The path that does not run away but embraces our suffering is the path that will lead us to liberation. -The Buddha it is normal not to want to face feelings of pain and despair. It is normal to want to push away feelings of disappointment and failure. It is normal to want to change unpleasant feelings to pleasant ones. The problem is that when we don’t face and experience our feelings, they stay buried within us and keep us stuck. They block our ability to feel love and compassion towards ourselves and others. We might hide from our unwanted feelings in ways that are obvious, such as drinking or taking drugs. But there are many ways we hide without even being aware that this is what we are doing. Perhaps we work too much or stay very busy in other ways. Perhaps we spend hours in front of the television. One woman told me she had become aware that all her reading was an escape from emotions she didn’t want to feel. As difficult as it might seem, feeling our feelings is the only way we can move beyond them and grow. Allowing ourselves to feel our suffering and giving ourselves love and support and compassion can soften our hearts and diminish our fears. Being gentle with ourselves lessens the strain of difficult times and keeps us from being stuck in our suffering. It feels so empowering to know that I can get through anything that comes my way with the help of my Higher Power. As long as I don’t run away from my feelings, I can experience peace in the middle of adversity.