We carry emotions around with us. Unexpressed, lingering to high jack us. I know that I’m holding emotions when small things trigger a rush of feelings. It happened the other day as I did the weekly shopping. I was relishing being out and about. Aware of and present to the people around me and engaging with the check out clerks. Kleenex was on my list. My usual store for kleenex is Target. There were only desk sized boxes and the sign on the shelf stated one per person. So I walked out of Target with a single tiny box of kleenex and found myself struggling to keep my composure as a wave of grief hit me. I could judge myself – such a silly thing to be sad about – but I know it’s not about the lack of tissue. It was a surface crack that opened to the crevasse. The drop to the deeper pain centered in my body from navigating radical changes. Fear of what else might shift out from under me.
So on the way home I allowed myself to feel it. Let the hurt expand through my chest, allowed the tears to flow. No hiding or stuffing. Once I allowed the emotion free rein it did not stay long. Allowing that transforms to releasing is beautiful. There is calm, restoration, new vibrancy on the other side.
Our emotions are daisy chained together. They are like substrata layered one on top of the other. Sadness, hurt, and pain are similar and all in one strata. Under the sadness there is fear. We can be afraid that we can’t cope or that we won’t be able to rise again. There is fear of loss. Fear of what’s next. Fear of being left. As humans we are brilliant at contriving fear. And it feeds our pain sometimes triggering anger which is the layer above hurt, pain, and sadness.
It takes courage and space to unstopper emotion. It feels risky to reach for sorrow. We so naturally want to turn away or cover it up. However if you want to loosen the grip of emotions you must feel through them. If you want to clear anger and pain you have to get through to what’s underneath. It’s an uncomfortable truth. The good news. A willingness to lean in is all you need. There are many ways to work through strong emotions. Everyone of them starts with choosing to begin.
On the other side is renewal and euphoria. The prize waiting at the very center, the inner most layer is love and appreciation, compassion and forgiveness. Knowledge that lifts away sadness and diminishes fears to ashes. As I write those words I can feel the electric tingle of possibility. My heart responding with joy. Can you feel it?
In June I’m doing a workshop called “Voicing The Emotion”. Walking through the layers of human emotion is one of the things we will do. It promises to be powerfully cathartic. What is important to understand right now is that all the layers are present. No matter what’s showing on top nor the depth of that anger or hurt all the other layers are there. Inherently love, compassion, and appreciation are also there.
The next time you are wound up take a moment, breath deeply and pry the lid off. If anger is present separate yourself from others. Go away to yell, scream, beat a bed or chair or log with a tennis racket, bath towel, or pool noodle. If grief is present cry, sob, wail. If you can’t fully express near others grab a wad of tissue and go be alone. Give full expression. Go until there is nothing left. See what comes to you on the other side. Let me know how it went. I’d love to hear of your discoveries.
For Your Best Possible Self
Coach Christine Clark