I am on a Spiritual Direction course ~ here we are taught to observe the weather within ~ we practice recognising and distinguishing thoughts from feelings ~ this is harder than you would imagine.
Divide a page in half. At the top write FEELINGS on one side, & THOUGHTS on the other side. Then out loud become the narrator of your own story and record the thoughts and the feelings revealed in the relevent panels. You can start the exercises as if by word association and observe where it takes you.
We constantly interchange in our dialogue between thoughts and feelings whether it be interiorly or externally vocalised. Its tricky at first ~ cloudy ~ through a glass darkly ~ but gets a little easier as time goes on. It was far easier to observe my articulate tutor doing this exercise and examining her own pathway mapped out, and then so very much more difficult in the mapping of my own dialogue.
However as a result of this exercises from time to time I find myself observing my own weather patterns, where once before I may well have been living and experiencing them but without conscious recognition of the particular movements abound.
Today I observe and I note the feelings within. Sadness so thick ~ it solidifies. The body set with a restrained but still moveable stiffness ~ it points to last nights belated restless and then sunken oversleep. A heaviness ~ like wet clay. My breathing is restricted slightly by a congestion that manifests itself permanently in my emotions, where the breath is nasal, deeply slow and sighful ~ as in permanent disappointment. The swallow remains tight ~ and in key moments of reflection, too swelling in my larynx ~ it often gives me away in the meditative silence in class, a swallowing held on to, and then only released when the spittle becomes too guttural ~ too loud and consciously released from my throat into my chest in order to be a natural casual gesture. And that in itself brings attention to an unease and an uncomfortableness at being exposed and convicted to self and others against ones natural disguises.
Today’s mood was one of subdued defeat and quiet sadness ~ It captured a more facial physical beauty. My face shows none of the animated, high coloured over-expression full-of-lifeness and exuberance like on other more energised and motivated days ~ but today rather a humility ~ a paleness ~ maybe a trace of sadness even, which if I saw secretly exposed in somebody elses being, would have left myself with feelings of gentle sadness and unspoken compassion held within, for them. Todays inner weather leaves my skin with a milky pale almost natural fresh and understated look. The eyes a marble watery lighter green today ~ reveal a quietness ~ an honesty ~ defeat ~ acceptance ~ sadness ~ stillness.
No Teresa of Avila today!