“I had a moment”, a Focusing student recently told me “when I was feeling so angry. I changed it to ‘a part of me is feeling so angry’ and just like that it was gone.” She ended with “Wow!”
This speaks to the power of acknowledging our feelings exactly the way they are, not denying them or giving in to them, just putting them in perspective. Our emotions don’t always disappear that quickly. When we realize they are part of our larger experience and give them due attention, they can be our guides.
Their wisdom may come to us in the form of words, feelings, or images. The skill in deciphering their message lies in staying away from what we think the emotion is all about. Perhaps it’s something in us that is tired and needs us to slow down. Perhaps it’s about some part of us that gets us into trouble and needs our attention. Maybe it’s a need that longs to be fulfilled or a word of caution about something.
Then just as we would listen to a child, we try to rest our attention where it needs to be and allow what emerges to come through. Having told of its fear or pain or longing the emotion may leave, sometimes for good. Try it the next time something comes between you and being fully okay.
Try to sense what’s really going on.
(It seems to help to bring your attention to the middle part of your body. But perhaps you already have a bodily sense somewhere: a tension, a tug a pain).
When you have even a vague sense of what it feels like say inwardly:
“Something in me feels….” (It may be a feeling word or an image word that only makes sense to you, like tight or yuck or blah or gooey!)
Then stay with that experience for a little while. Perhaps it will go away. Perhaps it will get a little stronger before it goes away. It could even yield an insight or a concrete action you need to take in your life.
Welcome your guests as Rumi suggests in his poem “The Guest House”!
“This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!”
And feel free to write me about your experience or questions.