Catching Up Slowly
The short version is that I spent a lot of time sitting with the new feelings and sensations inside my body. By that I mean all of the feelings buried underneath the anger revealed themselves and started moving in my body.
It felt like going through puberty again, although without the hormones to make everything feel more confusion. Those feelings and sensations include: sexuality, sensuality, physical attraction, femininity, and masculinity.
I still experienced anger and frustration, but not in the same way or with the same overwhelming intensity as before. In fact, the anger didn’t feel like anger until I started paying attention to the sensations in my body every time I felt angry. The sensations flared up at the peak of my anger and drained away as I acknowledged and sat with them.
What sensations for anger?
Tensing of my jaw and neck muscles. My eye lids tightening around the corners. Increased heartbeat. Stabbing pain in my mid back. Sudden discomfort, bloating, and lack of appetite around my abdominal/middle back area. A surge of adrenaline that made me want to MOVE, but not hurt anyone. And a feeling that something sludgy was moving around inside me trying to get out.
“Doing” versus “Sitting with”
For someone who hasn’t lived in her body for about 30 years, all of these sensations and feelings felt new and scary. I didn’t know how to cope with them. What could I do? How do I keep from getting distracted?
Talking with my counselor validated my decision to not try to “do” anything to the feelings and sensations.
By “do” I mean use coping strategies to contain or balance or change them in some way.
Instead, we agreed that I would “sit” with these feelings and sensations to learn about and from them. Sitting with uncomfortable feelings is not new to me. I developed a process for doing this around 2010 to help dial down the intensity of physical panic attacks and created the acronym AEVAR and mantras to chant with the acronym words.
- Acknowledge – I acknowledge all of the feelings and sensations in my body, mind, and spirit
- Experience – I experience all of the feelings and sensations moving in, around, through, and out of my mind, body, and spirit with friendliness, love, and compassion
- Validate – Each sensation and feeling is valid, real, deserving of respect, and a valued source of information
- Accept – I accept all of the feelings and sensations as valid, real, and useful in sharing information with me
- Release – I let go of all the feelings and sensations with love and acceptance knowing that they will come and go like waves in the ocean
- The chanting helps all parts of me feel grounded and safe enough to be patient until the intense feelings and sensations release themselves.
Chanting the words (and believing in them) is a mantra in itself. You can add others that fit your circumstances or not use a mantra at all.
What does this have to do with the break and spiritual quest?
Sitting with my feelings instead of employing a coping strategy takes a lot of time, focus, and energy. It required changes to my daily routines in order to meet basic needs and maintain self-care. More meditation and deep breathing. More relaxation techniques to help me rest or sleep. And more grounding/mindfulness exercises to help me stay focused on my job as work got busier and busier instead of slowing down like usual.
After a while, though, doing this on my own brought out more questions and insecurities than answers. I was working through major family breakthroughs at the time and experiencing intense hyper-vigilance that negatively impacted my relationship with neighbors in the building. Everything felt sharper, more intense. Energy or something was building up inside of me, and I didn’t know how to let it go without causing an explosion.
So I turned back to my spiritual practices. During meditation, I asked God, guardians, guides, the universe, angels, and archangels for support and guidance. I practiced listening to my intuition and using that knowledge to make choices. And moved into the next step of my spiritual quest.
Without the anger buffering me from all of the hidden feelings and sensations, all parts of me started having more flashbacks and intense dreams. I felt fear differently and confusion all the time. The outside world seemed more unfriendly and dangerous than before. And all parts of me were feeling frustrated with a lack of resources about certain topics related to our past history of sexual and physical abuse in the Western Medicine canon.
We used the month off to explore other healing methodologies, spiritual practices, and ways of thinking that might offer information about the feelings and sensations of something moving through our physical body and spiritual self. Astrology, a tarot reading, books about chakra systems (from spiritual and psychological perspectives) and life force energy (aka qi, kundalini, auras, magnetic fields, energy fields, etc.) from practitioners and healers were some of my resources.
All of these practitioners embodied love, compassion, and acceptance as part of their lifestyles. It showed in their speech, body language, and interactions with others. And all of them incorporated teachings from eastern religions, western religions, and mythology from around the world in their practices. They shared information and wisdom with me, provided direction, and offered resources so that I could continue on my journey.
Today’s Featured Image
I found this quote on my Facebook feed – gratitude to the friend who shared it – and saved it to share here too.
Why put it with a post about anger?
This quote embodies the main lesson learned from each reading session with a practitioner of tarot, astrology, etc. during the past two months.
Love – universal, unconditional, compassionate, and accepting – really can manifest positive changes in oneself and in life.
Without letting down my guard and changing my beliefs about the outside world, and the universe in general, I would not have had the courage and faith to believe in this kind of love and let it protect all parts of me from the inside out.
That love and protection provided the support and tools to finally drain out the seeming bottomless pit of anger.
Without that love protecting and healing all parts of me on the inside, I would not have had the courage to keep sitting with the feelings and sensations until my intuition guided me to unexpected answers.
So I’m sharing that love with all of you. It’s a gift freely given. Yours to accept or not.
Thanks for reading.