“I am free to feel my feelings”
Say this thought to yourself little and often throughout the day.
Information and knowledge are useful. Putting these into action is even more useful. Committing to doing this action one, three, or ten times a day – then you’ll really start to notice the benefits.
As many of you know, one of Alexander’s major discoveries about us mammals is that the relationship between the head and spine govern the coordination of the rest of us. Yes – all of us! Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – we don’t separate – its all one thing – our Self.
What’s in my diary today…. the Easter Duck Race in the Porter Valley
Today, in a parallel universe not far away, I would have been walking down to the local park with a clutch of tickets in my hand, with a bet on a few yellow ducks hoping to win a prize in the raffle. I might have wished for a Meal Out for Two in a lovely local restaurant, or Cinema tickets, or a free Massage. I would have raced and chased the ducks, calling out for number 675 with my son!
I would have enjoyed each and any of these small moments of simple joy.
The event itself is an annual ritual where a few thousdand plastic ducks get released into the stream and race down towards the finish line just beyond the cafe in Endcliffe Park. People stand on the river banks, kids wade in the river with sticks to help chivvy the ducks along, there is an amazingly loud smell of wild garlic which is freshly growing and squashed underfoot. There is a hushed silence when the race begins, cheers as they go under bridges and get hoiked out from under roots and a lot of chatting when people meet friends, family and colleagues along the route.
There is a huge rush of thousands of people trying to see their lucky ducky over the finish line and walking downstream together.
But wait – that was last year, and the year before, and the 10 years before that for me.
This year is very different, of course. The race is cancelled and no one asked me how that would be for me? No one asked if I’d mind, or if we should rearrange. My feelings and needs were not directly considered in this decision making process. I love consideration.
And I don’t really expect its personal. It’s understandable, of course it got cancelled, and my heart gets a little squeezed as I really love this local event and am missing the punctuation it brings to my year. It would have fallen on my birthday too.
The facts are obvious, hard decisions get made, and then what?
What can I do?
All I can ever really do is to consider my response. Sometimes there is an emotional reaction – the small heart-squeeze of disappointment and grief this time. I’ve lost this dream, I’ve lost the rhythm of my year normally heralded by this event and being amongst so many local people.
I could just brush it off, swallow it down, harden something and just pretend it doesn’t matter.
Do you ever do this? Do you know what a cost this has on your body-mind-emotional system?
If we don’t feel the full range of our emotions and shut down our ability to tolerate some of them, it narrows the range of all of our feelings. If we can’t feel sad – we restrict the availability for joy to the same degree. We can hold back tears, and stop ourselves from feeling, distract ourselves, numb ourselves, veg-out and to do these, we need to add some muscle tension to stop the natural flow of sensations and movements from moving through us.
I have strongly experienced this in myself that when I try and stop myself from feeling something, I have to clench and tense something in my muscles in order ‘not to feel’. I don’t like this, as there is often, no Always, a payback time – when I get overwhelemd, when I sob at TV adverts, when I get unwell and exchausted. I try not to let myself acrue a tension-bill and instead allow my emotions to travel through me freely.
When I remember the Duck Race is cancelled, instead I can choose to stop and really let the sensations arise in my body. First a tightness and squeeze around my heart, then as I let myself just be, it changes and some warmth spreads lower into my tummy. Now a lump rises in my throat. I wait and watch. As I let these sensations arise with a kind curiosity and a fullness to my head and torso, there is movement again. My breath is a bit ragged, and a fuller-deeper breath arrives in me – it clears something within me. A tear leaks from the corner of one eye.
I renew my attention to the whole of me, invite myself to unclench, allow myself to return to my fullness in all directions.
The wave of grief, gentle and full, has travelled through me. I am unharmed. I am OK. I am alive and feeling a range of natural sensations which we recognise as emotions. I’m free to let my emotions be, and move me, and move through me.
“I have time to think and choose”
It isn’t always easy to let emotions travel through us. Grief particularly enjoys being accompanied, witness and held with kind attention.
Have you had a good cry recently?
Can you sit and let yourself feel without trying to change your experience?
How do you attend to the backlog of unexpressed, or unfelt emotions?
Who do you have in your life who can help you?