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Mojo Monday: Owning What You Feel through Emotional Cleansing

Anonymous's picture
"Emotional Healing" by Beth Budesheim (c) 2009

"Emotional Healing" by Beth Budesheim (c) 2008


Hello dear Pinkies,

Joy here. Happy Mojo Monday. I thought I would contribute to the Pink Posse Green Juice Cleanse this week with a few words about cleansing – the emotional kind.

A Surprising Moment

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend (whom we’ll call Mary) who was describing a tense situation with another friend (Gladys). Mary felt victimized and done to by Gladys, though I well knew that Gladys didn’t intend for Mary to feel this way – that in fact Gladys was incapable of inflicting such feelings on anyone. It was just that Gladys herself had difficult things happening in her own life at the moment, and Mary was resorting to her tendency to be defensive and guarded. I knew too that Mary was carrying around some old guilt from her own past behavior toward Gladys.

I hated that both friends were hurting so much, and resented being in the middle of the situation, able to see both sides so clearly, and know that all that was needed to resolve the conflict was an honest conversation between them. I was frustrated because I knew they wouldn’t have that conversation, and that the situation would likely perpetuate.

Of course, I had no idea I felt any of this. After all, the situation had nothing to do with me, right? I was merely a witness to a feud between two people I cared about, but ultimately it was up to them to work it out.

Or so I thought. After the conversation with Mary, I went about my evening as usual, aware of an oddly intense energy swirling around my body but disregarding it. Then I sat down on my meditation cushion, a place where everything else in life becomes arrested, and all I can do is think and, more importantly, feel. Seconds after sitting down, it’s like the dial on that swirling background got turned way up, so that it became pulsing and loud. My yoga ball was next to me. Impulsively, I rolled it toward me, balled up my fist, and punched it. My hand rebounded off the pliable rubber, rose high, and landed again. Dissatisfied with the friendly, bouncy nature of the blows on the ball, I moved to the arm of the couch. Then the floor. I pounded and pounded. I snarled and yowled. Tears began to flow as the frustrated, angry, hateful energy flowed out of me and into the space around me. Then, tears still streaming, I sat back down on my cushion with whatever was left inside me. Turned out it was the same old monkey mind full of mundane thoughts – what to have for dinner, the movie I watched last night, my to-do list for the next day.

Twenty minutes later, I opened my eyes, a little surprised by the dried tear tracks on my cheeks. The issue that had previously been so present for me had been dissipated during my little tantrum, and I was back to feeling mellow and unencumbered. This was a far different feeling than acting chilled out while a storm raged just beneath the surface – a storm of which I wasn’t even aware until I sat for just a few minutes and checked in with myself.

Do you know what you’re feeling?

It’s rare that what we are feeling inside matches what we are doing on the outside. This is for a number of reasons. A big one is that many of us simply don’t know what we’re feeling – either physically or emotionally. Most in western culture actually aren’t even aware that anything exists below the neck. We are trained to use our brains, train our minds, think, rationalize, figure, and sort. More than that, we’re programmed not to act too “emotional,” especially in public. Tears make people uncomfortable. Saying what you really mean may rock the boat. Best to put on a happy/serious/brave/stoic/blank face and save making anyone nervous.

Emotions and bodily sensations are vast and often untapped sources of profound wisdom and truth. And we all know what happens when emotions go unfelt and unexpressed: illness, physical pain, unwarranted explosions that hurt our loved ones. Like the years’ worth of crap that builds up in our digestive systems, we may not even know what-all is stopping us up.

Fortunately, there are ways to safely feel what we’re feeling so that our unneeded crap is out of us, making more room in our hearts and bodies for that which serves us.

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A safe way to clean out your emotional blockages

So what’s going on inside that heart of yours? Are the channels clear and flowing, or is something dammed up that needs releasing? Reserve thirty minutes for yourself and do the following.

  1. Find a quiet place where you can be alone, undisturbed, and can’t disturb anyone else. Take a comfortable seat and close your eyes. Take a few deep, settling breaths. Become aware of your body – its contact with the floor, furniture, and your clothing. Notice the texture of the air you’re breathing. Take note of the temperature in the room, the sounds outside.
  2. Do a quick scan of your body. Start at the top of your head and move through each body part, noting sensations. See if your mind wanders when you get to a particular place. If it does, go back to that part and explore it a bit more. When you start this exercise, you may instantly become aware of an energy that doesn’t belong and is ready to be released.
  3. If nothing comes up during the body scan, ask yourself the question, “what am I feeling?” See what your body tells you in response. Name the emotion or sensation that comes to mind. Try to be specific. Beyond simply being “frustrated,” you might feel angry, or sad, or guilty, or jealous. Rather than “content,” you could be elated, or amused, or even empty. See if you can drill down to the heart of the feeling. There may also be a reason or cause of the feeling – though it’s not as important as the feeling itself, you might wish to name that too.
  4. Once you are in touch with the feelings, check in with which ones aren’t serving you. Often they are detectable by an uncomfortable feeling in your body – almost like an invasion. Or you might discover a lump in your throat that’s been there for days, or that your jaw has been clenched, or your stomach held tight.
  5. Check in with what your body wants to do with that feeling. Do you want to growl? Roar? Laugh? Sob? You may feel like punching a pillow or whacking the mattress with a tennis racket. Maybe you want to run twice around the block. Within limits of safety, do whatever you need to expel the energy and get things moving again.
  6. If the physical expression doesn’t do it for you, I’ve often found that getting a notebook and dashing off a messy letter to anyone – yourself, God, the universe, the person that pissed you off, “everybody” – is an incredibly effective tool by which to express, cry, and heal. Don’t worry about being articulate or fair, or even making sense. Write from the feeling – from the rage, from the pain, from the confusion or the uncontainable joy. Write until your hand gets sore and there’s nothing else that wants to come out.
  7. Resume your quiet seated position, and re-scan your body. What feels different in your body? What is your emotional state? What does your mind do?
Determining your baseline

A regular meditation practice is a great way to get a handle on when things are flowing in your body and mind, and when things might be stuck. Consider spending five minutes a day scanning your body – it will put you in greater touch with yourself so that you know that something’s not quite right and needs to be expelled.

What about you, Pinkies? Anything brewing just below the surface that you do or don’t know about? What do you do to keep the emotional Mojo flowing?

Taking it out on the furniture,

Joy

Comments

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Joy's picture

Thanks so much all of you. I

Thanks so much all of you. I will have to check out that book, Jenn. This post was born of my very limited knowledge on the topic. Glad it resonated with you guys anyway. Look forward to hearing what you discovered! xoxo

Jenn's picture

emotional intelligence is so

emotional intelligence is so needed. I read about this in a book by Gary Zukav, Heart and Soul, I think was the title. Very cleansing, to feel what i feel and acknowledge it in my body. walking the dog today, I felt my energy sink down into my hips, a little creaky, and it felt good to breathe from the belly and not my upper chest where the stress-breathes from.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Oh good, Emily & Jo- We're on

Oh good, Emily & Jo- We're on day two of the green juice cleanse right now and I find, each time I cleanse, that other junk shows up too when I'm detoxing. Thanks, as always, Joy, for your inspiring insights.

Jo's picture

Just what I needed today! I

Just what I needed today! I love it to! Thanks!!!

Emily's picture

i love this, joy - thanks for

i love this, joy - thanks for sharing! i look forward to trying it out.

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