Can Feeling Too Much, Shut You Down? (Guest Post)

Michael Murray of Ride with a Purpose

Michael Murray of Ride with a Purpose

This is the first in a series of “guest posts” RM will be sharing. If you have an important story or experience that may benefit other men, ping me and I’ll consider posting it for all to read.

This post is written by my friend Michael. He posted it on his Facebook profile as a “note.” It caught my attention because he really puts himself out there and I think you can learn from how he worked with his “shut down.”

I’ve known Michael for over 2 years now. In 2007, I was facilitating the Red Pill weekend with Ray Brejcha, Bryan Bayer and the crew.

On day two of the workshop, Michael looked as though he had been hit by a truck and just come out of a long trance he had been in. With tears streaming down his face, he now saw what was now possible for him. It was an unforgettable moment.

And now 2 years later, the guy is blasting with life force and really going for it in his life.

Really notice how he observes himself and the tools and resources he utilizes in the below post.

And please……..Do try this at home and read a related post on how to feel your feelings.

Here’s Michael’s post…

Can feeling too much shut you down?

It can for me.

But lately the recovery-time for me to notice this about myself, and the steps I take to get back into the moment, seem shorter – the lack of feeling is now much more temporary and fleeting, compared to my past.

What gets me there? What brings me to this place of non-feeling?

Fear, likely. Fear of feeling.

But when I step into the fear, notice it, accept it, embrace it – it has much less of a hold on me. It’s just a state of being, and a very temporary one at that.

When I avoid feeling, I loose out on so much. By not feeling the bad, I also prevent feeling the good.

Post-holiday blues got the best of me this weekend. Part of the reason for my shutting down. I had a great Thanksgiving day with close friends, filled with love, delicious food, wine, dancing, deep conversations about life – mixed in with some drama, some sexiness, and some play. All good.

And now, days later, in spite of all the good, I found myself missing my family back east. Although those conversations lack the depth that I crave, my family is filled with love and New England traditions – quirkiness and distance, but ultimately filled with love. I am fortunate.

More emotions surfacing.

Over the past two nights I declined offers to go out and be social, and instead watched the Netflix movies that were delivered from my que. Two amazing movies; “Lucía y el Sexo” (Sex and Lucia), the sexiest movie I’ve ever seen, and “The Notebook”, where this tough-guy, motorcycle dude, couldn’t hold back my tears.

More emotions building, still.

And as I avoided feeling my emotions around this weekend, I found myself becoming reclusive – the masculine need to retreat to his cave, or so dictated by my non-feeling automatic response.

I enjoyed a 2-hour motorcycle ride with a good friend. And although the ride brings with it a unique kind of camaraderie, ultimately I’m alone in my thoughts inside my helmet.

Feelings and emotions are now running rampant, fully internalized, not at all expressed.

This shuts me down further.

The next morning (today) I notice how I’m not feeling anything. I see how my FB posts are quick and empty – wanting to connect with others but not able to from this distant place. My heart is closed, although I’m filled with love, the expression of that love is not transmitted through my words, when I’m not connected to myself.

I read FB posts from friends who are expressing themselves authentically – good, bad, or otherwise, they are expressing themselves with honesty and writing from a place of what is true for them. I start to get it. Good, bad, or otherwise, this is me. I may be shut-down, but I’m still me. This is my truth in this moment.

I take action to embrace the feelings from within. First, I take a solo motorcycle ride with the purpose of connecting myself to my environment – it’s zen-like for me and can be very powerful.

Afterwards I go to the gym, to connect my mind with my body.

And after the mind-body reconnection, I sit on my sofa in silence, to further connect myself to me.

I sat in the silence for a while with little happening internally. I sat a bit longer and my mind eventually became quite. In the stillness I felt safe to allow my emotions to be free. Tears formed and rolled down my cheeks. I began to cry. Tears of joy, sadness, anger, love, happiness, and fear all mixed into one big jumbled mess of emotions. I loved it. I laughed. I cried more. I laughed more. My tears lasted no more than a few moments, but what was expressed so purely and honestly allowed my heart to open so expansively, I felt my mind and body and spirit fill the room wall-to-wall in complete openness. FUCK YEAH! I’m BACK!

I’m not sure where I go when I become so internalized that I can’t feel or express anything. But what I do know is that it’s a dark and lonely place. I also know that I remain in that place by choice. Different from years past, I now have the knowledge, the resources, the courage and the support to feel whatever it is I’m feeling, and I can be completely okay with that… including all the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I got myself out of that place today, but not without the reminders from my friends who continue to show me how the simplicity of being in the moment, and being in integrity of all that I am, can have the powerful effect of just being.

