“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek” ~ Joseph Campbell
During this time of uncertainty, tumultuous waves of difficult emotions arise for many of us.
Fear, grief, loss, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion, isolation, loneliness. Now more than ever, self-love, self-compassion, and self-patience are needed.
The following is a process for accepting difficult feelings and emotions, adapted from a technique offered by Rasa yoga teacher, Sianna Sherman:
When the waves of emotion surface:
1. Feel deeply—breathe and be willing to deeply feel to truly heal.
2. Name what you feel—without blaming and shaming.
3. Listen with true openness, empathy, and connection for yourself (and others).
4. Describe what you are feeling, the felt sense of where it is in your body, what it feels like, its qualities. Is it sharp, burning, heavy, cold, prickly, tingling, tight?
5. Embrace yourself as a whole; embrace what you now feel. Soften. Allow. Imagine your child or someone you love deeply is upset, offer the same level of kindness you would give to another to yourself.
6. Transform with love, courage, truth, compassion. Invite awareness of what you need to help transform this emotion—what action will soothe you and be of benefit. Maybe it’s a warm, soft hug from a loved one, a cry, a nurturing walk in nature, a healing chat with someone, or a dance around the kitchen to your favourite song!
All of our power is in the present moment. When we are caught in a loop of anxiety and fear, we are living in the future. When we are feeling depressed and sad, our attention is entangled in the past.
Emotions are energy in motion—neither good nor bad nor positive or negative. The seeds of transformation and evolution rest in the earth of the generous present moment.
Before I finish, I’d like you to get really present with me:
>> Stop and take a few deep breaths.
>> Inhale deeply and exhale fully.
>> Close your eyes for a minute or so, turn your attention inward, and breathe in your own rhythm.
>> Once you feel grounded and present in being, choose one quality about yourself that you are grateful for at this moment and offer heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to yourself.
Of course, we won’t forget the little ones here! At the school in which I teach, the children enjoy it when we play a game called “What’s the Weather?” It’s a nice introduction to somatics.
Firstly, we describe the weather outside: is it cloudy, sunny, rainy, stormy, windy? Just like the weather changes outside, we talk about the “weather” inside our bodies.
Sometimes it feels really sunny; sometimes it’s stormy; sometimes it feels cloudy.
We take a mindful moment together to breathe and tune in to our bodies. Each child shares his or her current “weather report.”
We finish the exercise by looking up at the sky, noticing the expanse, and that even when there are clouds or rain showers, they pass by.
Energy flows where attention goes!