Hang Up and Feel


This video of Louis C.K. on Conan O’Brien has quickly gone viral for obvious reasons. Louis C.K. has become a funny yet poignant critic of our culture over the last several years (not to mention he basically made Tig Notaro famous and she if freaking hilarious!). The video went viral because of his “slam on smart phones,” as he repeatedly says he hates smart phones and doesn’t want his kids to have them. I’m sure most of us saw the link on twitter, facebook etc. on our smart phone. All irony aside, his basic premise is smart phones give us an out on feeling our emotions because they always give us something to do instead of pausing to experience how we feel. 

He offers a brilliant commentary on our avoidance of emotions. He talks about how people don’t want to be alone but instead choose to avoid those quiet moments where we actually begin to feel our feelings. He argues that we want to avoid those moments so much that we text and drive. He reminisces about a time when he was alone in his car and he began go to that dark place where he realized our world is really sad (of course a Springsteen song brought him to this place). He talks about reaching for his phone to text and catching himself about to avoid the sadness. Instead he pulled over and wept (apparently he “cried like a bitch” – which I sure just means “a lot”…).

If you think of those times when you are meeting a friend for coffee and you arrive first and are forced to sit alone at a table. What do you do? Take out your phone. It is so hard to be alone or appear to be alone. What if we actually let ourselves be alone and feel what is going on? The wise CK says we should, …”stand in the way of [the sadness] and let it hit you like a truck…you are lucky to live sad moments.” He goes on to talk about how his sad moment was met with profound happiness. In a way, allowing our sadness to be felt, we clear the way for our happiness.

Working with me often results in facing our emotions head on. I give time to let the emotions wash over us. By taking the time to do it we say this is good and worthwhile. We acknowledge what we don’t want to feel and that we would rather avoid. And then we wait for a shift. Sometimes the shift happens within a few minutes, other times it is weeks or months. But when it happens we realize it is worth it. Going “there” is worth it. We shift to a new place and gain a new perspective. Sometimes a good cry just makes us feel better. Other times we actually begin to feel healing take place.

Christians especially have a lot of trouble with this. We think if we rely on God our sadness will dissipate or that we “shouldn’t” feel sad because God is here with us.  In fact, this is just the opposite.  God is not only here with us, he is right there in the midst of the sadness. Who knows sadness better than Jesus himself? No one.

When you work with me we don’t just give time to sit through sad moments but I also take time to celebrate and be delighted in the moments that deserve celebration. Coaching is about the being (sitting in emotions – emotions of all kinds) and doing. People get a lot done when they work with me. They achieve their goals, they start new businesses, they gain satisfaction and joy in their lives. These are reasons to take time to celebrate! To say, yep, I did it! I am good at this.

Is it time to put down the phone (or not pick it up) and get real with what is going on?