Feeling feelings (AKA the dilemma of living a conscious life)


You know what’s just so gosh darn frigging annoying? When the Universe throws you a curve ball and you’re REALLY tested to walk your talk. It’s like we’re on this earth to learn things or something. Who would’ve thunk it?

No need to go in to details, but suffice to say what I’m going through is a common human experience. The kind I’ve found myself describing as an icy cold breath swirling its freezing fingers from the top of my head to my toes. One of my significant wounds (ah heck, it’s several) have been triggered and I’ve found myself in the discomfiting embrace of my shadow.

Pema Chodron

Goose-bumps aplenty. Knots tying themselves in the pit of my stomach.

I’m experiencing what  one of my soul sister bestie’s Helen refers to as a Universe ‘pop quiz’. Lovingly, I’m being reminded that it’s all well and good to espouse living a well and spirited life when things are chugging along really well. But the real test is when a spanner is thrown in to the works and you rub up against something so painful, that it takes every goddamn skerrick of your effort to put it all in to practice and not fall in to a permanent, sodden, snotty-faced mess of despair, barely visible beneath the swirl of your sheets and bed covers.


As you can imagine, the dialogue in my head has been something along the lines of, ‘For serious, Universe? Can’t you see that life is coming along swimmingly for me right now? I’m vibing high and thanking you every day for the myriad blessings you shower upon me. And now THIS?’ *shakes fist* *stomps feet* *sobs* *eats raw cacao*. Rinse and repeat.

And as a conscious person, I absolutely cannot numb myself to the situation because I know it’s not in the interest of my growth, my health, or my highest good. Being conscious involves acknowledging our external world as a mirror. A reflection of our inner state of being. And when our wounds are triggered by external events, it’s important to let it all rise to the surface and heal. And not project it on to others.

This quote from Iyanla Vanzant encapsulates it well:

“You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them.”

I’m feeling all of the feelings. And resisting the urge to numb, numb, numb it all. Because I absolutely know that it’s better for my growth and health to let the experience consciously move through me, and as Hiro Boga says, ‘let the natural cycle of the experience be completed’.

So accepting, allowing, surrendering and relinquishing judgement are my go-to states of being at the moment. Accompanied by radical self-kindness and care.

I once heard a quote (but I can’t for the life of me remember where):

‘Uncomfortable feelings are our portals in to presence.’

I’m finding that the more present I am with my pain, the more I acknowledge it, sit with it, and truly feel it, the quicker it moves through me and back out in to the ether. It doesn’t feel like it will at the time (it takes all of my strength not to push it away), but it does.


It’s been super interesting observing myself during this time. Amidst the emotions I’ve also been able to lock in to the seat of my soul and be utterly at peace. Then a wave of emotion will build and crash through me and I have to let it flow. The ego of course wants to pipe up with her two cents, which largely tends to be bitchy and whiny and generally not at all empowering. Thankfully I’m pretty good at turning down the volume. Or I have loved ones who can step in when I don’t have the strength.

What I’m finding most challenging though, is staying soft while I consciously live life’s questions. To not constrict and harden. To remain open. Especially when my ego is screaming at me to find myself the finest specimen of galvanised steel, take up metal work and build myself an impermeable shield.

But I know doing this will also count me out of a lot of wonderful experiences. I want to live a whole-hearted life, and this requires embracing vulnerability, not being immune to it.

As my homegirl Brene Brown says:

“Vulnerability is at the core, the heart, the centre, of meaningful human experiences. Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy — the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light”.

Gosh that woman is good. And if you haven’t read Brene’s Daring Greatly yet, DO IT my friend. It’s a fantastic resource for anyone who’s living life’s questions of worthiness, shame, vulnerability and courage.


I think when you live life in a conscious way it’s absolutely okay to complain how much it can hurt, lament how much we’d rather be ignorant again and bury our heads in the sand without guilt.

I think it’s okay to sometimes think that  living consciously and feeling all of our feelings can be something of a curse.

So long as we can still remain resolute in remembering that it’s also our cure.

