Often we're programmed, or taught by our parents, families and society to 'toughen up', to 'be strong' to 'accept things and get on with life'. To 'not cry over spilt milk' or told 'don't be a sissy', or to just 'unwind in front of the TV with a beer or 6'. Many of us are not encouraged to fully experience our emotions, we're not nurtured to feel into our bodies and into the sensations of the emotions.
After I left home I decided I had to be strong. I was on my own now and I needed to look after me and work hard to prove myself. Prove myself to those who expected me to fail and prove myself to myself. For me this meant getting on with life, it meant doing things I was 'supposed' to or 'expected' to do, it meant being strong, being positive and optimistic and pushing forward. What happened in the past had happened. Don't dwell, don't ruminate, don't feel, just push it down and soldier on.
For a long time I thought that worked fine. I thought after 20 years all that stuff I'd pushed down had naturally dissolved itself. Then it was suggested to me - you are resisting. Resisting what? was my first thought. Resisting feeling - resisting feeling my emotions - from the past and the present. I realised it was true. For the past 20 years I'd had a lump of discomfort in the middle of my back, a ball of tightness, an ache. I'd always put it down to, thats just 'my back', I mean, I'd always had back issues, for more than 20 years, funny that.
When I began to release my emotions, began to really feel into them, it was the beginning of an amazing transformation. It wasn't pretty. There was the ugly cry (you know - ugly face, really crying, sounds only dogs can hear), there was irrationality despite logic and intellect, and from there I transitioned to true vulnerability. I let out my real feelings, spoke my real truth and shared parts of myself that had been buried deep inside. I shared parts of my life, my story, and my thoughts and feelings that I felt ashamed of, that made me feel weak.
Interestingly though, sharing these things, feeling these things and opening myself up to raw emotion and truth brought me real strength. It was my ability to be with my vulnerability that allowed me to release all the buried emotions and feel them in my body - really feel. It was being with my emotions and my felt sense that moved the giant rock of tension from behind my heart (middle of the back!).
Embracing mindfulness of emotions and my felt senses of the body has been transformational. Now when I feel emotion rising I feel into it, really feel, be with it, let it flow and express itself through sensations, rather than suppressing or repressing. Embracing vulnerability has brought me strength, more strength than 'being tough' or numbing my feelings and emotions ever did.
So, how can we move into feeling? How can we be with the felt sense?
The answer is space. Creating space by making time for you. Using that time to get still or more importantly, to get mindful. It is 'dolce far niece' - time for doing nothing, the sweetness of doing nothing, which is, in fact doing something transformational!
How can you get space?
2. Movement - qigong, yoga, tai chi, running, swimming (practice mindfully :) )
4. Schedule 'you time' - maybe its just 5 mins a day!
5. Be present
Nicole L Betts
Nicole Betts is an internationally accredited Qigong & Meditation Teacher, Fitness Instructor and Holistic Health Coach.