Let’s practice releasing stuck emotions
Stuck emotions can limit us in our lives in different ways:
1. They keep us from seeing new situations as new.
2. They keep our nervous system activated and cause stress.
3. They keep us from moving through the world with joy and ease.
This month we are talking about love and relationships in the CREATRIX School, and talking and thinking about these topics can bring up a lot of emotions.
Few of us were lucky enough to have been taught how to actually process our emotions when we were young, to not go through life with countless stuck emotions as adults.
And I think most of us haven’t fully learned how to do this correctly — yet.
But it’s never too late to start.
We start with awareness
I once took a mindfulness course with Tara Brach and Jack Cornfield, and one of the first things we learned was to name our feelings or emotions.
And I would like to invite you to start here as well.
When you go through your day, start to notice your feelings.
When do you feel joy?
When do you feel fear?
When do you feel excitement?
When do you feel turned on?
When do you feel… ?
And then name your feelings and check where you feel them in the body.
Do you clinch your fists? Is your chest tight? Do you feel lightness? Is your heart beating?
Whatever comes up is valid. Just observe and name it.
And of course, you can also do this the other way around.
When you notice that you are grinding your teeth or that your neck and shoulders get tight, check in with yourself and ask what is going on.
What emotion do you feel in those moments?
When we bring awareness to our emotions, we bring them from our unconscious to our conscious mind, and when our emotions become conscious, we can begin to change them.
In this first step, we really just recognize, locate and name our emotions.
If you do this for a while, you will be able to see things change as you begin to take them less personally.
When you are not overtaken by an emotion, but can say:
“Oh, I notice I feel anger now.” instead of thinking: “I’m so angry!” you can start to change things.
Get curious about what’s going on with you and why, instead of letting your emotions rule you.
Understanding our Emotions
When we carry emotions that are stuck in our body, they can literally change our form, our shape, our posture, our body and how we see and react to a situation.
Once you notice certain things about yourself, like where in your body you feel fear and how your body reacts to it or to joy or other emotions, you might also be able to recognize them in other people more easily.
When you start this practice, you might be able to tell if someone else is dealing with a lot of fear or insecurity by looking at their posture and the way they move.
We might also begin to notice if someone feels confident and feels at ease.
The same way we begin to notice these feelings within ourselves, we might also begin to recognize them in other people.
You can even make that a game and see if you can guess people’s emotions when you walk down a street.
The more in tune we get with these things, the easier it becomes to navigate our world consciously.
What do we react to?
Something that is so common, that we barely pay attention to it, is, that we don’t usually react to a situation, we react to everything we associate with that situation.
And when we react to something with the intensity of all the unprocessed emotions that we link to it – it’s generally not helpful or joyful in that moment.
Talking to our parents is a good example of this.
We don’t usually react to the words they say, but to all the ways we feel and have felt hurt and unseen all our lives.
If somebody else said the same thing, we most likely wouldn’t have that same reaction.
And in relationships or when we are in love with someone, these same problems might come up as well.
Now, when we are paying more attention to this, we can also begin to see what we can do to change old patterns.
So when we notice that we might not actually be reacting to what somebody is saying, but to the story in our minds – then we can begin to pause and investigate what brought us here.
Often the moment when something happens doesn’t allow for it, but we can still do it later when we do have the time to investigate why something upset us so much.
Every feeling and every emotion have a message for us, and it’s only when we hear them out, that we can let them go.
When we are sad, we (have) to say goodbye to something, when we are upset, we’re not treated right, when we are angry, our boundaries have been crossed and so on.
Every feeling is valid and can help us to come more in alignment with our true wishes, desires and self.
A personal example
In this chapter of the CREATRIX School, I use the example of somebody asking me how I was and me not reacting to that question, but to how they reacted to my answer the last time they asked me that question (and as it turns out much more).
That previous time, I had told them about something I’m working on and their response, though somewhat sweet and probably trying to be helpful, caused me to feel like they think I’m an idiot.
So now that they were asking me again, I didn’t know how to respond in a way that was honest, but would also not cause them to think that I needed their help in any way, to solve what was going on with me.
It’s a funny world we live in, really.
Of course, I know that all I can do is to answer honestly, and let them have whichever reaction they need to have.
But I was too triggered to do that in that moment and so the story unfolded… (you can read more a…