The energies are intense out there right now. It is full on election season in the U.S., Mercury is retrograde in dramatic and intense Scorpio, the Libra New Moon is rather, ahem, interesting with Pluto and Saturn nearby, the pandemic… and really do we need another reason?
Sometimes, everything I feel out-there gets magnified in-here simply because the world’s volume is louder. Other times I notice everything I feel out-there is magnified when I am in conflict within myself. When things that normally feel intense but manageable become abnormally intense and untenable it may be a sign is something else going on underneath. A choice I made, or recent experience I had, that didn’t fully resonate is compromising my energetic field, making me more vulnerable. Perhaps something has been bothering me which I haven’t fully acknowledged, taken time to relaxed-ly inquire into.
As it lingers in my field, awaiting deeper acknowledgment from my consciousness, I progressively get out. of. center.
A curious, lighter approach to what I’m feeling, and what I need, is exactly what’s called for. Drifting into deep presence in a relaxed way, lightening up, allows the Guide within to show me exactly what’s up.
But I cannot do this if I have become so thoroughly out of my center, feeling too much, too quickly.
The catch-22 is: When I am this triggered, it is challenging if not impossible to be relaxed and curious, since things are amplified toward heavy and intense. The question becomes, then, how to get back?
When things get turned up in my emotional body and nervous system, how do I come back to center, come back home to myself? Well, one of the very first things I have learned to do is slow down and be much kinder to myself…
Slow it down. Anxiety is speedy. Relaxation is slow. Whether that means stopping to water the flowers, laying down, or changing my plans and clearing time in order to take care of me, that initial step of setting the intention to/actually slowing down and being gentle with me hinges entirely on being present to the fact that I’m feeling out of my center, I’m feeling too “fast” and I’m going to slow down.
Then I ask: Where Am I? This is a powerful question for coming back into this moment. Here’s a few places I might be: In the energy of a client, or my husband? Am I in the energy of a worry? Am I in the past or future? Am I avoiding doing something I don’t want to do? Am I creating a story? Is my consciousness even in my body? Since consciousness is not tied to time or space, Where am I? When I ask this question I may discover: I’m in the energy of a website or former conversation. Sometimes this is all I need to ask to get back to center.
Ask: Am I safe? This next question responds directly to the feelings of being unsafe that anxiety, dis-resonant energy, being overwhelmed, stuck in a loop of fight/flight/freeze response, or being in inner conflict with yourself will often create. Many things can stimulate the fight, flight or freeze response. It is not imperative that you figure out what got you here, right now, and chances are high that you won’t be able to anyhow. If you feel unsafe you are also not grounded, rooted or centered so this is the moment to ground, root, center. Feel your feet on this stable earth. Connect with your environment, the stillness of where you now sit. If you are breathing rapidly, watch your breath rise and fall without trying to change it. Ask the question, Am I safe?, but from the perspective of concrete actual facts (not how you feel). You may feel like the house is on fire but, wait, look around and you can see that it is not. Take some minutes to truly feel the physical reality of “I am safe” in your body. You might try naming objects, sights, sounds and senses of touch within your environment. Allow “I am safe” to arise from feet to legs to pelvic girdle, where the energetic root chakra of safety, security, and our power center, resides. You may also want to sigh a little when you start to feel a shift, an ahhhhhh with your exhale, since sighing signals “it’s okay to relax” to the nervous system. (If needed, reverse the order of Am I Safe and Where Am I?)
Once I get a sense of being in this moment, and the safety of this moment, I begin to ever so gently notice the feelings.
Ask: What am I feeling right now? Sadness, anger, fear, grief… I allow them to be named. They are often not my feelings/energies. I may not know whose they are. But I still need to acknowledge their presence in order to allow release.
I drop into the Real Feelings in my body, not the story about them in my mind. When I am present I can become aware of the difference between “feeling” and “thinking.” If I say “this thing terrifies me” but I’m in my head, I’m not feeling it, I’m telling a story about the feeling. It will stay stuck and not shift/release. But if I allow it to drop into my pelvic bowl, the ugh, the awful, the sad, the desperate, the “I really don’t like this at all” now I am really feeling. Acknowledgement will dissipate ANY energy or feeling. Or, said in another way, the Truth will always set you free. But you must be willing to feel the penny drop… to actually feel the Truth of the feeling land in your energy body. This is not about dropping the thoughts but dropping in deeper, going underneath the mind’s story, and into the feeling and sensing body. So: Let go of the story and just be with the sensation of it. Breathe. Stay connected to your present environment, grounded. Be willing to see the difference between telling a mental story about a feeling or energy and actually feeling it in your body.
