A few months ago I went to visit my dear friend at her school here in Norway. It’s a different kind of “college” where you go for a year to still learn but “find yourself” at the same time. It’s an opportunity that gives you a chance to breathe a little bit and still discover more about topics of interest at your own pace. Basically, it’s college without any formal education. She chose a school that has the main focus on mindfulness, yoga and self development. Personally, I’m so happy I got the chance to observe how they’ve been working with themselves and others. The philosophy teachers thought their students was a breath of fresh air.
I imagine I’m not the only one who’ve been thought that anger, sadness, anxiety and so forth is frowned upon. There’s never a good time to show what we categorize as “negative emotions”. Therefore, many of us walk around with a lot of suppressed feelings, screaming to get out. They even force themselves up to surface at times, typically in a situation we least need it to happen. This causes imbalance within us and unnecessary stress. There was a mutual understanding among the students that all of us have our baggage and how it shows shouldn’t be judged in any way.
I think it was Saturday when me, my friend Maria and her friends were gathered to play cards and socialize. Our subject of conversation became about a situation that had happened earlier that week. One struggled with anger and this had caused tension between him and one of the other students there. He was clearly frustrated and it bothered him. Maria calmed him down and ended her “speech” with “there is room for your anger”. I was shook. Never have I ever heard anyone say those words in that order.
What a freeing experience that was. Nobody told him to suck it up or shame him for having “negative emotions”. I often hear people judge anger and behavior outside politness, fake smiles and everyday phrases like it’s childish or intolerable. Her approach was new to me, but I loved it. Is there really any room for our real feelings in today’s fast phased society? I’m not a fly on the wall all over the place, so I don’t have the answer. However, the more we suppress emotions, the more tension we cause within and outside ourselves. I’m 100% sure it helps her friend’s growth to be surrounded by so many loving people that allows him be, whatever he is.
Unfortunately I have no good pictures from the trip…but that’s a good sign.