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Embracing The Flame

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

Our emotions are messengers. They bring with them information that needs our attention, often screaming out to be heard. Yet we have gotten into a habit of suppressing them. To brush away our tears, calling them silly. Swallowing what is bubbling inside of us, not wanting to seem embarrassing by getting ‘emotional’ and ‘burdening’ a friend with what we have been struggling with. Sometimes emotions are pretty intense and we use a number of successful but maladaptive ways to distract and pull ourselves away from them.


Society has built into us a ‘keep calm and carry on’ mentality which has us abjectly looking outwards, ignoring what is going on inside. It’s like our emotions are there knocking gently on a door asking us for some attention, but we push them aside because we are too busy or it’s just too much “I can’t right now”. The problem is that they start knocking louder and louder, and when we still don’t listen they persist and eventually enlist the help of illness and injury to get us to slow down and listen.


This is exactly how our nervous system works, without telling you how the nervous system works.


So, what to do? Well, here are some simple tips that you might want to feel out (lol):

  1. Understand that it is ok to feel. It is a normal, necessary physiological response, so ask yourself, what made you believe that it isn’t ok to feel? How far back does it go? See your younger self in your minds eye, what would you tell them now?

  2. Understand that there is no shame in feeling any of our emotions. For example, anger is often viewed as a taboo emotion, unfairly associated with negativity, aggression, or lack of control. In truth, it's a flame within us—a powerful and essential force that deserves understanding and acceptance. It is an instinctive response signalling that our boundaries have been crossed, our values challenged, or our needs unmet. It's not a flaw or a weakness but a vital aspect of our emotional toolkit which when harnessed can drive necessary change, protect and liberate.

  3. Give your feelings the space to be seen. Check in with yourself each morning. Notice the emotions you are holding. Instead of trying to suppress them, breath in some space around them. Go gently with this, and if they get too intense then notice the ground beneath you, the seat holding you, the environment around you and take a break. Acknowledge that these emotions have been there within you likely for some time and that you are safe, and that when you are ready to, you can come back to them.

  4. Get curious. Focussing on one at a time, ask the emotions - what do they want you to know? It can be easy at this point to get back in our heads and start mulling over everything that has made us upset and angry recently as an answer, but this is where we go wrong. Come back to the emotion you are feeling in your body, sit with it, and explore it a little longer.

  5. Explore your triggers. You can also take these steps when you feel triggered. We usually know we have been triggered when we feel an overwhelming physical response that feels out of context to the situation. We can feel overwhelmed. anxious or angry, but with some exploring we may find that there is an underlying emotion, to these feelings. The underlying emotion presents us clues to what we are actually reacting to, and it is usually something from the past. When we are able to identify the story behind our triggers we have the power to shift them through this increased awareness.

It is important to note that not all of us will be able to readily access the emotions held in our bodies. Those who have experienced trauma which has made the body and its emotions feel unsafe to reconnect to, would need to be supported by a trauma-informed therapist who could provide a safe container to gently re-introduce this space again.


So, go gently with yourself. Honour that these emotions may have been held by your body for some time, acknowledge that they have been trying to get you to listen, and have compassion for the ways they have been trying to get your attention, and how you have been attempting to manage them.



Embrace the flame within you, and let it be a guide towards authenticity, boundary-setting, and the path to a more emotionally liberated existence.


“Healing happens not just with an intellectual recognition, but when the person’s emotional experience arises and when the person can be with those original emotions with the insight of the adult. That’s the process of healing.” Sat Dharam (Compassionate Inquiry)


Warmest wishes,


Monica


P.S. I will be releasing something soon to help bring you some balance and grounding not only during these disheartening times but as we move into the silly season. For a whole bunch of reasons it can leave us overwhelmed and we can lose our compass. I have written up a resource that I hope will assist you in navigating this time and beyond.


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