Inner Peace: Ann Barton

"Embracing that hurt you feel turns to joy. Call it to your arms so it can change."

— Rumi

Presence brings inner peace. Whatever I am feeling, fear, anger, grief, even jealously or hatred, will call up a feeling of inner peace when I can be present with these feelings. When I embrace them, accept them, even love them, I then feel an emotional alchemy. These feelings transmute into joy, acceptance and peace.

I am reminded of the first time I was aware of this alchemy. My cousin was five and I was babysitting him. I was 21 and a new psychology student. He got very mad at me over something I felt bad about. I decided to try and talk with him about it, but before I could even get the words out of my mouth he was laughing and ready to play chase with me. I was astounded by how quickly he got over his anger, almost as if it never happened. Young children do this all the time, because they feel, express it and move on.

I had an experience of this the other day. I was on the phone trying to make an appointment with my doctor's receptionist. She was not listening to me. I said what I wanted again and again. She just kept telling me that what I was asking for was impossible. I got more and frustrated and began to be rude and angry towards her. I stopped myself in mid—sentence when I realized how reactive I was being. So I said I would call her back later. I got off the phone and sat there feeling this anger flowing through my body, through my veins like blood. It was actually quite invigorating and felt like life force itself filling me up with a lively energy.

I began to enjoy the experience I was feeling and was able to ask myself why I had been so reactive with this woman. I then had a memory of trying to tell my mother something and she just wouldn't listen and I realized how much I yearn to be heard and listened to. It wasn't about getting my way; I just wanted to be acknowledged for my request.

I was then able to call her back and apologize for my rudeness. I told her about my frustration. At that point, she understood my request. I felt a deeper understanding and compassion for myself and my deep desire to be heard.

This experience brought me a feeling of inner peace because I embraced my feeling of anger. It also brought me closer to the woman on the phone and I imagine she felt a sense of inner peace as well.

Another story comes to mind. A friend of mine was studying with a spiritual teacher and he asked one of the monks whether the teacher ever has challenging feelings like he has. Or if when one is enlightened they don't have these feelings anymore. The monk smiled and said that yes the teacher had all the feelings that all humans have, he just moves through them more quickly.

I think what this meant is that he is so present with whatever emerges out of his psyche, he immediately embraces the feelings, bringing his presence to the experience. It gets heard. The experience is allowed to complete, as it did with my five-year old cousin — angry one moment, joyful the next.

In my practice I see this happen every time a client has the courage to allow their feelings full expression. It really is emotional alchemy. "Feelin' it, is Healin' it."

I invite you to "Call it to your arms so it can change."

Ann Barton, M.A., is an Ashland therapist and life coach, reachable at 541-951-9136 and annbarton56@gmail.com. Her Web site is growthtogratitude.blogspot.com. Residents of the Rogue Valley residents are invited to submit articles on all aspects of inner peace; spiritual path; intuition; guidance; courage; forgiveness; Presence; joy; tolerance; and challenges of grief, addictions, and more. When we share, lives are touched and our community spirit is enhanced. Send 600 to 700 word article to Sally McKirgan innerpeace@q.com. View articles at www.dailytidings.com search: inner peace.