From a very early age we are taught not to express our emotions. As a baby when we cry, we get a dummy shoved in our mouth, as a child when we throw a tantrum for not getting what we want, we are punished, when we are a teenager and get our heart broken we are encouraged to go out there and move on with someone else.
The impact of this is that by the time we are adults, we are usually cut off from our emotional body and living a very head centric life. How this plays out is that when we are emotionally triggered, we turn to addictions, flight or fight, blaming and shaming another and many other unhealthy coping mechanisms because we've never been taught that it's okay to feel and it's safe to express ourselves.
Pain and pleasure are always going to be in the flow of life, so if we resist pain and attach to pleasure, or some ideal version of ourselves, we are actually resisting life itself.
Living a Tantric Life, on the other hand, wholey and completely embraces everything; sexuality, rage, grief, abandonment, ecstasy, despair, frustration. Nothing is excluded. However, living with total acceptance and self-expression is not what we are taught and encouraged in modern Western culture. In fact, we learn the complete opposite through our education, political and economic system: we are taught to conform and regurgitate that which we are told to be the truth.
So how do you know if you are resisting your emotional pain?
When “stuff” comes up, you feel isolated, too “sensitive” and like something is wrong with you
The areas of your life where you are “stuck” don’t ever REALLY change
You become stressed when feeling low, look for a meaning to your pain and excessively analyse it
You think witnessing your pain and healing it are the same thing
Once you feel emotional pain you enter a downward spiral and/or depressive vortex
You think you can get “rid” of feelings without purging them
You are addicted to temporary alleviators of pain; external medicines, drugs, facebook, food, socialising, keeping busy with work and/or play
You constantly search for outside validation and approval and are concerned with what other people think
You prefer the heights to the depths, and constantly chase the heights
Any of this sound familiar? Then please read on
What humans do when they hit their pain body is gap out, avoid or turn to addictions, whether that is by making themselves busy, having drugs & alcohol, watching TV, exercising, over-connecting and socialising with others, meditating, going on their phones and social media and/or working. Basically, ANYTHING that doesn't involve being present with what is really going on and feeling it FULLY. This is because it is difficult to keep facing, feeling, expressing and releasing the stored-up pain that we all carry. It initiates a true Inner Warrior to keep being real and authentic and in our bodies. Sometimes when we become present with ourselves we begin to realise that we are in relationships, jobs and situations that don't serve us and it can take a lot of courage to let go of those. Humans don't like change.
The reason I included meditation in the list of addictions is because this can be what I like to refer to as Spiritual Bypass, where instead of working toward transforming your emotional state by coming down into your body, you go up into higher consciousness. It seems safe up there, above the illusion, the matrix, witnessing the pain body or trying to track it, analyse it, without actually engaging it. But this is still a form of avoidance rather than deep, embodied work.
If we don’t let our shit go, out the body and purge it out of the nervous system, our lives become constipated and those shifts we would like to see in our lives, never happen. This is where health issues start.
So what I am inviting you to do is to begin a process of feeling and engaging with your emotional pain, instead of resisting it. So that you no longer turn your back to the doors that open you up to more joy, love, balance, power, peace and passion and the changes you need to make to BE in alignment your essential authentic self.
So how do we stay present with the emotional body?
1. Identify your feelings, validate them instead of resisting them (“it's fair enough I’m feeling this way”)
2.Feel them all the way by expressing them and releasing them.
EXPRESS AND RELEASE techniques:
Hand Scream: Frustration
Pillow Scream: Frustration, anger, resentment
Power Stomping (standing and reaching to the sky while stomping feet into the earth). When you have had your power taken away from you
Wailing/Grief Ritual (arms back, open chest, cry, wail). This is when you feel like you are on the cross, why me, cant take anymore, sadness, grief, betrayal, stab in the heart, I’m taking on someone’s pain or a collective pain
Pillow Pounding: Anger. Bring your lower arms onto a pillow in upward forward open motion and punching the fuck out of the pillow
Pelvic Thrusting with Pillow (thrust your groin into a pillow as though you are “entering” the pillow): Sexual frustration and claiming power back
Tantrum: When you are not getting what you want
Shaking: Shock, freeze, trauma, negative energy penetrating you. Become the shake, let go completely
Dancing: Imagine you are a hollow bamboo and let the music move you
The irony of this is that children naturally do all of these when they are upset, but we tell them to do otherwise. Our basic human instinct knows what to do with the emotional body until we are conditioned by society. Animals move their body as a way to release trauma too, especially through shaking.
3. Ask what the emotion is showing you
Is there a boundary to be stated? Or a preference? Or a request? Is there a situation or person no longer serving your life? Is there an action you need to take? Or maybe it’s just telling you to slow down and be with yourself. To get more rest. To get real with how you are really feeling beyond the facade or beyond blaming someone else. Maybe it’s showing you where you could be kinder and more relaxed. Maybe there’s an inspiration to be heard. The possibilities are endless. Accept that change brings discomfort and resolve to truly just allow that change to bring its own forms of discomfort.
In order to heal we must release our emotions, for emotions were never designed to be anchored within the body, they are designed to FLOW and move. It is conditioning that tells us to not express, even though releasing is a cleansing and clearing process that provides clarity and relief. We’re a head centric society trying to think our way out of our challenges, grief, fears and stress. When we bring the body in, through this physical express and release process, when we take the time to FEEL the emotions, that’s when we can see dramatic change happen in our lives.
Whilst I am suggesting you acknowledge and validate emotions, I am NOT suggesting you re-live the trauma of the experience itself. By acknowledging the emotion, validating it, FEELing it and responding to the emotion itself we can begin to release it and heal from it.
Always remember the butterfly. Always remember that being in the chrysalis, being with the uncomfortability and the pain/struggle, is a core part of emerging and flying in the world, a core part of truly loving yourself and receiving love unconditionally! Just as you would never abandon a suffering or frightened child, neither must you turn away from the pain inside you. Metamorphosis is the butterfly emerging from the dark moist cocoon.
A lot of what I do with my clients in private sessions is connect them back with their emotional body and help them come home to themselves. Emotional expression through breath, sound and movement are key aspects to all of my workshops, retreats and courses. For women in Perth who want to journey deeper with their emotional body and actually start living the life of their dreams, join us for our next LIFE TANTRA 8 Week Womens Embodiment Course in Feb/March where you will learn how to bring all of my teachings into everyday life and actually LIVE as the abundant, incredible being you are.