Sitting With Feelings

Keep looking at the bandaged place….for that is where the light will enter!

(by Rumi)

When you find an uncomfortable feeling or emotion is arising within you, instead of distracting yourself with food, sugar, or some other addiction, you may want to try these suggestions (in our sessions, I will support you as you go through these steps):

Stop and Be Still –

Our first inclination is to move away from an uncomfortable feeling or emotion, to cover it up, or to change it. Instead, I invite you to be still in your body and notice any sensations your body is feeling. Shift your attention from the emotion and the thoughts and story that are attached to it and focus on your body sensations. Notice them in detail. 

Allow your thinking mind to relax….trying to figure out the “what”, “where”, and “why” of the feeling is not helpful at this point and will keep you intellectually caught in it without allowing the experience needed for its transformation and release.

Acknowledge the Feeling/Sensation –

Simply acknowledge that it is there in your experience. Just like the sun, the blue sky, the ground under your feet, and everything else in your world, in this moment, this feeling/sensation is part of your reality.

Work Within Your Safe Zone –

It is important to allow yourself to feel the uncomfortable emotion without becoming overwhelmed or losing yourself within it. If it becomes too overwhelming “step back” from it for a while. Distract your attention from it by focusing on your immediate surroundings, touching something, rubbing your legs, or looking at something in detail.

You can also take a moment to visualize some place or activity that is safe, calming, and pleasurable. If you have a meditation practice, you can take some time for you to connect to the wise and self-compassionate part of you that can help you create a safe and therapeutic state of mind to do this work or, if you are religious, you may choose to take a moment to connect to God in prayer for guidance and support.

It may also be important and helpful for you to seek support from a therapist who works with mindfulness.

Breathe, Relax, and Allow –

Slowly and deeply, breathe through the feeling/sensation without judging it…. It is neither good or bad, nor right or wrong. It is just here. Allow your breath to help you experience it and allow it to be….just as it is.

A Little Bit of Willingness Goes a Long Way –

Even just a small amount of willingness to feel an uncomfortable emotion/sensation will help it begin to move through us in its natural cycle. Emotions move through us like waves. They arise, grow stronger, and then subside. If we allowed ourselves to feel them as they arise, they would naturally move through and out of us! They get stuck within, however, because we push them away and refuse to feel them.

Be Curious! –

A little curiosity will give you a little more comfort and the space you need to explore it. Can you be curious about this part of your experience? Can you open to it with acceptance?….just for now? Where do you feel it in your body?……Breathe into it and gently move closer to it……explore its sensation in your body. How would you describe the sensation? Is it hot, cool, or neutral? Is it sharp or dull? If it had a color, what color would it be? Can you make it stronger ?, smaller?  What does it feel like now? Has it changed in some way? Is there another feeling hidden underneath? Are there other feelings present as well?

Welcome It Home –

See what happens if you actually open your heart to this feeling and welcome it as you would welcome home a lost child….at this point, you may notice that the feeling has actually shifted and changed in some way. There may  be  a softness and ease about it that wasn’t there previously. It is in the process of healing and release.

The rewards we receive for liberating our repressed feelings are well worth the trouble. As each one is worked through, we become lighter, clearer, calmer, wiser, kinder, and happier! … from addictions and self-made limitations!