This article appears in Opal Rising magazine FEBRUARY 2022
My suitcase was packed, tickets, and plans carefully laid in place. I had said from the get-go that I was not doing Christmas. Last year, Christmas was painful enough, wondering if it would be our last, and still not believing that was even possible.
I desperately wanted to escape the on slot of emotions that could arise from decorating the house for the holiday season. But with an avalanche of emotions, I felt December fall onto my shoulders.
I thought I could run away, leave my life behind… but is that even possible?
I cried when I booked my solo flights, accommodation for one; noticing that I thought about my bookings differently, daytime arrivals, prearranging the different legs of my journey, with safety as a consideration. Never a concern, with my extra-large husband by my side.
As I opened the suitcases, two round black neck supports in zippered bags stared back at me, stopped me in my tracks. Shaking my head in disbelief that the smallest of things can bring me to my knees. Another reminder that my life had changed.
But still I pushed forward, thinking that a change of location would help me feel normal. Rain dripped from bowed branches; the forest seemed to be weeping too.
But inside, in my sadness I could hear Willis pleading with me to lean on the side of joy.
I was looking forward to feeling the heat of sunshine on my face. Helen Keller once said, if you face toward the sun, you will never see the shadows. But truly, would exchanging grey for sunny skies somehow make me forget my new normal?
But some things still do…
For the past 180 days I have continued our lounging morning ritual. With the smell of coffee in the air, I tuned into a personal growth book, massaging my mind and fueling my own transformation, set my intention for the day. To lean on the side of joy.
Today, I was listening to The Eye of the Eye, Dr. David R Hawkings. Today the message was stark. Oh, how life gives us what we need. Drastic life experiences, the loss of a spouse or a child split the darkness where I sat.
The messenger quickly dropped deep into the philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics of emotion; the body has no understanding of itself, rather it experiences sensations. But sensations have no awareness of itself, it requires the mind, yet the mind has no knowledge of itself, it requires something beyond itself, called consciousness.
Consciousness can be defined a few ways: the mind having awareness of itself and the world. Or awareness of its perception of itself or something.
The idea of this, like any letting go technique, is based on disassociating from labels. There are several methods I use to help my clients free up the incarcerated energy. Knowing whenever we label our pain, we can embody it, FEEL it, and live it.
So how do we begin? By identifying rather than embodying the label. I notice a feeling of anxiety. Rather than I am anxious. You can imagine yourself now, saying each of these examples and notice the differences play out.
Then bring your consciousness towards the sensation, location, and then, into feeling.
From there we enter the subconscious brains download of the emotion. Our brain downloads all experiences from sensory data.
So, imagine closing your eyes and getting a birds-eye view deep into your subconscious. By being curious about the shape, color, texture, size, weight, sound, taste, and smell of that, you may tune into its expression.
From here, you have an opportunity for further exploration. Then, allow the deeper description of each sensory description to bloom.
By fully exploring how mind understands the label, we have an opportunity to free it.
Psychologically, known as double disassociation. A natural coping mechanism.
The next step requires perseverance. Being is a double disassociation, consider you are enveloped in a protective embrace. Because you are not engaged with an event or even an emotion. You are simply engaged in thinking about a color, a shape, sensation, taste, and smell.
And if you still feel sensitive, possibly you would want a facilitator to help you. (And never practice these techniques while operating a moving vehicle).
But if you are feeling ok, then gently, at your own pace and comfort, swim onward and inward. BREATH long slow breaths, while holding the complete picture in mind. By staying with it, and breathing slowly, we naturally calm our physiology, assisting the sensory picture to fade away.
Here is my personal example.
While grieving for the loss of my husband, I can feel anxious at times.
The label: ANXIETY
Step one: Replace the label by identifying the sensation:
Located in the middle of chest and abdomen
Pressing inward on chest cavity, feels heavy
There is also compression
Tightness concentrated around the heart
Step two: Describe it through the senses. What can you see, hear, smell, taste and feel kinaesthetically?
Grey lateral 3-dimentional oval 4 by 6 inches in size, with loose diffused edges that are lighter in color as the edges fade outward in all directions.
It appears to be oxidizing.
In the center of the oval, there is a small solid black ball. It appears to be cracked and there is light escaping from somewhere inside.
The black ball is vibrating at a fast speed and if I tune in further, I can hear this little humming sound along with the pounding of my heart
If I were to describe the taste and smell, possibly acidic.
Last: stay with it, simply breath long slow breaths, intensify all the feelings but stay with it. And what I notice is the black ball begins to break open, light cascading and filing and washing away the black, dissolving it, and the grey diffused oval shrinks in size until it resolves.
What I feel after? Relief. The sensation of peace and calm fills my senses.
Like this exercise in letting go, it requires us to be present in our experience. There is no escaping reality of what is. But, staying in the moment and with the sensory expression of the emotion, it allows the mind to let it goooooooo.
I know now, that by running to Mexico, I could change my surrounding for a period. But we all know, that wherever we go there we are. And I could push off healing for another year, but why would I want to delay my recovery. I know through experience, that nothing changes unless I change… and that means growth.
And so, I made the choice, with the updated travel advisory, not to travel, yet.
The gift in today’s experience? That life usually gives us what we need, not what we want.
And possibly, to embrace life fully present, as it is. Both the happy and the sad. I truly believe that we were not meant to live with emotional pain, it’s just that we haven’t been taught HOW to let go. But in letting go, we not only grow, but we free up all that locked energy and make it available for us to express and live the life fully in joy.
Today, I choose to remain in place and experience life in a new way. It will be different for sure, but never truly alone. I will be surrounded by friends and family.
And if tears are served for dinner, there will also be delicious laughs, sweet hugs, and a whole lot of savory memories.
Xoxox stay well out there, Adele
Opal Rising Magazine FEBRUARY 2022