I become willing to stay with the sensations in the body until I feel a shift. This means: Don’t push away the intense feelings and energies. Often we want to run away from discomfort, so we don’t really feel, not fully, so we suffer. We think about our feelings, we tell a story about the feelings, which can be ways to avoid feeling them. Or, we start to feel a little better and then start to distract our self with thoughts or schedules, instead of waiting for a deeper release or acknowledgement. Many people are afraid to feel the intensity of their feelings, in the body, because of the powerful story they have built around the feelings. Feelings and energies cannot harm you. You can experience them in your body as sensation. Then, you will realize a) you can survive intense feelings b) you are built to feel anything; you can handle it, and c) being in your body with intense feelings allows you to release them, and is very empowering.
Often, at this point, I can ask myself if I need to do anything else to feel better and receive good inner guidance about that. A shower or bath, hot tea, shaking, movement or other practices. Come back to center and I am clear enough to be helpful to me.
And sometimes, I get back to center just enough to feel okay. I don’t always get resolution, here. I get presence. Then I commit to gently, curiously, waiting, and with time and with patient and gentle awareness, energies will release, or my emotions will tell me what I need.
If you get stuck around these last two prompts, you may need to examine the beliefs keeping you from fully feeling.
Recognize if you shame or judge yourself for feeling what you feel. This is a difficulty many of us face, especially healers. We shame our self for: a mis-step or are self-critical of a perceived mistake, for disappointing others, our sensitivity, needs and desires… or any number of reasons. We might shame our self for experiencing intense anger, or for the way we behaved during a moment. Shame and self-judgment are conditioned responses that we have learned. Cultural/familial conditioning against feelings, emotions, vulnerability and sensitivity is REAL. This is why it can be revolutionary to: Allow your Authentic Feelings to be 100% Legitimate and True for You. Your feeling responses are natural and okay. They don’t make you weak, no matter how vulnerable you feel when you are having them.
If our experience of a strong emotion has an element involved that feels out of alignment for us, it can stimulate inner shame and self judgment. For instance, if we don’t like how and where we express anger. It’s not the anger that feels bad. It’s the fact that we don’t feel in alignment with our self around its expression. Our Soul has a preference for its expression that will feel just right.
Trust me: It’s the judgment you have against the feeling that is creating those amplified sensations of suffering and deep anxiety. It’s not the anger you feel. It’s not the grief. It’s not the vulnerability. It’s not the sadness. It’s not the feelings.
In my experience, it is impossible to get back to center if shame or self-judgement is present. This is probably the most entrenched conditioning I’ve had to work with. Self-compassion, holding and witnessing the negative voices or energy within, in an extremely gentle way, will slowly ebb away at this. Releasing old conditioning does not happen overnight, but with time, patience and grace.
More examples of beliefs that block releasing energy:
I shouldn’t be feeling so vulnerable. I shouldn’t be feeling this way. I don’t want to be feeling this. I’m crazy for feeling this.
There is nothing wrong with you, for feeling what you feel. You are allowed to feel all of it.
You are not broken because you feel strongly. You are allowed to have feelings.
Sensitivity is just another word for awareness. If you are very sensitive, you are simply very aware of energy.
Acknowledging what you feel, in your body, will resolve energy and bring you back to your center.
I hope this has given you a few ideas to play with the next time you are feeling out of center and need to come back home. As you give yourself greater permission to feel and explore intense feelings you don’t like, you will more easily be able to move from distress back to presence. And the more deeply you sink into these ideas and practices, the more peaceful and resilient you will feel within yourself!
p.s.- feel free to share how you get back to center, below. And p.p.s.- there is a wonderful online free workshop taking place right now with some great (and so many!) speakers, sharing tools for healing from trauma and embodiment. The Embodiment Conference.