Recently, a person I knew intimately, passed away. And for a few days I didn’t really know how to feel. There was that strange feeling as if I was staring at the heavy door and there was no way to open it.
And then, one day, all of a sudden, I got upset over a small, totally insignificant thing, and the next moment I knew, I was in tears. The door opened and all emotions I couldn’t feel until that moment, started flowing out of my body with these big and cleansing tears.
This is something to think about painful emotions. If you don’t want to have them, and you do not want to show them, what do you do with them? Do you push them down and hope they will stay? Do you block them out of your awareness? Do you disconnect from your body entirely? How do you make the pain go away?
Apparently, I was very good at it. I was so good at detaching from my feelings that I didn’t even know I had these feelings, until something would upset the balance. Until something would trigger the explosion.
If you ever found yourself screaming at someone you love or bursting into tears over the smallest and dumbest thing, have you ever wondered where this came from?
I wish someone taught me much earlier how to release my negative emotions safely and completely. I wish someone taught me how to let go.
Imagine for a moment, what would happen if you stop throwing away the garbage and just let it pile up? How long it will take until the entire house start stinking? Would you let your child stay in a garbage-filled room and hope that she or he will be just fine? And above all, would you dump the garbage on your child’s head? Would you take it out and share with a friend?
It is interesting how people understand that about garbage – it needs to be taken out regularly otherwise there will be problems. But what about our negative emotions? Should they be taken out regularly? Should we be asking ourselves what conditions we create inside our body when we accumulate stress and negative emotional energy? How our own cells are going to cope with a slew of toxic chemicals which are produced when we are experiencing stress? Should we be concerned what persistent nervous tension can do to our faces and our bodies?
The problem is that despite all advances in medical science, there are still not many tools available to deal with emotions. People usually have a choice between self-medicating, using sugar, alcohol and other distractions, or spending years in a therapist’s office revisiting childhood memories. Often, alcohol and sugar somehow seem more appealing.
And yet, each of us experienced an emotional release. We all felt relief and release after a good old cry. We all felt release and relief after talking to a good friend, whom we could trust with our feelings and our imperfections. We all know how to release the tension with a deep sigh. And most of us know how to scream. The only problem, we seldom do it on purpose and we usually do not do it regularly.
Let’s imagine that we could take out and review our Mother Nature’s tools for releasing negative emotions.
First, there is a breath. A deep, long exhale helps relieve emotional tension.
Second, there is body movement – we often feel compelled to stomp our feet, shake our fists, move closer to someone who aggravated our anger or move away from someone who, as we feel, makes us feel sad and miserable.
Third, there is our voice. We shout, we cry out loud, we complain or pour our hearts out to a kind ear.
Now, how we can use these tools more deliberately and more precisely?
One of the most elegant, effective and easy-to-use approaches to letting go has been developed by Taoist masters over 5000 years ago. This is what I call a true time-tested technique!
According to The Tao, emotions are energy, which can be stored and amplified or moved and released. To release a negative emotional energy from the body, The Tao uses the power of the eye, the power of the heart and the power of the mind.
Here is the recipe: You look at the emotion in your body. You connect to it mentally and emotionally. You create a strong intention to let go (this is very important). You believe in your heart that you can do it. And then you use a combination of certain movements, sounds and breathing to guide the negative energy out of your body and into the ground.
You may call it a self-hypnosis technique. You may call it a visualization technique. You may call it a guided meditation technique. Regardless of how you label it, apparently your body/mind has enough intelligence to understand what you want it to do. And with a breath and a sound and a movement of your body, it just gets released.
According to the Tao, we cannot avoid negative emotions. they are here to stay and we better expect to experience them every day. However, what we can do is to limit their stay in our body. We can get into a healthy habit of throwing away our garbage regularly.
I have been studying the Tao for the past 4 years and from my own experience, the more I relax and release negative emotions, the easier it gets. The less garbage we accumulate, the easier it is to take it out. And the best thing – the more garbage we remove, the more space we leave for much more enjoyable feelings.
Now, some readers may be questioning my choice of words. Should we call our negative emotions garbage? But take a look at your garbage. Almost everything that now stinks and decomposes in your trash bag, was once something useful and important. However, when you no longer need it or when it served its purpose or when it starts to stink – it is time to let it go.
This April, I will be teaching Taoist’s techniques for relaxation and emotional release at the Providencia Pond Retreat in Issaquah, WA. If you are curious and want to find out more, visit RelaxReleaseBeRadiant.com.