Friday, May 13, 2011

90 Seconds to Release

“Despite our fear of certain feelings, it is feeling each of them all the way through that lands us in the vibrant ache that underrides our being alive. To reach this vibrant place is often healing.” -- Mark Nepo

Life has been crazy full lately with all sorts of brilliant and shiny adventures. It’s all good, as they say. My body, however, seemed to indicate otherwise. Even amidst healthy eating, plenty of sleep and regular exercise, last week my body declared a moratorium on health. I came down with an icky cold “out of nowhere.” So, I slowed down (sort of), paid attention (with soft focus) and listened (perhaps with one ear.) Actually, I kept going – only doing the “essential” things, of course – until my body said, “Excuse me. I’d like your FULL awareness NOW.”


So, Wednesday, I woke up and I cried. Buckets. I finally let go and quit trying to analyze things and figure them out. I pushed my favorite “should” to the background – (“You should know better.”) – and just let myself be. I slowed down and got quiet. I lit a candle, played the Cistercian monks on iTunes, raged in my journal for awhile, sobbed into my pillow, wailed a little more, then went to my scheduled spiritual direction appointment where I sat with a wise listener who let me cry some more. (I hope you’re not distracted by what might have brought me to this state, because that’s not really the point… but I do appreciate your concern.)

If you’re asking what is the point, well, I just needed to let my emotions be. While I have a general idea where some of the angst arises (e.g. my mother died on Mother’s Day seven years ago and I tend to mentally forget this), the point was my body was giving me all sorts of signals that I needed a little grieving time. Again? Yes. Still? Absolutely.

We are such amazing creations and my new favorite mantra is “The body doesn’t lie.” Who would have thought that buckets of tears, some lament music, a gentle hot yoga session and ultimately oral surgery would provide the prescription to returning to my normal-feeling self? Counterintuitive, huh? Nonetheless, my blockage – both nasal and otherwise – seem to be on the pathway to clearness after following just that plan.

Brain scientist, stroke survivor and author, Jill Bolte Taylor offers that it takes only 90 seconds for the chemical release and physiological response of an emotion to be triggered, surge through our body and be completely flushed out of our bloodstream. We have a choice as to whether we mentally hold onto the pain and allow it to further poison our system, or allow ourselves the cleansing benefit of fully experiencing the surge when it arises. Wednesday I allowed my grief to expand and flow through me. It’s definitely harder than it sounds, but one of the reasons I’m recording this memory is perhaps next time, I’ll mentally get to this knowledge sooner and my body won’t have to pull out all the stops to slow me down when an uncomfortable emotion arises again. I’ve come to learn there’s nothing linear about life. We don’t get to grieve or forgive or cry, be angry or laugh just once and then be done. Life is a cyclical process that turns back on itself again and again as onward we go!

Is there an intense feeling you’ve been avoiding? Will you allow yourself 90 seconds of pure emotion today? Go ahead, throw rocks into the ocean. Crank up the blues music. Dance with abandon until your toes tingle with joy. Think about it.

17 comments:

tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

This post really resonates with me.

Kel said...

it is wonderful wisdom - listening to our bodies - i have heard myself say "the body never lies" to several people in the past week

so this morning I wrote a blessing about it, posted, then saw the link on my blog to yours and what you had shared

congratulations on taking the time you needed to let things process through you

may we all get better at listening to the whispers, so we don't have to be shouted at ;-)

lucy said...

hey tink - good to see you! any particular resonation?

lucy said...

kel - i love the idea of writing a blessing to it!! i'm so delighted to have you here. i've really been out of blogland lately and i miss my peeps!! xo

Kay said...

i love your willingness to share your heart. and tears and snot etc. i honestly don't know why we hold pain in so long. i guess it feels oddly helpful in there. makes us think about what we have put away. as you say, then what about getting it out? that's the tricky part. i have lately taken time to do this also. once the tears were out, it took a good dose of 'modern family' to laugh me into a better emotional state. go figure.

Dianna Woolley said...

This post is.....yummy, I think for me to read. It is so filled with truth, honesty, love and heart, along with sadness, grief, sorrow - whatever labels..are they all the same emotion?

To share with your readers the thoughts they would never expect from you is a true blessing of your spiritual nature. Love you!

lucy said...

kay - whatever it takes!! i can't quite get the arithmetic of what is holding in and what just builds back up over time. nonetheless, it seems like there's usually something to be released to make room for more something :)

lucy said...

hey dw - not sure why they wouldn't expect those emotions from me... it takes the whole spectrum to experience life FULLY - don't ya think? like i told kay, you gotta do a lot of clearing out to make room for all this joy :) xoxoox

Sue said...

"Who would have thought that buckets of tears, some lament music, a gentle hot yoga session and ultimately oral surgery would provide the prescription to returning to my normal-feeling self? Counterintuitive, huh?"

No, not at all. The body has its own wisdom. Finally, I am in a place where I can really hear and feel that wisdom and not push it down, the way I needed to because of the childhood I grew up in. It's a delight, and a joy. I love having access to that "second brain" that resides in the place that gives us those "gut feelings".

How good does it feel to, be able to listen to that stuff and listen to its wisdom. It's a beautiful thang! :)

Sue said...

PS: Of course, my comment may have sounded like I have all of this stuff down pat.

Which is completely, and entirely, not the case :)

lucy said...

sue - do you think we ever really get it all down pat? sometimes i try to convince myself i do and it ALWAYS backfires big time. so, i just keep learning how to listen in new ways and from different angles - the possibilities are infinite!!! :)

Sue said...

Yeah, sometimes I try to convince myself too. It's a way of trying to get a bit of distance on what is pretty scary stuff sometimes. But yeah ... when I think I'm *there*, then I fall on my arse a week later, haha :)

Lovely to think about all the different shimmery angles ... diamondlike :)

Karen said...

This is something that I learned last summer...and then forgot...and then relearned...and forgot again. Most of us were conditioned from a very young age to not feel what we feel--perhaps even told that we don't feel what we feel. So given how many years we've lived that teaching, it's no wonder that we have to keep reminding ourselves of the healing that comes from moments of pure feeling. This is a good post to help us all remember...

Sue said...

"...perhaps even told that we don't feel what we feel."

No wonder it's so easy to forget this stuff. It was cool, though, that reading this sentence resonated so much that I felt it pinging all over my second chakra area :)

Abbey of the Arts said...

Love this quote and this post. xoxo

Jacqui du Rocher said...

Thank you so much for sharing this - it really helps me. After a year, in fact years, of stress-filled living I have been struck down with M.E. and am really struggling to listen to what my body is saying, ie stop, rest, go gently...... And as for listening to my feelings about it all, well that is something else altogether. So thank you again, there is lots for me to ponder.
Love, Jacqui x

lucy said...

hi jacqui - i'm so glad this post resonated with you. i never mean for my posts to be "commercials", but sometimes a response tugs at my heart in such a way, i just like to offer a word that i really feel called to ponder alongside others! if you have any interest in personal coaching and/or listening around this, please let me know.
many blessings to you!

www.diamondsinthesoul.com