Can you relate? How do you deal with life’s more difficult experiences? I’d love to hear from you below, beautiful. xx


  • Helen {The Little Sage}

    What a brave post, dear Carly. Thank you for sharing. You know I’m always sending lots of light and love your way.

    THIS is the stuff of life. These tests, or ‘pop quizzes’, are what allows our soul to fulfil the agreements we came here to fulfil. It’s so much deeper than the surface level, day-to-day lessons we *think* we’re here to learn. Oh no my friend. It is these, which rock and challenge us to the core which is the stuff of life.

    Know you are learning and growing beyond the present, in a time and dimension beyond your physical reality. Your vulnerability and rawness show your willingness to grow.

    You are perfect as you are.

    Helen x

  • Tahlee

    Well honey girl, you KNOW I’m right alongside you. Thank you for showing up and shining your true self in all it’s wounds and glory. What a beautiful post.

    Brené is mah homegirl too and I love her quote ‘You can’t selectively numb’. If we want to vibe high we got to accept the low vibes too.

    Sending you alllll the love and raw cacao a girl could ever want.

  • Sophia

    Beautiful post honey. These are usually the times we look back on with gratitude. It’s just so hard to see why when you’re in the thick of it! Sending you loads of love and healing energy xxx

  • Alana

    Wow Carly. I am so glad you wrote this post. This is an area which I am CONSTANTLY being challenged in – my default setting is to numb, distract, and avoid. I hardly ever sit with feelings and fully feel them. Bravo to you for being so conscious throughout this difficult time.

    Much love xoxo

    • Carly

      I’m so glad to hear this post has served you, Alana honey. Thank you so much for sharing that being conscious and feeling feelings challenges you too. xx

  • Emma Kate

    This post is such a beautifully crafted + delicately honest piece of writing. I know these feelings. It’s both a blessing and a curse to feel so deeply sometimes. I think that darkness carves a space so deeply in our core so that light can then fill the space with abundance like never before. Carly lovely, as light floods you again, you’ll be beaming up this world.

    So much love x x x

  • Sara

    In the words of Marianne Williamson ‘The universe intends that I be loved. All is planned for my greater good’. How easily do we forget this and more often allow those shadows to take over? This is a beautiful, raw post that absolutely will shut the front door on that ego/mean girl/shadow. Your words, authenticity & openness have completely invited me to take a look at my own disconnection, where I am straying from love & honesty in my life? Where am I not feeling those feelings?

    Bravo to you for each and every sentence that came from the heart. You completely own this post & your feelings. Just think what amazing things will come out of this experience! I always remind myself in the storm ‘ God wouldn’t give me a challenge that I am completely not ready for’ .

    I love you dearly and you are one incredible writer, woman & absolute full pocket of inspiration.


    • Carly

      Thank you, beautiful Sara. Gosh I love Marianne Williamson – I could read her stuff forever. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom and for being such a shining light in my life. So much love for you. xx

  • Lucy

    Hey Carly, I really enjoyed and related to this. There’s always that cross-road right – to stay and feel or to numb and ignore. I feel it too. It’s funny how being vulnerable – present and open as you say in the jaws of pain makes us feel. At first I feel completely weakened and immensely angry. But there’s an incredible power in that difficult surrender. To practise it is a courageous thing. I try my best too. Thanks for sharing xx

    • Carly

      Thanks Lucy, I love what you say about the crossroads – it’s so true. And thanks so much for sharing your feelings about it as well, I really appreciate it. xx

  • Rach // In Spaces Between

    My gosh, this (like everything you write) is stunning. I remember Danielle LaPorte writing a post with a message somewhere along the lines of ‘This is why we practice.’

    Because – yes – when life is easy, we are comfortable. This isn’t to begrudge that experience at all, because it’s all part of the light and shade of life, but there IS a deepening that can only come out of those murky, friction-y moments.

    So here’s to another piece in the puzzle of your life finding its place. Much love lady, you are such a star. xo

    • Carly

      Thanks so much, lovely Rach. Indeed, this is absolutely why we practice – and I’m now going to madly look up this DLP post! The friction, ah it burns. But you’re absolutely right. Lots of love. xx

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