July 19, 2013

Emotions Can Take the Breath Away: Let Them.

I sink into some emotions uncomfortably. I don’t always soar gracefully through a storm.

Instead, I do summersaults and let my emotions take my breath away. I am left feeling paralyzed.

The good news is, this last batch of triggers taught me a few things about myself.

“Our emotions—regardless of the triggers—are expression of ourselves. Uncomfortable emotions let us know there is a problem to attend to, a wound for us to work on, thus allowing us to see our own truth. Whenever an emotion gets triggered, it is the opportune moment to ask questions such as:

What is this about?

What agreement is at the heart of this?

What attachment does this threaten?

Do I really believe this?

Is it important?

Answering these questions gives us the opportunity to examine our beliefs and choose whether or not to continue to believe.”

~ don Miguel Ruiz Jr., The Five Levels of Attachment.

What do some of my triggers look like?

Driving and getting lost triggers anxiety and fear.

Harsh words spoken can set me into a panic.

Being unheard or misunderstood and I find myself gulping for air.

Overthinking, projecting, implying and reacting to someone else’s words leaves me in my head and my limbs go numb.

Overall, anxiety is evil. I know, I’m not supposed to pass judgment and just let it rise, but with any new skill it takes practice.

I’m learning to recognize my primary default and change the patterns to adjust accordingly.

What’s it all about?

A recent set of triggers happened in a domino-effect over the last week. The mounting emotional upheaval once again reminded me to:

Stop. Look. Listen.

What triggers me, probably won’t trigger you in the same way. Thankfully we are unique otherwise we would have been sharing carpet space, sprawled facedown sobbing together.

What’s going on inside during a trigger?

I channeled my feelings through a wonky process of recognizing my anxiety, fear and hurt….I danced around similar to stepping on a hornets nest. I was at the tip of an iceberg tobogganing through an avalanche. Initially, I was swerving off course to try and outrun the cascading effects. The last trigger was really a catalyst to face something deeper:

Hurt, anger and then the real culprits surfaced: sadness and loss.

The chain reaction of events touched into a segment of my heart and opened wide another door of awareness. It exposed incongruent feelings of how I normally react versus how I want to react.

I am changing.

More Insight: Words have power. Use it wisely.

I tend to lash out when I feel threatened or upset. My journal is a delightful place to vent and tone down my words. Sometimes though what I share still needs more refinement. I’m a bit blunt.

During the last week the final lightning bolt of self-realization set off an internal wildfire.

The universe has this unique way of grabbing my attention. It etches at my stubborn calluses with a diamond edged file. It holds a mirror to my fearful alibis. 

I unsuccessfully staged a coup and I gallantly fought hard to protect the releasing pillage of surfacing emotions. I unleashed a legion of lions and after I exhausted myself with rage.

I noticed deep hurt and sadness the tender catfish belly sides of my heart.

I needed to surrender another mask.

I don’t cry pretty. I suffer from major-puffy-eyed-grotesque-tissue-snot–hell. I had a massive headache and one nostril remained stuffy for 24-hours.

And now….

What I see changing, is several people are willing to talk it through with me. They aren’t running away but staying! It isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it. The courage and vulnerability created on both sides, leads to growth.

The boundaries are being defined in a gentle yet solid way. This is new to me. My old ways don’t work. New ways are intimidating and also extremely encouraging. I am stretching further away from the old patterns and creating new ones. I’m seeing my patterns for what they were and letting go.

A mutual apology, kind words, an honest dialogue with acknowledgement, clarifying misunderstandings and identifying mixed messages. It is so healing when there’s a willingness to practice open and safe communication.

It is a far cry from the usual punt, block and run. This is incredible. I’m facing the fears of confrontation with people willing to walk the talk and find resolution.

There’s little irony this lesson has come up several times during Mercury’s retrograde. It has given me another valuable opportunity to revisit, review and relearn better ways to communicate.

I like this new way. It’s hard and I have to be open to new but it’s real and I’m growing.

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Ed: Sara Crolick

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