Just BE. How perfectly simple.

Thank you my friends. Thank you for all the reminders of the simplicity of just being.

Much love to you all.

– Michael

“Michael Murray is Founder of Ride with a Purpose, an organization dedicated to helping men realize and pursue their passions, while balancing the challenges of relationships, career, money, and spiritual growth.

A strong proponent of men’s work, Michael is also Course Director for the Authentic Man “Red Pill” workshop in Boulder Colorado, and he regularly attends his own men’s group. Michael will be assisting in the RMLT for the second year in a row.

Michael’s latest projects include a weekend Leadership Training adventure in Moab Utah, and he’s currently creating an online course on the subject of “Finding Your Purpose”.

I don’t know about you, but I personally can’t freakin’ wait to go on an all dudes motorcycle ride where we get real, ride, and talk about what is really going on. Oh wait, I don’t know how to ride a motorcycle…


  • Mark

    Reply Reply December 2, 2009

    Michael…thank you for sharing your thoughts brother.

  • Boysen

    Reply Reply December 3, 2009

    Nicely said. Thanks Michael.

  • Michael McCarthy

    Reply Reply December 3, 2009

    I had a similar ‘shut down’ this summer. The only difference was that I was on a camping trip with two friends and there was no where for me to hide! I went so deeply into myself that I shut these other two people out. Only now, 5 months later, am I beginning to open back up. It came from not wanting to be closed-hearted anymore. I called my friend and apologized for shutting him out. I also asked him for help and patience as I begin practicing being more responsible for my own state and letting my loved ones in rather than shutting them out.
    The hardest part is being vulnerable. That takes courage and strength.
    Thanks for your courage and strength Michael.
    many blessings to you

  • Walter

    Reply Reply December 3, 2009

    Wow…it’s nice to know there are guys out there who feel much like I do. And it’s nice that this can be shared honestly, without a stigma attached. Surely Michael, in my opinion, sharing this only makes you a tougher and wiser man.

  • Ellie Pope

    Reply Reply December 3, 2009

    Michael, thank you for such beautiful writing! I could feel every single thing you talked about – whew!

    And you asked the question – Can feeling too much shut you down? I know you probably meant it rhetorically, but I’d like to throw in my perspective.

    YES, it can!

    The body is only effective at “being with” unpleasant emotions for short bursts (like 20 minuets at a time). After that, it’s important to bring pleasure back in. While it’s important to “be with” the past, it’s pleasure that gives us our passion for life, and pleasure heals the past.

    Most of us don’t know how to feel in such a way that the feeling can get complete. We either feel and feel and feel, and make ourselves miserable. Or we shut it down. But there are really powerful tools for actually finishing the job of feeling. (You know where to find me if you want to talk more!).

    And finally, on behalf of the Goddess, THANK YOU for being so real! It gives all of us the freedom to do that too.

    Lots of love,

  • Derek

    Reply Reply December 3, 2009

    This post rocks!

    I stand up and salute you, my brother, for letting it all hang out.

    Breaking through the macho B.S. that says guys shouldn’t feel so deeply, or show those feelings, is a huge step for men. I’m still working on it myself, every single day.

    Thank you for sharing this with the world.

  • Ben S

    Reply Reply December 4, 2009

    michael murray, everyone who commented

    thanks for the post man. Im 22 and have trouble talking on a deep enough level with my friends to really get meaningful feedback. And these are the people i feel most open with!! Hearing your story is a wake up call on many different levels.. First the content is right on with how I feel. ive come up with every reason under the sun not to step up and feel, your honesty ends the bullshit. Second its great to know that not only are my peers probly feelin similar, these issues bridge generational gaps.

    wanted to add my enthusiasm on actually seeing and takin part in such a open and positive discussion.. THIS STUFF IS AS REAL AS IT GETS!
    heard it before LOL but… maybe i should join a mens group

  • Dr Rod Berger

    Reply Reply January 11, 2010

    Thank you for the honesty that came through the post. I write about men and their experiences and the one you describe is that of most Normal Males. The problem…most don't know that it is normal…what they think of as normal is represented by all of the hooligans out their that reality tv displays. You are correct it can be a very isolating space and one that we should all know is normal. Great Thoughts!
    Dr. Rod
    [email protected]

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