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Emotional Body Surfing

Posted Jun 05 2012 2:46am

Lately I’ve been reading this book called The Untethered Soul (Michael A. Singer ). It’s a super excellent book about different aspects of yourself. In it, the author offers a suggestion to deal with everyday emotional pain. Imagine your situation and the feelings attached (jealousy for example) as wave that washes over you and passes. That way you don’t ignore it or stuff it down; you experience it and it moves on. I’m totally sold on this method for many reasons, and I’ve been practicing it.

Which brings me to my next thought, “Hey, these intense feelings are totally like the waves on the beach–for reals.” Last year we visited Southern California for a few days and spent most of our time on the beach. I had lived in the area when I was little, so I thought I’d be ‘all that’ and get into the waves like I did when I was a kid. Uuuuuh, I’m not a kid, and my memory for how to body surf is sadly scant.

The first big wave knocked me forward off my feet, and I found myself swirling around and couldn’t reach the ground. The second wave slammed me into the ground head first. Wet and seriously concerned for my safety, I let go of the fantasy that I could still body surf and focused on enjoying the water. I started paying attention to the crest and ducking under it before it crashed. The wave would pick me up and gently set me back down before rolling into the shore. “Okay. . .this is actually exciting instead of literally terrifying. . . ”

These emotional waves of pain we go through all the time are even more like the waves than I realized. We can pay attention to when they are coming at us (oh dear, it’s that old jealous feeling again). Duck, and let the feeling roll over us; picking us up and setting us gently down again–where our feet can reach the bottom to stabilize before the next wave rises.

This is me, right before the smack down.

This visualization isn’t always easy. It takes some imagination and practice, but I’m just saying. . .it’s better not to get the smack beat out of you by something you can learn to manage, and I’ve decided not to body surf my feelings anymore.

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