As a sort of prequel to my previous post- The Tao of Emotions- this post is about the very nature of our emotions, and what to do with them. Don't we all want an easier way out!
So, these pesky emotions....something triggers us, or we've reacted to a challenge, a person, an event. Bottom line, we're stuck holding something. Sometimes is held and stored as a physical feeling (ie., lump in the throat, sinking feeling in the chest or stomach, tightness in our shoulders, jaw, head, digestive issues) and sometimes its right up front as a messy break-down sort of day, with tears at the ready. Or perhaps you don't know what the heck is going on, and you're not even sure what you feel-you're floating along feeling half-connected, or somewhat edgy and lost. In any case, not always fun.
I'd like to suggest a perspective, a stance, that usually gets a squinting, eyebrow-raising, puzzled reaction at first from my patients. But hang in there, it will make sense soon.
Part I: Meet yourself where you are. What does that mean? First things first- you have to allow yourself to be where you are. I'm not throwing acceptance strategies here per se, just permission from yourself to be right there in the messiness, or ugliness of your current emotional state. That also means, hold off on already starting to figure out what you're going to do, to change or fix your feelings or situation. Hang out right there in the where you are place that you find yourself in. No fixing, no changing, just letting yourself feel where you are.
Part II: And, if you're having trouble feeling what you're holding inside, try this: locate the tension in your body, the physical feelings you can locate, and just rest your attention there, breathing, and noticing whats there. That takes some practice, and if it isn't working, take a pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to start describing what you feel like.
Part III: Let the force of the emotion do the work for you. Like surfing, the wave is already on its path, swelling and getting ready to crash, so ride it. Breathe into the feelings and engage their energy. No need to think about what you're feeling, analyze it, etc. If there are tears, let me flow, rage can fly, fear may make you breathe fast. A true release of emotion is a flow moment, no mind, just flow. Remember, thinking about emotions is not feeling them. This is an exercise in feeling into your body, where you emotions live. You can leave your head out of it.
This is the nature of emotions- intelligent, purposeful energy, thats ready to flow. The release brings peace, and some type of information for you- about what you need, about what to let go, about what to do next. So, tune in, and trust them. I promise, they're there to help.