Chopping onions. Feel your feelings.


Brooke tells us that feelings are part of the human experience. We should be open to feeling them. Don’t resist them. Don’t react to them. Don’t avoid them. Allow them. Feel them all the way through. I have trouble understanding this. But today I cut a few onions. I think I might get it.

I sliced into the onion and my eyes started to sting and tear. I didn’t like it.

I thought about scholars… There are options.

Avoid. Step away from the onions. Grab a beer from the fridge. Sip it until eyes feel better. Chop a little. Step away again. Pretend the onions shouldn’t hurt. Get another beer. The onions stay on the cutting board. Order a pizza.

React. Say out loud. Damn it I hate cutting onions! Why do I always have to be the one to make dinner?! Stomp feet, chop aggressively. Slam the knife on the counter and wipe your eyes on your sleeve. Yell at the kids to leave the kitchen and get out of the way. You’ll be done in a minute. Onion gets chopped. Soup is good, but everyone feels a little salty about it.

Resist. Chop up those onions. Eyes tear up. Scrunch the nose. Close the eyes. Muscles in the body tighten. You think to yourself…. I am so dumb, I shouldn’t be tearing up because of dumb onions. I should be better than this. I never want to cut onions again! I’m so bad at making soup. REAL chefs don’t tear up because of onions. I’m an idiot.

Or you can feel it. Cutting onions. Eyes start to tear up and sting. You notice, it’s so interesting that onions make the eyes hurt. You relax, blink a few times and keep chopping. Your eyes tear up more and sting a bit more. Tears stream down your face. Your nose runs. You close your eyes a little while and let the tears flow. They start to feel a little better so you get back to chopping. You think. Of course this is happening. Onions always irritate my eyes. I’ll be done in a minute and they will feel better. Keep chopping. You finish the job, and eventually the feeling passes and eyes clear up.

I think I finally get it. I had soup for dinner tonight. It had lots of onions. It was delicious. My family was happy and didn’t have to deal with my grump about the onions. They told me the soup was really good, and it only took a minute for my eyes to feel better. I just had to give my eyes the space and the time.

… Is there anything you would add?