Fall Forest JoyTrainIt’s practically impossible to will yourself into feeling something that you don’t. Opinions can be changed, but feelings simply are. For example: you can try to like Cod Liver oil. It’s good for you and as a supplement it has all kinds of benefits. You can will yourself into taking it because you know it’s in your best interest. You can like the effects it gives (although I’ve never met anyone who likes burping after taking Cod Liver oil, which happens more than you would think.) You can minimize its taste by taking it in pill form. You can do all kinds of things around it, but in the end what you will have changed is your relationship to it and not your true feelings.

Feelings are amazingly resistant to force or will.  They only get stronger when they meet opposition. In fact they act like teenagers who have been grounded, finding all kinds of ingenious ways to get their freedom. Trying to will yourself into feeling differently is often a lost cause that can lead to frustration and a feeling of failure. So instead of trying to force things, why not invite new feelings in.  We create space for our feelings by the words we use and the meaning we put on things around us. Like the increasing darkness of winter, we can experience this as a lack of light or as a snuggly time of candles, warm blankets, and hot nurturing beverages. Neither perception changes the season, but the way in which we choose to interact with it changes us and invites different feelings to be in residence.

Our feelings are valid and have a great deal of wisdom to share with us.  The simple act of listening to them can allow them to move through us, like a spring storm, leaving everything clear and bright, changing our entire perspective on things. If we’ve heard the message and things don’t change, then it’s time to invite new feelings and messages in. We create the environment around us which effects how we feel. We therefore can change the environment to invite more positive feelings. It can be as simple as laying out a bright-colored cloth over a dark table. Think of all the bright colors of fall and how they lift our spirits as they glow against the dark browns and greys around them.  The more we create inviting spaces within ourselves and in our surroundings, the more positive emotions will make themselves at home.