Today I am delighted to introduce Jodi Lobozzo Aman. Jodi is a counselor with a mindful approach to her work. Her writing is lovely. I so appreciate how offers simple ways of healing that we can incorporate into our everyday life. She has a beautiful heart and I am delighted to know her. Today Jodi is writing about allowing ourselves to feel. This is truly how we heal — we allow ourselves to feel what is happening in our bodies — in a skillful way — with compassion and spaciousness.
Life happens. And we experience ups and downs. The downs can be daunting. We experience the loss of a friend or rejection of a lover and feel pain in our hearts. Panic sets in as we fear the painful feeling and what it might mean to our life. Soon, we begin to judge ourselves for feeling pain “too much” or “too long,” or not handling it the “right” way. To make matters worse, we feel shame and self blame, and this all to often has us isolate ourselves, compounding the loneliness.
Allow yourself to feel!
When we suffer, stories fly through our head, stories about what happened, why it happened, who’s fault it was, etc. We are figuring it all out, making meaning around it, trying to find sense in it, and obsessing with it.
In a way these stories keep us thinking our feelings instead of feelings our feelings.
On the other hand, we can ignore the problem, pay no attention to it and fill our attention up with other things that falsely promise us a sense of worth: i.e., unfulfilling relationships, food, video games, etc.
We do anything to keep away from the “feeling.” Then we don’t have to see the worthlessness, we don’t have to feel the loneliness. We are trying to keep ourselves away from ourselves to protect us from the pain. We find out sooner or later that these are false protections. We spend so much of our lives running away from feelings, thinking that they will hurt or there is something wrong with them. Yet, we are suffering through it all.
An unfelt, unresolved feeling, especially one we judge to be pathological can reek havoc on our emotions, our relationships, and our identity. If we don’t feel, we are cheating ourselves of the relief of finishing the feeling. In a way, the feeling is chasing us, merely one step behind, keeping us moving, fighting, going in a perpetual state of stress since we cannot let down our guards lest it catch up.
How would our lives be different if we just allowed ourselves to feel?
One of the most powerful things you can do for healing is to allow yourself to feel.
It is never as bad as we assumed. The running is so much worse. Trying to figure out who it is to blame is so much worse. We hurt ourselves in the guise of protecting. The actual feeling is easy compared to how the story about it has and is making us suffer.
So find a quiet spot, close your eyes. And see where the feeling is in your body. See what it looks like, what shape it is, the texture. Get the story about the feeling out of your mind (practice, when the story comes back, gently-without judgment- remind yourself to let it go again). Pretend you have a folding chair and you are sitting in it looking at your body with this shape wherever it is. You have no idea what it means but at the same time you are feeling it fully. Now, breathe into that shape. Imagine your breath as healing light. Take three breaths and then ask the you in the chair what it looks like. Not what you think about it, but just what your observations are. How does that change? Does it get less dense, does the shape change? Is it getting lighter? Keep trying to feel it fully, repeating the three breaths, and observing what happens to the feeling. Until it is all gone.
Get a ten minute recording of this meditation: Two Minutes To Peace
See, it is not as bad as you thought? Do you feel better?
Jodi Lobozzo Aman is a human being on the path to spiritual wholeness. Her blog Heal Now and Forever Be In Peace. is an invitation for you to join her journey. She is a psychotherapist, spiritual director, and life coach, helping people open to new ways of healing and being. Her free e-book What IS UP With Your DOWN? Being Grateful in 7 Easy Steps is available on her website.
THANK YOU, Jodi, for sharing your wisdom with us!
Lisa A. McCrohan
MA, LCSW-C, RYT
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