• Jesse Williams, LPC-MHSP

The Mountain Top Experience Amidst the Raging Storm of Hidden Emotion

When we open the doors to our subconscious and engage in reflection and processing, hidden, unprocessed emotions can hit us fairly quickly and-- at times-- intensely. What you suspected might be some peaceful sunshine of mindfulness or a casual afternoon emotional shower is suddenly a raging, category-five superstorm that's pounding the strongholds of your very soul. And somehow we survive. We rebuild. We feel. We grow. We heal. But let's be real for a sec: who wants to keep a Cat 5 hurricane locked within the dark depths of their soul? Seems ridiculous and unwise, yes? Yet too often this happens. And sometimes we don't even realize it. We feel the hurt and the pain, and we quickly lock it away out of sight/out of mind. We pretend we are fine. We go about our day. We promise that we'll deal with it later. Only later never comes. Until it does.

I was recently meditating on-- get this-- the mountain top near my house (my inner Louisiana boy is astounded that I'm able to say that I live near any mountain at all). But let me assure you, it's not nearly as glamorous as it sounds. The image of an enlightened Buddha receiving wisdom is quickly replaced with the reality of a sweaty dude in his mid-thirties with scrapes and scratches all down his arms and legs from wading through the greenbriar in order to get to the top. The idea of the deeply enlightened meditator is in reality just instead an exhausted life-goer attempting to have a few moments of peace amidst intrusive thoughts of to-do lists, clients to call back, and day-to-day-family-to-do-lists. And I suppose the reality here is this: this is what meditation sometimes looks like. Well, at least for me.


It looks like a break from real life. It looks like a centering and a grounding amidst the craziness of the day-to-day chaos. It looks like allowing myself to look like the Fool from tarot in an effort to experience life outside of the mundane and the usual. It looks like quieting my self for insight and growth. So back to the story: I was sitting on top of this mountain meditating. I was grounding myself, feeling my body on top the rock on which I was sitting. I was listening to the wind through the trees. I was feeling connection and peace and space and time. And as I sat, I pondered a question that grew within me:


"What energy should I lean into today for self-care and healing?"


I breathed out that question through my breath, feeling it mix with the breeze and get lost somewhere in the gently waving leaves of an oak that stood nearby.


And I felt the connection that occurred as a new breeze blew through my very soul. I felt the answer as it radiated from the rock I sat on. Feel the present and exist as the High Priestess. Embrace the connection that I currently feel. Trust that it will guide me.

Now, for those unfamiliar, the High Priestess is a tarot card that symbolizes a very passive energy. It's an energy of sitting and listening. Of information and feeling gathering. Of being in the moment. Calm and peaceful. Wise and knowing. But without the need to demonstrate that knowledge or prove any wisdom to anyone. It's an energy of simply sitting in the moment without expectation or demands.


And so that's I did. I sat in the moment. I felt that High Priestess energy, allowing myself to simply receive. Receive the feeling of the wind. Receive the rustling of the leaves. Receive the stillness and the smell of fall. Simply exist. After a bit, I hopped down from my rock and went back the way I came from. I began making my way cautiously down the steep slope of the mountain, through the forest. Thinking about my to-do lists but still trying to embrace that High Priestess energy. That energy of existing and receiving and being. As I walked, I thought of different random ramblings: "Oh I should send a text to my friend back at home... Wait, I need to be in the moment... Ahhh, I forgot about that grocery list, definitely need to add milk to it... But I need to channel that High Priestess energy and just be in the moment... But Jo still needs to work on that school project that I need to help her with..." And then suddenly it happen. Out of nowhere, that energy of reception took hold. I was fully present in the moment. And within a matter of two seconds, I was crumbled by a category five hurricane that made landfall quickly within my soul. And I rode the moment. I rode the wave. What was it? It was the wave of grief. No thoughts. No image. No memory. No regrets. Just raw, rough, gritty grief. Grief that my entire family has been experiencing over the past couple of months, each in our own way. Grief that still clearly needed some resolving within my subconscious. It grabbed hold and brought me to my knees in the middle of the forest. Feeling the grief with every fiber of my being. I clung to the tree, allowing that stable, grounding connection guide me through the turbulent waters and raging wind of unresolved grief. Within a short time, the storm had passed, and I sat for a moment in peace, exhaustion, lightness, and struggle. Like a caterpillar emerging from a cocoon. I was embracing light as I let go of darkness. I was feeling residual heaviness as I suddenly felt lighter. I was as energized as I was exhausted. Free as I was weighed down. Gotta love that healing process. And I got up and walked home. But I was taken aback.

Where the hell did that come from? From deep within. Deep within my subconscious. Hidden away until I finally set aside the to-do lists and the rush of every day life. My soul. Waiting for me to heal. Waiting for me to feel. Waiting for me to channel some High Priestess energy. Waiting for me to allow the doors to open. When we open the doors to our subconscious and engage in reflection and processing, hidden, unprocessed emotions can hit us fairly quickly and-- at times-- intensely. What you suspected might be some peaceful sunshine of mindfulness or a casual afternoon emotional shower is suddenly a raging, category-five superstorm that's pounding the strongholds of your very soul. And somehow we survive. We rebuild. We feel. We grow. We heal.

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