When working with uncomfortable feelings and sensations we have many options. Listen to your body, let it tell your story and give your mind a break.
Avoidance. Attachment. Analyzing.
These three keep us caught in a familiar loop. Avoiding, attaching, and analyzing make us rely on habitual patterns that maintain the status quo. They keep us caught in a viscous cycle.
Witnessing. Stillness. Movement.
These three are opportunities to help us shift out of our habits. They help us contain more and more energy allowing us to hold more space for our emotions and our sensations. We feel deeper and develop a greater sense of awareness of who we innately are, free from the constructs of society. This is great news, trust me! As you develop your capacity to contain more uncomfortable feelings you also enlarge your capacity to feel the comfortable ones.
May I add that we as a society created the concept that emotions are either good or bad. What if every feeling was approached as a gift, something to learn with? That would be a paradigm shift.
The 3 A's
The expansion of our container can feel unpleasant at times. This is when our thinking mind takes over. It creeps up from its depths whispering “go eat something, get on Facebook, go watch YouTube or Netflix.” It can get caught in a loop of a familiar narrative or say something like “let’s dive into this and really investigate and judge every single aspect of it,” In essence, avoid, attach, or analyze.
Begin with the Witness
When we notice that we are circling around in our thinking mind we can make the shift into the witnessing mind and watch sensations flow into stories which flow into emotions and so on. This stops us from getting caught up in the tidal wave of feelings. As the witness you can take a deep breath, reassess and ask “what do I need right now?” You are able to do this because you’ve broken the cycle of the thinker which loves living in the past or the future and tries to convince you it's your present.
Stillness vs Movement
The witness instead observes what is needed in each moment - without judgement - and will gladly respond to it. There is a social movement that seems to favour the response of sitting with all that arises. At times you may need to sit and feel all the feelings, follow all the sensations, and watch all the narratives. Let’s be honest, there are times when the best thing we can do is get objective and look at the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. You may be amazed at what a great story teller you are.
Let your body tell the story.
If being objective is hard, move your body. Get up, breathe into the deepest part of yourself, let your body flow, let it move, let it shake. Unearth guttural cries. Let your tears fly. Release some laughter. Music is a helpful companion to move your breath, move your body, move your emotions.
The most important aspect is about how you choose to respond. It’s the ability to be present with yourself the whole damn time. Through all of it, observing it, watching it, being there for you and responding authentically. Give yourself permission to be you in all your beauty and all of your discomfort.