As much as we try to stay positive and happy... sometimes life gets in the way.
Many Buddhists refer to thoughts as waves in an ocean. Well, if you're anything like me, sometimes your thoughts are not just so-called "waves'. Your thoughts are tsunamis. Tidal waves of angst, doubts, and fear. Relentless storms of worthlessness. It's not a fun. And as you can imagine, little boats of hope do not survive long.
Luckily you are not alone. And I am not alone. These unhelpful emotions and thoughts are all a part of being alive in this body.
Just this past week I was plagued with an unshakeable sadness that simply did not want to leave. I had no "reason" to be sad, yet there it was lingering on the edges of my heart reminding me of what is here.
I wanted it to leave right away. I tried to dissect the crap out of it. Yet... it stuck to me like white on rice.
So what do we do? How do we handle emotions that just don't fucking feel good?
For the past few years, I have been teaching a mindfulness methodology I have learned from my Buddhist teacher Tara Brach that has had a profound impact.
The tool is called the two wings of awareness, recognize + allow.
This tool has been the foundational tool that has allowed me to explore darker emotions that I initially want to push away.
Cause here's the deal: if you want to to feel worthy and develop a transformative presence, you cannot simultaneously deny parts of yourself. Makes sense?
I use this tool with every single one of my clients and it works. It just takes a little practice. Here's how it works:
First step is to recognize your thoughts and feelings.
"Ok, I am sad right now. Wow, my heart is really heavy. I am scared. What am I scared of? Failure. Hm interesting. What does failure feel like in my body right now? Clenched fists. Tight belly. Ok." etc.
Recognizing what is happening is not supposed to come from a place of judgement, rather a curious inquiry as to what you are believing at the moment. Use the breath to go deeper with every question. To really FEEL what is happening in the body and the mind. We are simply labeling things as they come up with compassion.
This is also not the time to get into our logic mind around why we are feeling what we are feeling. Simply recognize what is happening within you.
The second step is to allow the emotion to exists without you trying to change it.
Allow yourself to feel however way you feel. Give yourself space for sorrow, for grief. The harder you try to suppress your emotions, the more it is going to come out in other ways, through addiction or anger at your loved ones. Feeling sadness or unworthiness is very uncomfortable. Which is why we generally do not do it. Instead, we try to run away. We busy ourselves. We go on a run or do yoga or watch TV. We do everything we can to not feel what we need to feel.
The more you open the what is happening, the more you come into the present. And the present, is where you will find peace.
What do you do to refuse your sadness? How do you try to deny your feelings? In the wake of the mass shooting in Orlando, there is a collective hurt and pain in our country. It's normal to have these emotions, and it's also important to recognize how we refuse to allow them to be a part of who we are.
What we deny will always come back.
What you find when you play with these two steps is that the negative dark feelings/thoughts will fade away naturally. Once you give it attention, it will no longer control you. The more you recognize and allow, the more freedom you find to move forward holistically.\
Amazing how that happens, right?
To your worth,