Feelings can be VERY confusing, but there are ways we can begin to understand even the most challenging emotions!
We don’t always have to put a word on a feeling to label it, first of all. Sure, we can, if we are able! One of the best ways I’ve found if I want to give the feeling a name and cannot find it is to google “list of feelings” or visit: https://www.cnvc.org/training/resource/feelings-inventory or use a groovy chart like this one:
Oftentimes, just looking a list can help us pinpoint exactly what is going on inside!
But what about when words fail us and so does the nifty emotions chart? Or what if we just want to explore our feeling further so that we can really get to the root of it?
One thing I like to do is stop and allow myself to really feel it inside my body and identify it by other means. Here’s an example:
Susie is feeling kind of sad. She is still enjoying day to day activities, but something is weighing on her a bit heavy. Susie starts by closing her eyes and breathing in deep and asking herself, “WHERE do I feel this sadness (or this heaviness) in my body?” After quieting her mind she feels a heaviness around her heart. The phrase, “weighing on my heart”, comes to her awareness. She asks, “What COLOR is this weight?” It is a blue/green color, but very muddy and gray…like slate, maybe. “What TEXTURE is it?” “It is thick and it starts behind my heart and goes on like armor onto my back… it starts at the neck and goes down my shoulders to my lower back.”
Now Susie has a picture of what her feelings look like for her and how they are impacting her physically. What’s next?
First of all, if she doesn’t know WHY she has the feeling, it can be a good time to explore that as well: “I’ve had a lot of stress lately… a lot weighing on my heart,” she thinks, “and I feel like I have to be strong and protect myself… I guess that’s why it looks like armor…”
If Susie is really ready to understand that and let that go, the next part will have maximum effect! BUT IT WILL STILL WORK, even if she is not 100% on board with letting it go!
Susie gets into a comfortable position and thinks about this feeling on her heart and back. She envisions it, smells it, thinks about how it would feel to touch it, etc. Then she thinks about a thought that makes her VERY happy. (For Harry Potter fans, let’s imagine you’re conjuring a patronus!) She holds a thought of being outside and the fresh grass blades tickling in between her toes, the smell of the rose bush nearby, and the sun beating down on her while a cool breeze blows by. She hears birds chirping. And she feels very at peace. She sends all of this energy into her hands and pictures them glowing and radiant with the joy of that happy memory. Then she places her hands wherever feels best, on her heart at first, and then her back. Next she decides to use her Light Hands to very gently pull off the armor and put it to the side. She feels the relief of it being removed! What was tugging at her heart is removed and there is no longer pain or pressure there. She lets out a loud burp as the pressure lifts! (This is totally normal, albeit sometimes humorous!) Next, she puts her hands at her heart and sends it love and joy. She thinks about whatever things bring her joy: her best friend, her favorite snack, the wonderful feeling of outside she was focused on before… anything that makes her feel love and joy, and she sends it right into her heart!
Now Susie feels a bit lighter! If she wants to take it a bit further, she can think about what that feeling wants her to know about herself, and what actions she can take in the future to alleviate the feeling. She thinks about why she feels she has to protect herself and asks herself how she can feel unencumbered and free in the future. She decides that doing yoga will be a big help because she will be moving her body and connecting to Spirit, both of which are important to her self care. She will also take more time for herself to step outside and put her feet in the grass.
There are so many ways to understand what we’re feeling, and we never have to be tied to a conventional method. Self-inquiry can take many forms, and this is only scratching the surface of how we can begin to really get in touch with our emotions. So whatever way you may find that works for you IS THE RIGHT WAY for you! In other words, there is no wrong way! This is just a jumping off point to try and understand our feelings and how to process and heal them.
One last note: our feelings, however strong, are not there to hurt us, but are actually there to GUIDE us. Our emotions are just like little road maps showing us the way to heal, showing us what we desire (sometimes by showing us what we don’t want), and helping to direct us onto the path of OUR BEST LIFE! As real as our feelings may seem, they can change like the tides, and no feeling will last forever. So when they show us what we desire, then we must take that opportunity to shift our thought from, “I don’t want (fill in the blank)” to “I DO want (fill in the blank),” and then we FOCUS OUR MIND there!
I am sending you all so much love and am wishing you a bright and blessed day!
Yours in Oneness🧡Freedom