This is my first time trying to articulate a meditation practice that I created and want to share. Please excuse any awkwardness as I try to put this into a framework that makes sense outside of my mind. Feel free to skip the background section and go right to the visualization practice instructions at the bottom of the post.
I have always struggled with expressing and letting go of negative feelings, especially anger and shame. My parts also struggle with finding healthy, positive, safe ways to express and then let go of anger. Shame is something all of us try to acknowledge and let go of, but sometimes requires the assistance of an objective third party.
Many people will say that exercise, journaling, crafts, punching pillows, yelling, dancing, tearing paper, drawing, etc. can help release the negative energy that comes with anger. I agree with those people in a general sense. Personally, every single one of the suggested activities can be or is triggering and makes my feelings worse. Only in the past year have I been able to utilize any of these strategies without being triggered.
Lashing out is not something I ever wanted to do. Therapy and internal reflection taught me how to identify triggers that caused the lashing out at other people/objects/beings. Real friends and mentors helped me become aware of my words and actions so that I could change my behaviors through a combination of CBT and DBT. These days I hardly ever lash out at others. And when I do, I work hard to reflect on why and not feel shame about making a mistake.
The Hotline and therapy sessions along with self-help books eventually helped me stop lashing out at myself – punishment, self-harm, reckless and dangerous behaviors – except under certain conditions when I have to use last resort coping strategies. Meditation, reflection, and grounding strategies helped me the most with this kind of lashing out.
But none of these strategies or techniques helped me safely express the negative energy that comes with feeling angry or let go of the negative feelings that come from a flashback.
I had to figure out a way to express or let go of the energy stressing out my body without physical activity that caused more instead of less pain and negativity.
That’s how this meditation or visualization practice works. It helps me let go of the negative feelings and associated energy bursts without moving or harming anyone. Maybe it will help you too.
Move into a comfortable position that supports your whole body (I prefer lying down)
Close your eyes and take several slow, deep breaths. Inhale for 10 seconds. Pause for 10 seconds. Exhale for 10 seconds. Repeat.
Next imagine you are sitting in a clear bubble. You can see everything around you (a 360 degree view), but none of it can reach you inside the bubble. You are safe inside the bubble. You control what enters and leaves the bubble.
All around you the negative feelings are moving – sometimes they look like dark clouds, other times bright streams of light; maybe monsters, or spiders, or ghosts. But you are safe inside your bubble. The negative feelings can’t hurt you or take over. The negative energy can’t hurt you or take over.
Now imagine a large recycling container with a vacuum on one side and a hose on the other side. The vacuum sucks the negative feelings and energy into the container. The container recycles the negative feelings and energy into neutral feelings and energy unrelated to you and any of your experiences. Then the hose pumps the neutral feelings and energy back into the universe. All of this is done using a remote control.
The remote control is inside your bubble. You turn on the recycling container and adjust the speed. As you watch, the vacuum starts sucking up the negative feelings and energy. You control the speed and sound of vacuuming and the recycler.
Slowly, but surely, the area around your bubble changes, becomes lighter, less crowded, less foggy until all of the negative feelings and energy bothering you right now is gone. You turn off the recycling container, put it away, and observe your surroundings.
Notice any color changes, or sensory changes. Notice your breathing – is it still slow and deep, or rapid and quick. Observe how your body feels – are the muscles relaxed or tense? Observe your energy levels – have they lowered or evened out or something else? Observe your feelings – do you feel more or less clearheaded, calm, relaxed?
Take two slow deep breaths. Inhale for 10 seconds. Pause for 10 seconds. Exhale for 10 seconds. Repeat.
Continue to breathe slow and deep. Open your eyes when you feel ready.
***feel free to substitute your images for mine at any time in the visualization. Some people prefer sitting inside an auditorium with a clear dome or laying on the grass instead. The goal is for you to try this meditation and then adapt it to suit your specific needs if it works***
Thanks for reading this long post.