Are you living under a glass bell?
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/11/2020 (678 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, an enchanted rose is kept under a glass bell. You don’t glass bells around too much anymore, but in Victorian times they were used to display flowers or wax fruit in a dust-free manner. Something under a glass bell is visible, but it can’t be touched or damaged.
When I was a kid, I remember imagining myself in such a transparent bubble, safe from any harm or pain. What I didn’t realize at the time is that it’s not possible to numb the bad stuff without numbing the good stuff as well. If you don’t allow yourself to feel pain, you will also not feel joy.
I’m currently listening to Glennon Doyle’s latest book, Untamed. In it, she describes how she broke free of the life she had created according to the expectations she grew up with. She’d built a very successful career as a Christian writer, but then everything for which she had been celebrated was exposed as a sham after she fell in love with another writer, a woman, and had to rebuild her whole identity afresh, as herself.
She narrates this book herself and, as I walked the streets of my neighbourhood, listening to her describe how she learned to heal the numbness she had created in herself, I couldn’t help but cry for all of us who have numbed ourselves, to one extent or another. We think we are safe under our glass bells, but we are also not living. Is it worth it?
So how do we heal this numbness, and break out of our glass bells?
The answer can be quite scary, but it’s the only way out. We have to start feeling all of our feelings — the good, the bad and the ugly. As my teacher Brooke Castillo says, nobody ever died of a feeling. We think we will but we don’t. It can be very uncomfortable (knotted stomach, shallow breathing, rapid heartbeat) but we won’t actually die.
Glennon says that during the worst of her early sobriety, which coincided with her first pregnancy, she looked at a sign in a colleague’s classroom that said ‘We can do hard things.’ I remember saying that to my children as they were growing up.
If you are ready to break out from under the glass bell, it’s going to be hard. But it’s OK, because we can do hard things. We can feel all of our feelings, and we won’t die. We will feel pain, and we will feel joy.
I can’t wait. Are you coming with me?
Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan. Check out her blog at: http://hadasseviatar.com/blog/
West Kildonan community correspondent
Hadass Eviatar is a community correspondent for West Kildonan.