Anger, fear, anxiety, sadness and jealousy… As "good people," we are not supposed to feel these emotions. So we read, go shopping or indulge in food and drink to try and escape them.
Or we try to self-improve and ommmm our way out of them, with a “fix it now” attitude.
Why? In my case, I have this fixation that to be a a really spiritual person, I can’t feel negative things. Childish I know, but this thought is actually quite common.
After a few years of Reiki practice where non-judgment and non-labeling are paramount, I’ve become more accepting... and more real. It is not—after all—about having or not having these feelings; it’s about how we react to them. They are a source of energy and if accessed and harnessed correctly, they can actually work in our favor.
How can we do that? Here are a few suggestions that worked for me:
- FACE IT: The more we fight or run away from our negative feelings, the more power they have over us. Facing them is a scary thought, but once you do and see how short lived they are, it gets easier.
Are you angry, scared or very sad? Sit on a chair, feet on the ground, with a straight back. Connect with the feeling. Observe where it’s located in your body. Breathe through it. Don’t try to reason it away, justify it or make it better. Feel the pain going through your body, feel how it peaks, cry if you need and then observe how… it fades away. Observe how your body feels lighter, how your thinking feels clearer. Celebrate with a warm cup of herbal tea!
- GROUND IT: When we feel fear or anger, it’s almost like the feeling takes over our head: our thoughts spiral away, we become hyper excited and do things we may not be proud of afterwards.
Time to get grounded. Whenever negative feelings take over your thinking, sit down in a chair, feet firmly planted on the ground with a straight back. Locate the feeling in your body (probably in your upper torso, neck or head area). Imagine it has a color and a word that describes it. Stay with it for just a few seconds. Then start dragging it down. If it’s in your head, lower it to your heart and observe how it feels there. Then lower it to your solar plexus. Observe the difference. Lower it once more, this time to a couple inches below the navel. Observe how it has lost most of its high, crazy vibration and it’s settling down. Keep your attention to the navel area, inhale and then exhale the feeling (with its color and name) to the earth through your root chakra. Breathe deeply and freely. And voilá!
*During this exercise it’s important not to react to your feelings and leave the chair. Stay with it, no matter what.
- SHAKE IT OUT: This one is pretty easy and pretty effective. The idea is to release the excess energy caused by stress and anxiety to regain your balance. Stand up, feet hip distance apart. Shake your right leg, then your left leg. Now shake your right arm, your left arm and then both arms together. Shake your head at the same time. Fold down, letting your torso swing while you shake your arms, shoulders and hands. Then stop, breathe deeply in and out. On the second inhale, come up to a standing position. How does that feel? A lot better, right?
I'm always experimenting on ways to connect and process feelings and ideas. If you have any modality or tip on how to do it, I would love to hear about it in the comment section :-)
Nathalie Jaspar is the co-founder at Natky927 Wellness Collective, and a Reiki Master/Practitioner based in New York City. You can reach her at email@example.com
Photo credit: "Outre Songer" by Argentine surrealist painter Leonor Fini (1907-1996).