Slaying Emotional Dragons Drives Them Away–To Burn You Another Day
You’re going to think I’m nuts (if you don’t already think so!) but the way through a feeling is not to conquer it, or overcome it, or otherwise slay it with the usual Bizarro World tactics. They just don’t work. They’ve never worked, and yet that tends to be the go to approach. Why? It’s that Bizarro World belief that the energy of “winning” is its own best reward. It is, in a way. You get this fun hit of adrenaline that makes you swagger just a tad more, and a smug “I beat that sucker” pulse through your energy system. You you really digs this, and it’s one reason it can be so damn compelling to choose you over YOU. That hit can boost your immune system for (just) a moment and that jolt just feels so dang good—just like that first zip of caffeine after a few dreary days on decaf. But spending too much time zipping yourself on the adrenaline of slaying your feelings can make your system as jittery and unstable as five triple espresso shots in a row.
Oh the High of Being Right!
That quick hit of rightness (or righteousness, depending on the context) is no substitute for the steady satisfaction of actually having released a feeling, moved from fear to freedom rather than just fear to deeper, more muffled imprisonment and a swagger of having locked that pesky feeling up tight. When you shove a feeling away or vanquish it with your mighty “gotcha” sword, all you do is drive it underground, like the French Resistance during WW2. It causes that level of background havoc, too, labeled things like self-sabotage, or causing the same old pain or wall or resistance that has plagued you for years.
Remember, though, any feeling that keeps coming up is there to help you, to guide you, to warn you that something it deems unsafe is coming too close, even if what it believes is unsafe is you being left alone and thus unable to care for itself, even though you as the adult you are “know” that you have to get out of a relationships before you drown in someone else’s crap. To keep from having those nagging feelings even when you know you are doing the best thing for you (or, even more challenging, when you are not sure what the best thing is) there is a three-step process to help you work through and set the feelings free—let go of the limitations of you so that you can expand into YOU!
Step 1: LAP Dance—Love and Appreciation and Patience
You can’t love and appreciate effectively on the hurry-up. A shouted “thanks” as someone runs out the door with your only piece of toast just does not warm the heart, not to mention the belly. So this first step is two fold. You start by simply sitting with the feeling—don’t try to analyze it or find the root or justify it or talk it down (how do you like it when someone does that to you??? Yeah, thought so.) Just keep it company. By doing that you are letting it know that you are (finally!) paying attention, which is really what it wants—remember it has been coming back again and again in order to help you. So just sit with it, and as you do, begin to let to know that you love and appreciate it for trying to help you, guide you, protect you, etc. Some people do this with words, some with emotional energy, or other ways, play around to find what works best for you. Be patient, and keep doing this until you feel it begin to trust you and respond.
Step 2: Set it Free
The reason this feeling keeps pestering you, if you recall from this past POST, is that it wants to be free, and it wants you and YOU to be free. So once you have LAP-ed it enough that it gets that you care about it and not just your own impatient self, the next step is to invite it (not force it or run it off or drop it off a cliff) to be free. Simply let it know that you set it free, that its work is done and appreciated. Sometimes it goes right away sometimes it takes a while, especially if you are new at this and your body has not yet built up a trust that you won’t start ignoring it again. Stay with this step until you get some movement, even if it has not completely gone.
Step 3: Dig Deeper
Ask if there is anything beneath this feeling that this feeling has been covering or protecting. Often a more surface feeling provides a shield so that you don’t feel something much more scary beneath. But in this slow, attentive process, allowing a feeling, sensation or impression of some sort to come up in a non-threatening situation, gives you the opportunity to be with it, feel it, LAP it, and let it go, too, to an even deeper level of being. If something does come up, go through the steps again—and again—until nothing more comes up, or until you cannot continue for some reason. Whenever you stop, and for whatever reason, be sure to thank your body and the feelings for playing with you that way.
Oh, and the icing on the feeling cake is to imagine filling all the spaces that have risen and released with a beautiful, golden light, or whatever color light feels most like love, wholeness and connection to you.
So how to you play today? You do this process, of course. I know you saw that coming my honey-laced bran muffin. When a feeling comes up in a place where this is practical for you, go through the process and see where it takes you. Why? Because when you go through the LAP dance and set feelings free in this way, they really are free, not just locked in a deeper prison where they will continue to poke you. Not as sexy as slaying them with some sort of Bizarro World sword, but much more sensual, gentle, and amazingly real.
Then send this post to ten of your friends so you can all LAP dance together!