Recently I had the delightful experience of speaking at a wonderful retreat in Utah and it triggered my intuition to pass come important information on to all of you. Throughout that long weekend, besides our scheduled presentations, I had a great many conversations, in large groups, small ones, and with individuals. In all cases, and with all questions, the very same issue was apparent - the attempt to resolve problems intellectually, to “figure them out,” while avoiding emotions. And this is not new. I’ve been watching this dilemma of emotion avoidance for decades, and no matter what the circumstances, this problem must be addressed if we are ever to stand a chance for real happiness and peace. You see, to avoid feeling how you feel is also to avoid your healing, your abundance, your safety, and your peace of mind!
Here’s the situation. We have been habituated to the idea, in many ways from our earliest experience, that expressing emotions is dangerous, unwelcome, gets you in trouble, or worse. When parents, who were/are not aware of how to regulate their own emotions, punish or reprimand little ones for not knowing how to regulate their distress, the defensiveness and shutting down begins. And the strong association about revealing how we feel and punishment or abandonment is created. But this is no way to live. Happiness and peace become impossible with this unexamined idea running the show.
By the way, this is not parent-bashing or blaming. A Course In Miracles makes it abundantly clear that we are co-conspirators in forming our early experience, however unwelcome that may be. In lesson 132 in the ACIM workbook, it states: “The world is nothing in itself. Your mind must give it meaning. And what you behold upon it are your wishes, acted out so you can look on them and think them real. Perhaps you think you did not make the world, but came unwillingly to what was made already, hardly waiting for your thoughts to give it meaning. Yet in truth you found exactly what you looked for when you came.” In so many ways, it leads us to the realization that we all do create our own experience so re-learning our response to our emotional states is imperative.
Given that it’s our responsibility and privilege to take an opposite and healing approach, where to begin and why? First, why must we fully feel our emotions? To do otherwise is to treat our distress as an unwelcome enemy that we seriously do not want to deal with. And guess what our very responsive and unquestioning brains do when we defend against anything, believing it to be dangerous? It turns on the stress response, releasing the fight or flight chemicals that are taken up into the cells of the body, creating our emotional states! So there you go - by defending against feeling how we feel, we create even more of the same. And it’s all so unnecessary, but who knew!
So what is the sane and healing response? Clearly to learn the actual process of regulating emotions. Step by step - first, cut away the story you believe is “causing” the emotional pain, be it grief, sadness, hopelessness, fury, or variations thereof. DO NOT THINK or analyze. Cultivate the most counterintuitive response of quietly and respectfully welcoming and embracing whatever that feeling or emotion may be. Give it your full, undivided attention. Experience it! Do not judge or place blame, figure out, or reflect. Simply relax into feeling, no matter how intense. You are safe. Now why does this work? Because when you have a friendly and welcoming response, honoring your experience, closely paying attention to it with kindness, you signal your brain there is no danger, this is a friend, and that turns OFF the stress response. This produces a different chemical cocktail to enter the cells and you immediately feel differently.
On thousands of occasions, I have led people through this process, encouraging the embrace of the immediate actual experience and 100% of the time, their emotional states shift, things settle, the mind clears and only then is it possible to do the long range work of examining the beliefs about our lack of worth that is the actual culprit.
So to recap, we try to skip over the “feeling the emotions” part and get right on to an intellectual analysis of the situation. Attempting to “understand” our way to peace, avoiding the messy part, is bound to fail for the reasons given above. So I hope you will hear two things. First, everyone is in the same boat - not properly informed - and secondly, this process of accepting our emotional states, so they can finally change, works 100% of the time. Where else can you get that kind of guarantee? Do try it because you can then successfully move forward, claiming the life you deserve to live.
For more information about all this and a great deal more, please check out our online program, See How Life Works. I’ve spent my life discovering all these crucial facts and it’s my honor and privilege to consolidate these findings into one comprehensive program. (And what’s more, it’s simple to understand, and in many places, very funny!) Do enjoy!
Blessings to all,
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