“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.” ~Pema Chodron
The most common question I am asked is: how do I heal? Many of us are awakening to the reality that we want to heal our pain and not suffer so much, but where do you start? Feeling to heal sounds scary, or overwhelming and the reason for that is we don’t actually know how to feel without getting caught up in judging or reacting to our feelings and emotions.
This is how I define healing: the integration of your experiences through the process of emotional self awareness–through feeling and letting go of your emotions and observing your thought patterns–to becoming whole.
This was me almost 12 years to figure out. And I can’t say I have the answers, but I have taken the time to go on my own journey of self discovery and healing.
I thought there was a formula that I had to follow to “heal” but as I had the courage to go deeper into my feeling my body I realized all I had to do was just feel my emotions without judging them. Easier said than done, but by not feeling my emotions I was storing them inside my body and that is where my pain was coming from. I had to learn to go more deeply into these feelings that were so familiar, but also unfamiliar.
I was learning to listen to my body and I realized that only by fully feeling my emotions and realizing that they are impermanent, meaning they will continue to come and come by nothing stays–I found freedom to live as a whole person. No longer did I have to live as pieces of feelings, I could feel it all, let it go, and live my life with peace. The trauma I later realized made me more resilient, made me more compassionate and brought me to a deeper sense of awareness of what actually matters in my life.
Look at feeling as an internal massage. When you get a body massage you usually feel a little less tense, a little more relaxed. So if you get a massage physically, why don’t you get a massage internally as well?
Feeling is your internal massage. By feeling what arises in your body moment by moment, you naturally let go of tension and stress in your body. You don’t react to the pain, you pause. You feel it and then learn to let it go. You don’t need to hold onto your feelings, because it just actually do you any good.
As you begin to breath with awareness you learn to relax. Although healing is about feeling, it’s also about learning to relax. To surrender.
In a culture that tells us we should be “busy” that taking time to relax is being lazy, we tend over strain ourselves to the brink of a physical and emotional meltdown. But our body wants us to slow down. It needs us to feel or what happens is it manifests in the physical body to get our attention since we won’t acknowledge our feelings.
When you feel into the sensations you begin to ease into your body, becoming the observer of your thoughts and worries. We have to learn to not attach to everything that is going on inside our body and mind–mindfulness helps us create space to just observe. This is a natural process our body goes through.
Most of the time we try to escape it through alcohol, over working and any way we can completely distract ourself to not fully be present and live in our body.This is a protection and survival mechanism, but in order to really be live in our body and be completely present we must learn to relax–to flow into our life through our breath rather than force our way into it like we may be use to.
Yoga therapy is a tool to help us stay present in our body and feeling the sensations that arise. To not get overwhelmed by what is happening, but to stay grounded and aware in your body and remaining calm in your mind even when thoughts do arise.
This life is meant to be felt with every nerve in our body, but we must learn to rewire our nervous system and let go our of the negative inner dialogue that we say to ourselves. So if you really want to heal there’s no fancy scientific formula there’s only feeling your body and being being present with all thoughts and sensations that come up.
There’s nothing to have to do, only be with exactly what is.
Sadness might come up, anger might be there (among many other emotions you may or may not have known you had), but let them come up. The sooner you can create the space needed to release them, the better and more whole you will feel too.
Begin by feeling the anxiety, the grief, the fear but don’t hold onto it. For these emotions are sending you signals to look at something in your life with a deeper awareness. Feelings are there as a guide if we allow them to be exactly what they are. Feel and let go. You have to be aware of the feelings you are experiencing, but not hold onto them.
You are not on a linear journey, rather you are on a journey that is going to take you through ups and downs. Everyone will go through this so there’s no reason to judge why “you” are feeling overwhelmed or confused about where your life is taking you. We’re all on this journey together of discovering the deeper layers of our being and learning to integrate it all together and we all have the ability to do this, but first we consciously have to choose.
To integrate is to live in wholeness. It means to acknowledge your life experiences that have grown you into the person you are today, but to also remember you are not defined by your life story. To integrate is to feel and to let go. It’s only way we can move forward consciously, integrating your own unique life experiences.
So to feel is to heal, there’s no short cut and no magic pill–just finding and creating the space to come and heal. You are your own healer.
To let go of our fear, our insecurity, our doubt and to live fully in each moment. When we take the time to feel our emotions we recognize this.
So I invited you to find a comfortable position to either sit or lay down in.
Close your eyes if that feels comfortable to you or leave them open and focus on a point that isn’t moving.
Now feel what is arising in your body? Whatever comes up let it come up, but don’t get caught up in the story line. Sit with this for however long you need to allow your body to just relax.
Know that you can experience peace in every moment. So when an emotion or thought arises just breathe through it, don’t fight it.
Let your body feel lighter and lighter. Continue to relax your body, your shoulders, your back, just let every muscle relax.
Focus on feeling lighter and lighter taking more time to breathe than get lost in your thoughts.
Know that you are safe to feel you are allowed to let go.
Let what is happening in your body be natural and not forced. Let your body release what has been stored in your nerves, your tissues, your mind.
Feel this relaxation and stay present with it. Stay with your body and let your mind relax, not attaching to any thoughts that arise, just observing.
Feel lighter and acknowledge was is happening inside. Feel your body continuing to melt into relaxation.
Feel what arises, but continue to soften your body. Do not attach to what comes up, just observe it.
Feel the peace that overcomes through your body. Know you can come back to this feeling at any time.