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Last year, I began working through the companion journal to Glennon Doyle’s bestselling book, Untamed. Get Untamed the Journal is leading me deeper into who I am as I discover new aspects of myself.
One of the exercises in the write-in book is simple and yet profound. It connects me more strongly to my emotions and for me, that is a big deal.
The feel it all playlist is an ongoing activity that helps me to sort through emotions and also access them through the power of music. It’s such a valuable tool that I want to share it with you.
Why Feel It All?
Psychologists agree that feeling and expressing all of the emotions is healthy. It’s an important part of letting those emotions pass on through instead of getting caught in the region of the heart, where we tend to replay them over and over…or stuff them away.
I learned in early childhood to suppress negative emotions. At the age of four, I decided crying was a waste of time and energy. So literally overnight, I turned off the tears.
The problem with that decision became apparent immediately. If I chose not to cry, I needed to avoid situations that triggered emotions that might lead to tears. I associated anger, frustration, grief, sorrow, pain and sadness with negativity because those emotions might result in crying.
Avoiding them meant that I also avoided watching sad movies. As a child I walked out of a movie theater when Bambi lost his mother in that classic Disney animation, a precedent for passing on future movies dealing with loss. I steered away from confrontations, books in which characters died, sorrowful music and I shied away from people dealing with grief.
As I grew older, I knew my avoidance of what I considered the negative emotions wasn’t healthy. But by the time I reached adulthood, I couldn’t cry if I wanted to. My body shut down the ability to weep and made attempts physically painful. Fear that I might not handle such raw energy caused me to further avoid my negative emotions.
Joy, happiness, excitement, playfulness, anticipation…these positive emotions I expressed fully. However with age, I discovered I needed my other feelings to grow as a person and empathize more strongly with others.
Connecting with Emotion
Fifteen years ago, the journey into all of my emotions began. I wish I could say that I connected with my feelings…both positive and negative…and grew immediately.
No. It’s still an ongoing journey as I move ever more deeply into those long buried emotions and learn that it’s okay to embrace them, experience them…and let them go.
So I was delighted to delve into the Feel it All, Use it All section of Getting Untamed.
“When I got pregnant and sober, I was so afraid that actually feeling all of the feelings I’d been numbing for so long would kill me. I needed to practice feeling in manageable bits. Each night after work, I’d lie in bed and play one Indigo Girls song. Nothing made me feel more deeply and widely than the music and poetry of Amy and Emily. I’d lie there, for one song, and listen, and feel and cry.”
Ah. I so identify with Glennon’s words. I used avoidance rather than alcohol, but the numbing effect was the same. And I realize music plays a similar role for me. It allows me to connect with my feelings in a way that bypasses the safety boundaries I created.
Glennon shares her Feel It All playlist…and her reasons for choosing each particular song. And then she gives an assignment.
Create a Feel It All Playlist
Glennon suggests that good music helps us connect with emotions. I agree. Music is extremely important to me. Every day I listen to songs that move me in various ways.
“What are the songs that make you Feel It All? Return to your achy, happy, sad, fiery playlist when you need to practice feeling your feelings.”
I love this fun and insightful activity. The journal provides space to list ten feel it all songs with blanks to fill in for each selection.
__(Name of Song)__ reminds me of ______________________________ and makes me feel__________________________________________.
I’m serious about the assignment and I’m taking my time selecting my songs. So far, eight landed on my playlist. The songs are recorded in the journal. And I created a Feel It All playlist on my iPhone’s music app.
My Feel It All Playlist
Here they are, my eight songs with what they remind me of and what they make me feel:
All of Me by John Legend reminds me of the beauty and magic of intimate relationships and makes me feel sad that it’s difficult to give all of who I am to another and receive the same in return.
Beautiful by MercyMe reminds me of God’s unconditional love for me and that I’m made for so much more than any chaos going on in my life and makes me feel grateful to be so divinely loved.
How Far I’ll Go (Moana) by Auli’i Cravalho reminds me of my yearning to travel and explore and makes me feel determined to keep going toward the distant horizon.
This is Me (The Greatest Showman) by Keala Settle reminds me of the importance of being authentically who I am and makes me feel courageous and powerful in my own skin.
Easy on Me by Adele reminds me of the pain I felt as a young adult and makes me feel I didn’t get the chance to “feel the world around me” because I was so closed off.
Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts reminds me I’m living in my silver years and makes me feel determined to do what I want to do, NOW!
We Can Do Hard Things by Tish Melton reminds me of how strong I am and makes me feel expansive and committed to my adventurous life.
A Million Dreams (The Greatest Showman) by Hugh Jackman and Ziv Zaifman reminds me of the importance of my thoughts and dreams and makes me feel that I can envision and create the world I want to live in.
Create Your Own Feel It All Playlist
The purpose of the playlist is to listen to the songs often and connect with my emotions. I listen to my playlist almost every day. There’s room on my list for two more songs, although I can add as many as I wish. And I can always swap out songs if I feel another better connects with me.
Would you like to create your own playlist?
What songs are a lifeline to you, when you are drowning in a sea of conflicts? Which song lifts your spirits, every time you hear it? What’s your go to fight song? If your life had a soundtrack, what song best captures where you are in this moment? And when you are feeling life deeply and painfully, which song do you crank up and breathe in?
These are the songs that belong on your feel it all playlist. Keep the playlist on your phone or in Spotify, Amazon Music or YouTube. For added insight, grab a piece of paper and write down what each song reminds you of and what it makes you feel.
And if your current journey includes discovering more about who you are and the life you are here to create, purchase Get Untamed the Journal by Glennon Doyle. It’s so worth the $13 investment to free yourself to live the life you desire to live.
So, tell me the name of a song that might go on your Feel It All playlist?
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