Feeling Our Feelings
Tim Torres, Unity of SA Prayer Chaplain, BOT Treasurer
Make the time to feel your feelings, then use it … feel your feelings. To go through life without really feeling our feelings is to hold an apple in our hand and never taste it. To read sheet music and never hear it played.
I’ll thank composer John Williams for this one because it was in the music of the movie Star Wars that I fully experienced an emotional story conveyed through instrumental music.
The Star Wars soundtrack, featuring the London Symphony Orchestra, was one of the first vinyl albums I ever bought, which I did before ever seeing the movie. Throughout the musical score, Williams uses leitmotifs – recurrent themes associated with individual characters or situations – to anchor the imagery (which we sometimes forget was way-out wild, for its day) in a familiar emotional story.
The sheet music for the one called The Force theme is very nice. But try actually listening to it in its emotionally different forms – the Binary Sunset (starting here at 0:30) and the Throne Room (starting here at 2:35 and again at 4:28, the latter of which is more like Binary Sunset). (BTW, The Force theme is also called Ben Kenobi’s theme or sometimes Luke’s theme, though it is the iconic melody in the Main Theme, starting here at 0:08, that is more correctly called Luke’s theme.) For contrast, listen to Leia’s theme, starting here at 0:17, Darth Vader’s theme starting here at 0:56 in the Imperial March or the percussive sounds of the Tusken Raiders (starting here at 0:38). This last is sandwiched by two versions of The Force theme. I also enjoy this longer clip of Binary Sunset that goes from Leia’s theme to Luke’s theme to The Force theme with a few more bounces.
Anyway, the point is to experience the sound and feeling, not just study the sheet music. It’s what we’re here for. Presence and “consenting to what is” both require us to actually feel our feelings. To resist feeling them is to magnify them. And it’s not enough to think about our feelings abstractly. I’m not saying we have to wallow in our feelings, but we can’t process them until we let ourselves feel them and admit that we are feeling them. Then the energy of our emotions can flow as it is designed to do, instead of getting stuck and coming back up again and again, contaminating and interfering with what should be our present experience of other moments.
This is the day the Lord has made … Enjoy the music.
And P.S., while I’m on Star Wars, some of these bad lip reading bits are LOL-funny.
(BTW, the idea that a symphony tells a story was first presented to me on a school field trip to the symphony … Peter and the Wolf … children who grow up in cities without a symphony miss out on this great learning opportunity.)