19. Releasing Feelings 101

September 22, 2015
Barbara Cook

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based on my journal entries, still on February 23, 2015

Last Friday’s blog post finished with “Once at home, I release the feelings that have obviously been bubbling to the surface today.”

Releasing the feelings’ – that sounds like an interesting concept, doesn’t it?

But how do you do it?

From my experience there’s a number of ways this has happened for me.

Mind you, this firstly requires an awareness and acknowledgement that there are actually feelings there! I spent many years ignoring them, denying them, rationalizing them by burying them over with thoughts, bottling them up, distracting myself from them, and running away from them. Eventually I learned to give myself permission to sit with them, to allow them, to surrender to them.

It seems to me that there are feelings stored in the very cells of my body. I don’t even know they’re there. Quite simply, I don’t want them trapped there forever. I don’t want to be attached to them. I certainly don’t want to keep unconsciously acting them out in the world, which is the inevitable result of not knowing they’re there in the first place. I’m keen and willing to see what they are, and allow the locked energy behind them to be released.

So, here we go: Releasing Feelings 101:

Sometimes it’s happened by simply recognizing and naming the feeling. One long ago time I remembered asking myself, ‘There’s something going on here with this person. It feels a bit erky and stuck … What is that feeling?… ’ I tuned in. ‘Oh, it’s jealousy. I’m feeling jealous of her.’ I was willing and keen to let go of this feeling. As soon as I named it to myself, it disappeared. Released. Gone. I’m no longer holding that forbidden secret inside myself, that resentful feeling which takes quite a lot of energy to hide, but is, I’m sure, totally visible to anyone with an ounce of intuition.

Often I need help identifying a feeling that’s hidden underneath my thoughts. This happens in various ways:

  • When I go to counselling, which I do whenever I know I’m stuck. Going to see a therapist is now as natural to me as going to the doctor.
  • It can also happen if I’m talking to a dear friend, sharing some recent incident or other. I am so, so lucky to have a few precious friends who are, like me, not into simply bitching, blaming and venting. We’ll be listening, witnessing and commenting back and forth, and in there somewhere will be some grains of truth, where I instantly recognize and name a feeling I didn’t know was there. Or she names it, and I go, ‘Yeah! That’s it! Exactly.’ As soon as it’s named, it’s somehow released. Gone.
  • I remember debriefing to a team leader at work about something distressing that had just happened, which had left me shaken and confused. He listened intently as I blathered away, then calmly summed it up by saying, ‘You were feeling threatened.’ “Yes! That’s it!” I said. Acknowledged. Gone. Released. Thank you.
  • The same thing happens whenever I write in my journal. I was introduced to the joys of journaling by a therapist back in the 80s. It’s like a stream of consciousness, pouring out onto the page without censoring. journal 1I made a whole collection of beautiful fabric-covered journals for myself a number of years ago, but there are tons of delicious-looking journals for sale now that are perfect repositories for our inner worlds.

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As I’m writing, my thoughts cover the page, and in there somewhere will appear the grain of truth, the underlying feeling. ‘Yes. That’s it. That’s exactly it.’ Then I don’t have to keep acting that out unconsciously in the world.

It’s acknowledged, then gone, released.

 

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