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The emptiness that fills us

The feeling of emptiness. Frightening, fascinating and sometimes so intense that we can hardly breathe. Inhale, exhale.

It’s so intense! I say I’m empty, but I feel filled with emptiness! Could it be empty and actually be full? The feeling of emptiness is often a surface I’m not ready to dive beneath. Often this emptiness goes with the idea of lack of meaning, depression, inability to feel and think. It’s like there’s nothing worth continuing, looking for, having fun with, being.

The feeling of emptiness could be protection from intense emotions that I can’t process or look at. Something like a solar eclipse, as if special glasses were needed to protect me from the sun’s influence, which is too intense. This void shifts the focus for a bit away from the things that I believe have the potential to destroy me right now.

“I feel empty, I don’t feel anything” is a sentence I hear. It often evokes fear in the people I work with. What is left of me as a person if I stop feeling? But I “feel empty” – so I have feelings, they’re just hard to “sift out” in the moment. This void can be necessary. It’s the time I give myself to be able to look at myself again, at the focus.

It made me sick. I feel sadness. I have lost something or someone. I have parted with an idea of myself, a dream, a significant image, an authority, a view of the world, a favorite book. I am afraid. It will never be the same again. “I’m empty, nothing is interesting.” And after? Then the pause appears in the gap. I chew, make sense of, process, feel, experience, extract and become another.

Everyday life often provides an opportunity to escape the empty, to immediately fill it with something new, something different, something exciting. This endless and incessant consumption leaves no time for processing. Often it overwhelms us and overflows and the emptiness becomes a swamp. Stagnant and unfit for bathing. With a bottom that lures but sucks. And it remains complete but unlived.

“But I’m afraid of this void! I’m depressed, I’m going downhill, I don’t find meaning in anything, I don’t feel pleasure in anything!” Look for someone to talk to, to share with. To say things out loud that are hard to be alone with.

Look at her. This emptiness speaks, tells, listen to it if it is possible for you. Happiness is not just about the absence of difficult emotions, of loss. Happiness is not in having or not having respectively. It is not a possession. Happiness can be seen as belonging. I belong to myself and to the world. My pain, my sadness, my emptiness also belong to me and are part of me, just like joy and love. All aspects of us make us whole and present, even with the feeling of emptiness.

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