I’m currently listening to a course on mindfulness called, “Cloud Sangha,” where Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach, authors and Buddhist practitioners, offer daily 10-minute training sessions. In one session, Jack talked about the conflicting feelings we might harbor with those we love. We can feel love, care, anxiety, resentment, tenderness, attachment, frustration, and compassion, all at the same time. In a single morning, we can experience a whole variety of strong feelings and emotions. Emily Dickinson calls these the “mob within the heart.”
My reflection: When my son was in active addiction – and even in my daily life today – I am awash with emotions, often about the same person or event. Love, resentment, joy, anxiety, care, anger, and betrayal can exist in me, all at the same time.
Today’s Promise to consider: We, who love those with substance abuse problems, feel deep love for our children, yet we often also feel betrayed, tricked, abused, and hurt. For the longest time, I couldn’t jive these conflicting feelings. How could I love my son, yet feel such anger at him? I realize now that these conflicting feelings – the mob within the heart (Emily Dickinson) – are normal. They make us human. Being human can hurt.4884
I love that quotation from Emily Dickinson, “the mob within the heart”. It is so true for everyone, it’s a universal truth. But it is especially applicable for a parent with an addicted child, a spouse with an addicted partner, a sibling with a brother or sister. It’s challenging to be in relationship with an addict without losing yourself. So many conflicting feelings. Such rage at the same time as such profound love.
“The mob within the heart” is the perfect expression of all those contradictory feelings.
Dearest Nancy, The quote really does express a universal truth. With addiction, the conflicting feelings come full force, but in everyday life they also rear up. Jack Kornfield talks about finding loving-kindness in all our relationships – and especially with ourselves. I try to remember this thought on every occasion, although I often fail. As with addiction, it’s one day at a time. Thanks for sharing your wisdom. xo
Yes! And sometimes the mob within our heart can turn on us, judgement against ourselves. Then we blame and shame ourselves. The mob Shouts failure failure to the heartbroken parent who knows the only failure would be to stop loving. And hoping , which is impossible and so the parent prays and prays then Thanks a million angels for taking on the mob that wants to destroy us instead of help us heal. The mob disappears for a while at least. On we all go to learning internal crowd control. (: Love you Libby. You are not only human, you are an angel.
Oh, my precious Joy, what a great comment about the age-old conflict of angels and demons! I didn’t think of it that way, but you are so right: ‘The mob shouts failure failure to the heartbroken parent who knows the only failure would be to stop loving…and then thanks to a million angels for taking on the mob that wants to destroy us instead of help us heal.’ Wow. The universal struggle. I join you in learning internal crowd control. Your story, words, and wisdom touch and heal.