much anxiety. So what I’m perceiving to be true about other humans, or what I think they think of me, is simply an assumption and if I can remember that it’s false, as false as the person screaming accusations about me on the train, then I can finally have the kind of connections I desperately desire. Because all that falsehood is is fear. A manifestation of fear.

    I went to see Mother Amma yesterday at the Marriott with my husband Carl and there was an older woman on the escalator with us who was lost. She didn’t know what floor she needed to be on. I stood next to her and she began speaking quite fast, I could barely make out the words, her accent was so strong. We listened really intently to her and helped her find where she needed to go. We had 2 experiences like that that day. And as simple and possibly insignificant as those encounters could have been perceived, they made me feel sooo good. I felt that to help someone was to connect with them on a real level as opposed to running into an acquaintance on the street and having to superficially recount what ‘i’ve been up to’ or ‘what i do now’…who cares! I’ve realized that connecting with strangers allows me to not have to ‘be’ anything or ‘prove’ anything or ‘make myself seem interesting’. How freeing! And social media…it can be quite dangerous because it exacerbates narcissism and that need to BE GREAT. LOOK AT ME. I use it with great caution. And I find that when I do let myself spent say 10 minutes going through an instagram feed, often I feel like shit about myself afterwards. So I’m very conscious of how and when I’m using/viewing it.

    For the kind of work you’re doing…this consciousness raising at a time when, generally speaking, our culture is extremely narcissistic and numb…is a challenging task! Make no mistake about what your doing Bodhi. I agree with all that you speak of and I find that I keep such thoughts to myself mostly. So to see you really putting yourself out there, it’s very courageous, but remember there will most likely be push back or even attacks on you because you are challenging cultural norms, the very fabric of people’s identities and that will make them lash out! I remember how angry I was during one of Sharon’s master classes because she was really getting evangelical about veganism. At that time, I was a pescatarian, had tried veganism a couple of times and didn’t stick with it. Her talk was bringing up shame in myself because I knew she was right and I was compromising my own integrity and I felt like shit about it and the emotion that came up was anger towards her…but it wasn’t about her at all. It was about me.

    When others lash out at you, it’s not about you at all. Let it move past you. It’s about the stuff that you’re bringing up in them that they do not want to see, feel, deal with…

    also, I know everyone has there own way 🙂 and vegans can get passionate, but I’m not a fan of proselytizing ‘my truth’ with includes veganism. Here’s why: we are all on our unique journey and time is irrelevant. It takes us as long as it’s supposed to take us to raise our consciousness, become more aware, make important changes in our lifestyle, etc. To proselytize is a bit like condemning another, it’s judging another for their way of life and that sets up a strong energetic dichotomy of us versus them. It makes it seem as if the person being preached to is ‘beneath’ the other. It took me 43 years to become vegan. Having dignity for other people’s journey is to allow them to see things in their own time. Not in the time that WE feel they should be ‘getting it together’. I understand the sense of urgency one feels when they reach a new state of awareness, it’s as if all must be changed now or the earth will explode. But that’s not how it works. Honoring another is to honor their path ‘as it is’ even if we do not agree. That’s not to say one should not advocate and educate. Advocating and proselytizing I find are two very different energies. Advocating is more love directed while the other is more anger directed.

    Be sure to take care of yourself, nourish yourself and protect yourself energetically. In the same way that a healer or shaman knows how to protect themselves as they work with others. Even yoga teachers, remember when Rima spoke about that ritual she does after class to release any energy she picked up while teaching? One can become quite drained (I have) even sick if they’re constantly picking up and keeping others’ energy without realizing it.

    Water is really energizing and revitalizing. Try a warm bath with mineral salts and essential oils. Jump in a clean river or lake. Lay on river stones and let the water cleanse you. Spend time lying on the ground of a forest or resting on a tree. When I’ve gone through long periods of fatigue or a healing crisis, these remedies helped me 😉

    Wow, I wrote a lot..hope that’s okay, lol. Love, hugs, and blessings to you Bodhi. Keep the faith. xoxox

  • Jim says:

    NAMASTE Bodhiji,

    I confess not yet reading Butterfly, but see you dealing with aggressive external energies which overwhelm.
    We all (not just you) own the issue of regeneration of positive nurturing energy to overcome current social, environmental imbalances. (Down with the Patriarchy)
    “Save the World” sound like the comics, but I agree with the gravity. I have been stuck on a Superman mindset too many decades with no seen benefit.
    Likely I have less insight on many things, but reflection and rest always seem to help.
    Also helpful is a friendly sounding board.

    Best to You on your path,
    Jim

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