Feeling the Feelings - Grief / Emotional Energy Release
Attempting to suppress emotions is dysfunctional; it does not work. Emotions are energy: E-motion = energy in motion. It is supposed to be in motion, it was meant to flow.
Emotions have a purpose, a very good reason to be - even those emotions that feel uncomfortable. Fear is a warning, anger is for protection, tears are for cleansing and releasing. These are not negative emotional responses! We were taught to react negatively to them. It is our reaction that is dysfunctional and negative, not the emotion."
"The way to stop reacting out of our inner children is to release the stored emotional energy from our childhoods by doing the grief work that will heal our wounds. The only effective, long term way to clear our emotional process - to clear the inner channel to Truth which exists in all of us - is to grieve the wounds which we suffered as children. The most important single tool, the tool which is vital to changing behavior patterns and attitudes in this healing transformation, is the grief process. The process of grieving.
We are all carrying around repressed pain, terror, shame, and rage energy from our childhoods, whether it was twenty years ago or fifty years ago. We have this grief energy within us even if we came from a relatively healthy family, because this society is emotionally dishonest and dysfunctional."
Quote from Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
Emotions are energy that is manifested in our bodies. They exist below the neck. They are not thoughts (although attitudes set up our emotional reactions.) In order to do the emotional healing it is vital to start paying attention to where energy is manifesting in our bodies. Where is there tension, tightness? Could that "indigestion" really be some feelings? Are those "butterflies" in my stomach telling me something emotionally?
When I am working with someone and they start having some feelings coming up, the first thing I have to tell them is to keep breathing. Most of us have learned a variety of ways to control our emotions and one of them is to stop breathing and close our throats. That is because grief in the form of sadness accumulates in our upper chest and breathing into it helps some of it to escape - so we learned to stop breathing at those moments when we start getting emotional, when our voice starts breaking.
Western civilization has for many years been way out of balance towards the left brain way of thinking - concrete, rational, what you see is all there is (this was in reaction to earlier times of being out of balance the other way, towards superstition and ignorance.) Because emotional energy can not be seen or measured or weighed ("The x-ray shows you've got 5 pounds of grief in there.") emotions were discounted and devalued. This has started to change somewhat in recent years but most of us grew up in a society that taught us that being too emotional was a bad thing that we should avoid. (Certain cultures / subcultures give more permission for emotions but those are usually out of balance to the other extreme of allowing the emotions to rule - the goal is balance: between mental and emotional, between intuitive and rational.)
Emotions are a vital part of our being for several reasons.
1. Because it is energy and energy cannot just disappear. The emotional energy generated by the circumstances of our childhood and early life does not go away just because we were forced to deny it. It is still trapped in our body - in a pressurized, explosive state, as a result of being suppressed. If we don't learn how to release it in a healthy way it will explode outward or implode back in on us. Eventually it will transform into some other form - such as cancer.
2. As long as we have pockets of pressurized emotional energy that we have to avoid dealing with - those emotional wounds will run our lives. We use food, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, work, religion, exercise, meditation, television, etc., to help us keep suppressing that energy. To help us keep ourselves focused on something else, anything else, besides the emotional wounds that terrify us. The emotional wounds are what cause obsession and compulsion, are what the "critical parent" voice works so hard to keep us from dealing with.
3. Our emotions tell us who we are - our Soul communicates with us through emotional energy vibrations. Truth is an emotional energy vibrational communication from our Soul on the Spiritual Plane to our being/spirit/soul on this physical plane - it is something that we feel in our heart/our gut, something that resonates within us.
Our problem has been that because of our unhealed childhood wounds it has been very difficult to tell the difference between an intuitive emotional Truth and the emotional truth that comes from our childhood wounds. When one of our buttons is pushed and we react out of the insecure, scared little kid inside of us (or the angry/rage filled kid, or the powerless/helpless kid, etc.) then we are reacting to what our emotional truth was when we were 5 or 9 or 14 - not to what is happening now. Since we have been doing that all of our lives, we learned not to trust our emotional reactions (and got the message not to trust them in a variety of ways when we were kids.)
4. We are attracted to people that feel familiar on an energetic level - which means (until we start clearing our emotional process) people that emotionally / vibrationally feel like our parents did when we were very little kids. At a certain point in my process I realized that if I met a woman who felt like my soul mate, that the chances were pretty huge that she was one more unavailable woman that fit my pattern of being attracted to someone who would reinforce the message that I wasn't good enough, that I was unlovable. Until we start releasing the hurt, sadness, rage, shame, terror - the emotional grief energy - from our childhoods we will keep having dysfunctional relationships.
I became willing to do the emotional healing in the summer of 1987 when I set myself up to be abandoned on my birthday one more time. I called a counselor that I had been told was good with the emotional work. It turned our that he was in the middle of moving to Hawaii and wasn't doing counseling anymore. But he said I could come over and talk to him as he packed.
I don't remember anything that he said to me that day - what I do remember is that as I sat in his house watching him pack I had a feeling, and a visual image, that I had just opened Pandora's Box - the monsters were loose now and I would never be able shut that box again.
Doing the grief work is absolutely terrifying. The word I came up with to describe how I felt was terrif***ingfying. It felt like if I ever really owned the pain, I would end up crying in a rubber room for the rest of my life. That if I ever really owned the rage, I would just go up and down the street shooting people. That is not what happened. The Spirit guided me through the process and gave me the resources I needed to release great quantities of that pent up, pressurized emotional energy. To release enough to start learning who I really am, to start seeing my path more clearly, and to start forgiving myself and learning about love.
I still need to do the grieving/energy release work from time to time. There is still a hole in my soul - a seemingly bottomless abyss of wish-to-die-pain, shame, and unbearable suffering. But it is a much smaller hole and I don't have to visit it very often.
The wounds don't go away. They have less power to dictate my life as I heal. I needed to own that wounded part of me in order to start getting to know, and have compassion for, me. I also needed to learn to have a balance because we can't live in those feelings. We need to own them and honor them in order to own and honor ourselves - but then we need to learn to have internal boundaries that will allow us to find some balance in our life, allow us to to trust the process and our Higher Power.
We are on a Spiritual journey - and the Force is with us. It will help and guide us as we face the terror of owning how painful our human experience has been. The more we are able to feel and release the feelings / emotional energy, the more clearly we can tune into the emotional energy that is Truth - and Love, Light, Joy, Beauty - coming from The Source Energy.