So, I mentioned in my previous blog post that coeliac (and other digestive problems) and neck pain can be linked to the emotion guilt, which is comprised of Fear, Anger and Sorrow. I highlighted the need to express rather than repress these emotions, so that they are released from the body rather than stored. But how does one actually go about this?
Here are some ideas; each example can be used and adapted for any and all emotions. With thanks to the guidance of Dina Mouton who shared the below teachings with me.
Firstly, simply acknowledging the emotion is a great step. Repeating “I am afraid” or “I have fear” until something comes to you about what exactly it is you are scared of. This may come in a symbol or a feeling in the body or words, it doesn’t matter which. If nothing comes then it is also enough to just acknowledge the fear. So, next visualise the thing that has come to you, or if there was nothing, then visualise the fear itself. You can visualise it as little caterpillars crawling, or a knotted rope or perhaps a chain – whatever works for you.
Notice how it feels in the body to have this fear present. Are you tense or relaxed? Are there any feelings of tightness? Breathe into the body, paying particular attention to where you can feel the fear. Then visualise the caterpillars turning into butterflies and flying away, or the knots unravelling and falling away or the chains breaking and falling off the body.
Repeat to yourself “Let Go, Let Go, Let Go.” Rest in awareness for as long as you need to.
My danseyoga teacher, Dina says that anger connects us to our innermost strength and to deny or repress anger is to weaken ourselves. She made it clear that we must not put anger onto others or direct it at ourselves, but to feel it until we can actually enjoy it. Usually anger scares me and makes me very uncomfortable. Other peoples and my own but now I realise I was always hiding from it rather than connecting with it to allow it to transform. So, to let it out what can we do?
Well, one day I found myself hitting the floor, with all my force, repeatedly with a big drum stick whilst laughing. Ever punched a pillow whilst smiling at the same time? That is finding joy in the frustration of anger until it is no longer the destructive force of anger but is transformed into a source of laughter, of play.
Every time we stop ourselves from feeling sorrow and push it down, without allowing it to come up, we create stress and tension in the body which can lead to illness and pain. There is nothing wrong with crying, or with sorrow. Crying actually releases toxins and also endorphins which is why we tend to feel cleansed after a good old weep.
Movement of the body is also a fantastic way to release emotions. On the farm I am staying at the minute, there is a huge space dedicated to yoga, dance and music. Perfect! So, I have been exploring movement through dance. I’ve found this to be so helpful because it takes me out of my head and into my body, rather than telling myself stories, I just feel whatever comes and express it. Ways to feel sorrow through the body could be to explore how it feels to “cry” with different parts of the body. Taking some time and a space to move through the air in whichever way feels right for you. Music can be used too, for example drumming as though our hands are weeping into the skin of the drum. Or head banging to heavy metal if that’s your style, there are many ways!
Kahlil Gibran wrote a beautiful poem on Joy and Sorrow which you can read here.
If you are really struggling, remember there is always support out there. Visit the Samaritans site here.
And please comment below if you have any useful ways of releasing emotions or if you just want to share your own experiences 🙂