Over the holidays, I took two weeks off from coaching. I had two reasons for doing this – one, doing things besides coaching brings fresh ideas and creativity to my coaching practice, and two, my essential self asked for two weeks of attention. Since I generally give my essential self a great deal of attention, this request made me curious. I wondered what was up with my inner world that required two weeks of concentrated focus.
I started my break with fun family gatherings, cooking, and doing whatever felt right in the moment. Soon, however, I felt an emotional storm rolling in within my body and mind. (I have often quoted Pema Chodron to my clients, because she likens emotions to the weather, which I find very apropos.) I battened down the hatches and prepared myself to feel it, whatever it was.
As you might have noticed, I talk frequently about emotions – specifically emotional suppression and avoidance. It is the most important concept to understand if you want to strengthen your mind-body connection in order to release pain, lose weight, or follow your inner guidance to success. It is the key component in all three of these journeys, because a fear of emotions, an unconscious suppression habit, and a pattern of emotional avoidance techniques all prevent a strong mind-body connection. It’s hard to be aware of your body when are busy fleeing it.
Emotions are a physical energy within our bodymind system. (Someday, somebody is going to coin a word that encompasses the body and mind as a whole. Then we can stop searching for phrases to accurately describe the whole with words that imply otherwise.) To feel them, we have to be aware of our bodies via our physical sensations – no matter how uncomfortable or unusual they are. A willingness to move toward this discomfort makes it a lot less uncomfortable, a paradox that can keep us confused until we risk feeling everything as it comes.
Having had much experience fleeing my feelings, I now make every effort to just feel them. It has served me well and kept me pain free, at a healthy weight, and very clear about my inner directives and creative ideas, which results in a successful coaching practice. I had a sense that this emotional storm moving in had a lot to do with my essential self requesting two weeks off. Sure enough, I proceeded to spend large amounts of time feeling a variety of emotions for two entire weeks. I grieved, cried, laughed, got angry, moped, danced, and felt pretty much every emotion there is. At the end of the two weeks, I felt refreshed, fresh, alive, and joyful on an even deeper level than I had before – which is really saying something.
The reason I wanted to share this experience with you is this: It just goes to show how much emotional detritus it is possible to unknowingly store in our bodymind systems. I’ve noticed myself and my clients thinking sometimes that we’ll reach a point where we’re finished releasing stored and held emotion. It’s that old perfection thinking sneaking back to play tricks in our minds.
It’s much easier to just go with the flow, allow the weather, and be fascinated by our own emotions. Instead of fleeing or fighting with myself for two weeks, I just noticed my emotions as they passed through, almost as if I had grabbed a bucket of popcorn and plopped onto the couch to watch the show. I let my body wisely do its thing, and am even freer as a result. I used to only allow emotional release when I’d noticed my body signaling its necessity (via pain or tension). Now, I’m into preventative mind-body medicine. Feel it when it asks to be felt, and surrender to the wisdom of my body. Perhaps this will take me to a different level of health, since I’m already pain-free and full of energy. Who knows! Maybe I’ll start aging backwards or performing astonishing athletic feats. I did have an audiologist tell me this week that my hearing is abnormally good for my age. Hmmm….
All joking aside, I do feel a depth of joy that is in itself worth weathering any kind of emotional storm. That’s how I see it – allowing the weather to be exactly as it is also allows this new depth of joy and absolute love for myself and others. It’s as if in regularly clearing out the stored emotional energy I’ve made room for a stronger, free-flowing, fluid experience of love and joy.
Feel your emotions and you get to be pain-free and full of joy. If that’s not motivation enough to allow your emotions, I don’t know what is!