“What DO I DO next?” That was the comment from my client as we sat together witnessing her in all our attention to being present in her body and feeling her strong feelings. I could not help but feel the little smile that came across my face as once again in the presence of thinking there is something we need to be doing. Action equaling fixing and making it all better. That natural urge to believe a lot of action or taking action means progress. Sure, in some situations it does, but not there in that very moment with her. “Nothing”, I replied. “We are doing it, you are doing it. Let us just stay with this and really pay attention to you.” Again, because of the longing to do something I can understand her trepidation around this unusual concept that I had introduced and that she had the courage to go with and trust. What happened next after we stayed with our witnessing was exactly where I wanted us to go. She felt better. She felt a sense of relief. Her body relaxed and she began to smile and notice how in noticing and in feeling she did not fall apart or feel worse or want to run out of my office and for the hills. Her body had released and softened in our gentle and loving attention. She allowed herself freedom from ignoring her tense little body and moved toward the emotions instead of continuing to allow them to seep through her veins like poison. It is not a magic trick but the process of healing and cultivating one’s relationship with self. Moment to moment attention as to what is going on in our bodies and witnessing and sitting with our feelings is the process to healing, growth, and validation to our experiences. Give it a try and notice you.
Why is it that often we may not want to really go for the heart and depth of things we really want. There is a felt sense of wanting or needing to hold back in order to hold on and we convince ourselves (and others) that it is best to stay right where we are. With all the opportunities and doors opening for us we still feel the need to just stay put. Does it feel safe and familiar? After all, it is human nature to crave and seek some form of stability and routine all the while resisting change and holding back in order to try and create safety. As I like to say, no surprises please. So, what is this holding back all about? Interestingly enough I experienced this myself last week. I saw my amazing RMT last week and in not so many words she insinuated that my body was holding back. Not resisting per say, but as she teased me and my body she suggested that my body was not really willing or wanting to go where she wanted to take it and it was just happy to hang out where it was although in her professionalism felt there was much more she could have done. This was somewhat humbling for me in that it knocked my ego down slightly from the pedestal of how much I think I am aware of my body. It also had me reflecting on other areas in my life where I might just be being content to stay where I am even though there are green lights all around me with opportunities for growth. I reflected equally on this and my motives for stillness with my brilliant mentor last week where again I could have really gone more for the experience and teachings from her but, again, felt I held back a bit. Upon further contemplation I think we often stay isle because of the fear. Fear of change and the unknown. Fear that we may try and fail (or look really stupid!). Fear that we might actually succeed! This is the pivotal point in that in this very moment is the opportunity for tremendous growth of self. Growth in knowing ourselves and what we are all about. Cultivating our relationship with self and best of all, the opportunity to care compassionately for ourselves. Giving the go ahead in what we desire and want revealing more of who we are and what we are all about. Going for the growth and accessing the growth to lead us towards conscious awareness of what we really want… To fundamentally show up and be seen for whom we truly are.
Oh emotions! They seem to be so difficult for us to understand, express, embrace, acknowledge, share, validate, etc. Clients come in with emotions all over the place, or embarrassed when strong emotions come up, or my favorite (mostly because I myself have used this one to the point of exhaustion) intellectually masquerading their emotions away, or at least at bay. Why do we guard so dearly against feeling our emotions or expressing them for that matter? Our society has taught us that emotion are not productive in accomplishing success and goals. Think about the very common pleasantry of greeting someone. “Hi. How are you.” It is more of a statement than an honest request for a truthful answer for the majority of the time and we seem to be taken aback when someone does reply differently from the usual; “Good. Fine. And you?” When someone diverts from the normal social response to the question it throws us from our routine and we might drudgingly need to stop and spend sometime listening to the other person and their “feelings”. How about our family of origin. How many times did we hear, “don’t be a baby. Smarten up! You are making a big deal out of nothing.” Or what we hear now. “It will all be okay. Don’t worry, things will work out. Pull up your boots straps and move on.” Now, of course, I am making sweeping generalizations that do not always apply to every interaction with others, and certainly not from our most intimate relationships. But when we hear those messages over and over that it is not okay to pay attention to our emotions over time we struggle to connect with a very important part of who we are, and the part that I call the forefront of who we are in terms of thoughts and actions. Personally, I become quite concerned when I am not connecting with my emotions and I have to work harder to reconnect with myself as I know this is my cue that I have been ignoring my emotions for whatever reason. My entire being then thanks me for putting myself back in balance by sincerely paying attention compassionately and patiently to reconnect my emotional, physical, and mental self. Think of your emotions as a show. They are there to teach you, to entice you, to intrigue you, to entertain you in this show of life. How joyful!