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It’s 2:00 a.m. I can’t sleep because I’m pleading with myself, restless, on top of my sheets.
I’m trying to feel my feelings in my body, but I’m simply flooded by my own self-pitying cocktail. “Why do I feel so stuck in my life?”
I scream inside, “Because I am, I am stuck, that’s why! I feel terribly stuck and suffocated and restricted and hopeless in this moment. Why does nothing ever change? I’m trying. Why am I still here at this awful place in my life? When is this suffering going to end?!”
I’ve been here, thousands of times. I’m guessing you have too. It’s totally human, and we all feel this way more often than we realize.
How do we get unstuck, unfrozen, out of the land of despair, and into the green pastures of hopefulness again? There’s a golden truth turned into practice that has helped me out of the darkest of holes and the gooiest of emotional jams.
That main pillar of truth is that feeling your feelings fully, without judgement, with relaxed attention in the body, is the alchemy of transformation.
It is the living, breathing practice of “Know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free.” Allowing yourself to do this is the experience of holding space.
So what’s the process like? I mean the real nitty-gritty in our body and mind?
1. Ask yourself: who is the voice that is saying it’s stuck?
It’s your wounded smaller self, our frail human ego, that wants to stay in a place of victimhood, sorry-ness for itself, or chaotic confusion because taking the next step is unknown and scary. No judgement on any of these. It’s simply a human experience to move through. Right now.
You “integrate” whenever you simply choose to allow the process of holding space. Realize this is the first step. Make peace with the truth that these overwhelming feelings are simply the smaller you that is choosing to feel stuck right now. It’s honestly doing it’s job by creating its own limitations from a place of lack, protection, and baseline fear. It’s most likely creating resistance messages and emotions to keep you stunned and confused, because on a deep yet simple level, there is always fear trying to protect itself. Once you accept this truth you can go on to the next step.
2. Allow yourself to sit there and listen to the feelings.
First observe thoughts like a scientist watching an animal, and then soften to a tender parent watching a small child. Your thoughts are the mental broadcast of feelings, and if you watch the thoughts, they’ll take you right to the feeling in your body.
Feel with the power of your attention in your body where any movement is coming from. E-motion is energy in motion, so by simply taking inventory of the emotion in your body wherever you can feel it, you will connect to the energy, and that is where you want to be.
Once there, stay relaxed in your attention and breathe as deeply as you need to to stay there in the feeling. It’s like you’re sitting in the fire but not getting burned, allowing the fire to rage while you free fall into the flames.
Once you feel it and feel immersed in its energy, pay attention to what it might be saying. Then you can begin to talk to it like a child, and tell it you are here to listen to what it needs to say, to please forgive you for not holding space for it until now, and tell it that once it expresses what it needs to, it can be released to the frequency of love. (In whatever form you wish— this is where it becomes a more transcendent spiritual experience of healing.)
3. Sit like a flower soaking up the sunshine of this healing experience.
Energy will be moving in your body, you will most likely be releasing emotion that you can and cannot explain. You don’t need an explanation, by the way. Let mystery be there! So if there are tears, sounds, feelings coming out and through you, it’s all good. Sit there, feel it with your gentle focus in your body, and allow it to move. Allow peaceful energy to then come down through you and settle in your body. You will most likely feel a physical sense of relief, and you may be pleasantly surprised with some seemingly magical insight.
4. Congratulations. You just held space for yourself like a Jedi Master.
You didn’t logic your way out of it, or force yourself to stay positive, or continue to keep yourself shut down in the depths of despair. You allowed yourself to reframe, observe, hold space, feel, interact with the feeling, let things move, and finally transmute to settle.
You should feel in a better place now. The next step on how to move forward in your life now has space to appear, so stay in the space of inner listening and know you are never stuck, things always change, you are your own best guide, and allow space for it all to move so the next step can come to you.
Change isn’t hard; it simply takes a greater capacity for allowing, holding space. What’s hard is the resistance, and luckily we always have power to help ourselves through it.