by Barry Kerr and Kristine Gay
How good are you at managing your emotions? Pretty good? That might be a problem. In western culture, most of us have been handicapped by a profound misunderstanding of the function of emotions. In fact, emotional dysfunction is epidemic, even among the mentally bright and materially abundant.
Try this quiz:
- Which emotions are good and which are bad?
It’s a trick question. The truth is that emotions are neither good nor bad. They are really just energy moving through your body. Emotions give you information. Their ‘goodness” or “badness” are judgments you make, based on your beliefs. Emotional strength grows with a willingness to experience emotions in a non-judgmental way, free from the mental stories you attach to them.
- What’s the best way to get rid of undesired emotions?
It’s another trick question. Don’t “get rid” of any emotion. Emotions have a purpose and your attention to them is a natural requirement to your well being. It’s sort of like a sore ankle. You don’t just ignore it or wish it away. You pay attention, adjust your actions and let it heal.
By trying to get rid of certain emotions, you actually prolong them. Yes, it may seem that you manage your feelings successfully, avoiding pain, and it may get you through the current moment with some sense of stability, but unless you allow yourself to experience the energy of the emotion while it is actually running through your body, you will miss the opportunity of awareness that the emotion is inviting you to discover. Instead, the energy gets stored in your body in some pathological way, feeding a storyline or set of beliefs that can become a theme of negativity in your life. If the pattern is continued long enough, the otherwise natural and temporary bodily sensations associated with that emotional experience could evolve into chronic, mental and/or physical illness.
- What’s the best way to analyze emotions?
Trick, again. Analyzing emotions is not usually helpful and can actually perpetuate the emotional patterns. The path to emotional healing and resolution is not through the mind. Your mind only gives you what you already believe to be true, the same old stories you’ve been telling yourself all along, which recreate the same emotional experience over and over again.
Rather, the way to discovering the “truth” in your emotional experience is through your body. By relaxing your mind’s need for analysis and abstract, logical conclusions, you can bring your awareness to the visceral sensations that are actually happening in your body, here and now. Your body does not lie. It will always tell you the truth, not the “ultimate truth”, but the truth you live from, which may be very different than what you believe in your head. In fact, it is typically the unattended dissonance between your head truth and body truth that creates layers of additional emotional complications over time.
By the time people come to us for energy healing or transformational life coaching, they’ve already created decades of storylines, beliefs and layers upon layers of dissonance within themselves. This is normal in our society. Typically, clients are far removed from the events and conditions that originally precipitated their inner emotional patterns. The memories, if available at all, are clouded by the stories they’ve been telling themselves and others over the years. When emotions arise, they’ve trained themselves to neatly file each one into one of their stories or beliefs, thus avoiding the deeper experience that might allow healing.
In mind-body work, the aim is always to bring awareness and attention to the discomfort, to that which is out of sorts. It starts with bodily sensations like tightness, numbness, or pain. Modern medicine tends to encourage solutions that deaden or dull pain and bodily discomfort. Though at times this is often appropriate and even life saving, as a general approach to life, it is counterproductive. We need to feel that which our inner self is calling our attention to, that which hurts. It is useful information. Trying to get rid of it with anesthetic drugs or denial does not allow for deep and lasting healing, much less authentic living. A good coach can teach you a better way.
Barry Kerr, an evolutionary astrologer and certified life and relationship coach, and Kristine Gay, a licensed psychotherapist, own Choose Conscious Living in Madison. Both have extensive training in soul-guided, transformational healing of mind, body, heart and spiritual systems. They offer healing, coaching, therapy, mindfulness and astrology services for singles, couples and groups. For more information, visit http://www.ChooseConsciousLiving.com. Call or email for a free consultation and questions.