06 May Energy in Motion
Hello again Friends!
It’s been a little while since I’ve connected with all of you. I have been feeling a bit disconnected, but of course that disconnection is part of The Connected Way™ and it’s important to share and connect in all the facets of this journey.
I realized that I’ve been moving through grief (and I know I’m in good company). In the past couple weeks, the reality of this pandemic, as well as the irrevocable shift in our world and our lives has really been hitting me. I am grieving. We are all grieving. The world is grieving.
I know about the stages of grief and that everyone grieves in their own way. And yet, I haven’t been giving myself a lot of credit or space for the grief and feelings I’m experiencing. And it turns out, I have been having a lot of feelings. In fact, it seems that what we’re going through is actually magnifying all of the feelings and struggles I’d already been having, and the new feelings in these moments seem amplified as well. Anyone else feeling this?
My tendency in life is to want to understand everything, including my feelings. I always want to understand why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling – to be able to explain it, to be able to justify it. And I often expect that once I can understand and explain my feelings, they’ll go away. Not. So. Much.
I have learned two things in the past few years that deeply shifted my understanding of feelings. First, a teacher and mentor of mine shared with me that the mind cannot process emotions. It will try and try, and in fact, it will make the mind go non-stop because it’s trying to do something it can’t accomplish – it’s trying to process something it cannot process. Because feelings originate in the body and they are processed in the body. Not in the mind.
Which leads me to the next mind-blowing thing I learned. I don’t remember who shared this with me but I remember my reaction to it very well; it was like getting smacked in the face. Did you know… the word “emotion” comes from “energy in motion?”
Emotions are energy. They don’t actually get resolved through understanding or thought processing alone. They require motion. The energy needs to be acknowledged, allowed and moved (instead of suppressing, which I admittedly have a PhD in) which does require that we notice them, understand and name them, share them with someone (connection anyone?) and then move through them.
Lately, I haven’t been checking in with myself because I was scared of what I might find. And then, if I noticed I was feeling something, and couldn’t “explain it away” (yeah, right), I’d been engaging in a long-standing nasty habit: judging my emotions and my experience. I’ve been judging myself for having the emotions I’m having, telling myself I shouldn’t be feeling that way.
There is no should, especially when it comes to emotions and feelings. Yes, they can sometimes be inconvenient and sometimes scary. But shaming myself for having the emotions I’m having just creates more pain and suffering.
I have a lot of feelings right now, about what’s happening in the world, about my own circumstances, about the loss of the life I knew and the world as we knew it, and about the collective loss – so much loss. I am often feeling a lot of things all at once. I feel grateful and hopeful and curious at the same time that I’m full of sorrow and anger and confusion. It changes at the drop of a dime these days it seems, and everything does feel magnified, but every moment and feeling is valid. And despite my feelings scaring me sometimes and wanting to just not deal with them, I know I need to allow for them and tend to them and for sure not judge them. Sometimes that means I need to take a break and have a good cry. Sometimes it means I need to reach out for connection. And sometimes it means I just need to check in with myself, notice my feelings and give them some room to breathe.
I hope you are navigating your own grief and the collective grief with compassion and that you are able to feel your feelings, allow the energy to move through you, and refrain from judgment of how you’re grieving and how you’re feeling.
Thanks for hanging in here with me. And please know that I’ve been thinking of you and holding you in my heart as we all navigate this, even when I’m not in touch as frequently.
In love and light,
The Connected Way™
P.S. If this is interesting to you and you’d like to learn more, Brene Brown did two amazing interview podcasts that are related to what I’ve shared here: one on grief with David Kessler, the foremost expert in grief and one on emotions with Dr. Marc Brackett, the director of the Center for Emotional Learning at Yale University. Both are fantastic resources.