My song today is ‘What a Feeling’. This song is from the 1983 film ‘Flashdance’. The song was written by Italian composer Giorgio Moroder (music), Keith Forsey and Irene Cara and (lyrics), and was performed by Cara.
In addition to topping the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ chart, and becoming Irene Cara's only Number 1 song, it earned a platinum record, the ‘Academy Award for Best Original Song; the ‘Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song’, and the ‘Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance’. In 2004 it finished at Number 55 in ‘AFI’S 100 Years of 100 Best Songs’ survey of top tunes in American cinema. The song reached the Number 2 spot in the UK charts, and in 2008, the song was ranked at Number 26 on Billboard’s ‘All-Time Top 100’.
I have always held my feelings to be the language of my soul, whatever my mental or physical state of being. I believe that if you learn to be your honest self and ‘call it as you see it’ (in respectful terms and appropriate language of course), others will feel more comfortable in your presence, even when they do not concur with what you say and believe. So, be who you are, because in the larger picture of one’s contentment levels, those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind!
I come from a family who was emotionally expressive, and my mother always taught her seven children (of whom I was her firstborn) to give expression to our feelings at the moment of their birth. Through her own example of living her life in the most positive of ways, she essentially taught me that ’ honest feelings’ combined with ‘a desire to bring about’ is the true motivational force behind all successful endeavour and creative demonstration. I loved my mum dearly, and although she was a most wonderful person who was loving in nature, kind in disposition, generous to a fault and as accepting, tolerant and forgiving as one could possibly be, she was by no means ‘perfect and without flaw’.
As a human, mum occasionally experienced feelings of disappointment, yearning, envy, fear, and anger, just like most of us. It was not the fact that mum experienced negative feelings that I draw attention to, but more to what she did with her negative feelings. In short, she had the ability of a master magician to transform her negative thoughts and feelings into positive ones. While it took me the whole of my working life (working on response patterns of behaviour, as well as researching such work) to understand the intricacies that enjoin the sequence of one’s thoughts, feelings and actions, my mother was able to operate this process without being aware of what she was doing, and how she did it! The home in which I grew up prepared me well for any difficulties in my life that followed. My mother (more than my father) led me to understand that feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, and communication is open and expressively honest. She taught me that such is the kind of atmosphere that fosters a nurturing family.
Over my own lifetime of studying and examining human response patterns, I would confirm the indisputable relationship between the sequencing and impact of our Thoughts-Feelings-Actions within our response patterns and on the behaviour we display. The ‘thought’ always comes first to our mind: it determines the nature of the ‘feeling’ that follows, and the feeling that is emoted shapes the likelihood of the ‘action’ which ensues. While it is our thoughts that create our feelings and emotions, and our feelings which shape our actions, it is our perspective on the entire process that creates our reality.
During my working life as a Probation Officer, one of the most difficult pieces of behaviour I encountered in the response patterns of problematic clients was the tendency to ‘avoid’ instead of confront, face, and deal with! It is very foolish for individuals to establish an avoidance pattern of behaviour in seeking to reduce their stress level as ‘avoidance’ militates against ‘coping and confronting’, and increases stress, not minimises it! We should always acknowledge our feelings. Trying to avoid the feelings we have does not make them go away. Even our sleeping pattern reflects this fact. What the mind and body refuse to deal with during daytime hour, our dreams will resurrect in the night for nocturnal consideration and worry during our sleep. It is like hiding behind the sofa when watching a scary movie! The fright remains present in the body.
Living people (as opposed to hardened avoiders) do not make excuses for their emotions. They accept that feelings(both good and bad) come as part of the human package of living, and they embrace their feelings and walk with them on their journey as they learn how to best deal with them. So, learn to express your feelings and not repress them. We destroy ourselves when we try to stop feeling the emotions we have and need to express. Repress your emotions instead of expressing them, and in time after they have accumulated sufficiently when the pressure gets too high to contain, the body implodes inwardly and explodes externally. If you bury your feelings within you, you will in time become a graveyard where all life remains extinguished.
During my earlier childhood experiences, a wagon knocked me down and ran over me, and damaged my spine. For over six months, I lost all feeling beneath my waist and was told that I would never walk again. While I did not walk again for another three years, when the feeling of pain miraculously reappeared below my waistline, and all of the bones in my legs started to ache with a vengeance, I ‘rejoiced’ with the feeling of pain in my lower body. Pain in my legs meant that walking again was now a possibility, and hope was instantly restored to my life. Ever since that moment (and I currently have three different body cancers), pain reminds me that ‘I am still alive’. It is therefore incumbent on me that I live my life the best way I can and do not experience through the negativity of thought and emotions, a ‘living death’. As a Probation Officer, I occasionally saw some people use their pain as an excuse to hurt or emotionally blackmail others. We should never play with the feelings of others because even if we win the game (achieve our objective), we risk losing that person’s trust and respect for a lifetime.
Being the child of an Irish family who migrated to West Yorkshire during 1945 for better prosperity, for a number of years after landing in West Yorkshire (until our English neighbours found a new racial scapegoat in the West Indian migrant and the immigrant from Pakistan) our family would often face racial chants of “ Get back to your own country, you Irish tinker!” While my Irish father would always give them a piece of his mind in return, my mother would be more understanding, tolerant and forgiving of their taunts. She always urged a greater understanding in us, as Irish migrants in England, Mum reminded us that we had come to a new land without the invitation of the English, and should therefore naturally expect some initial reluctance by the natives to accept us as ‘one of them’. Mum always advised us, “Just be your good self. Do that and you will be seen and accepted for the good person you are, and you will no longer be viewed as a threat!“ What my mother’s example taught me was that it is wiser to make a new friend instead of a new enemy and that it is better by far to make a new friend of an old enemy!
By being a happy person whose eyes always remained focused on the brighter side of life, mum taught us what it felt like to be around a happy person. As she went about her daily chores between the break of day and the dark of night, mum would always be singing and smiling. Through her example, she was indicating that a person can be as happy as they make their mind up to be. Her constant positivism was willingly accepted and adopted by me in later life. I soon grew to appreciate the immense power of positive thought upon the way one thought, felt, acted and was! I grew to understand that one of the greatest pieces of worldly wisdom that any individual can know it was that ‘I can make a difference’, and ‘you can make a difference’, and ‘we can make a difference’ if we want to enough!
Have a good day everyone and learn to trust your instincts more and yourself even more still! There is no more magical moment in one’s life than feeling the loving heart of another touch yours. And if it is true independence you desire, it is far better to follow one’s own gut feelings than to follow the opinion of the crowd or the baying of the mob.
Love and peace Bill xxx