“Real power comes from being vulnerable enough to feel whatever we feel… Feel the feeling, then release it. Now your soul and the universe can move you forward into new circumstances, into growth.”
Living in the year 2019 means we have all developed an unfortunate skill: the art of emotion-evasion, of setting the deep processing on a shelf until a later and more convenient date. We often mistake passivity and not giving into feeling for strength (after all, we are told that efficiency always make us stronger and better!), but the only way to move on to the next emotion in store is to travel directly through the current experience of feeling. Grief serves a purpose, as does processing trauma. Have you ever felt exhausted after a conversation in which you resolved conflict, or talked about something really difficult? This is your body reminding you that it takes massive amounts of energy to truly feel and do self-work. Give yourself time and space to experience feeling: try purposefully scheduling a 30 minute walk by the river, or even an extra 5 minutes to write before bed. When you create the opportunity, your mind and body will respond accordingly and expand into it.
The second bit of wisdom from this quote reminds us of the constant necessity: letting go. Sometimes when we are in the middle of a feeling it can be hard to even recognize the potential of release. We might tell ourselves that it will be this way forever, that it is our absolute reality now and forever more! We lose sight of a longer-term vision, of a wider and healthier perspective. The practice lies within the hardest moments: when you find yourself in the deepest part of a feeling, recognize it, validate it, and then take 5 deep breaths with it. Your breath is always there, and the funny thing about experiencing hard things is that we forget to breathe: our bodies release stress hormones and we bring tension everywhere possible so that we can protect ourselves from what we perceive as an immediate threat. Intentionally changing the way you are breathing and bringing awareness to the process sends signals to the rest of your body to relax and allow the feeling to take its course and then dissipate. Simply count your inhale, pause at the top, and then count your exhale for the same number of breaths. This practice of Sama-vritti, or equal parts breathing, imitates the actual process of letting go: we fill up to capacity on the inhale, brimming with experience and feeling, and then we release with grace on the exhale, watching the old emotions and patterns float away.
Blog post by Emily Haaksma
Featured photo by Ryan Tibbs