Right now I am trying to allow myself to feel pain. Whether it be a ‘real’ physical pain, pain at the world around me, painful memories, anything that is uncomfortable….I am allowing it. I am trying very hard not to suppress it, not to cover it up with positive affirmations – they can come later.
I recently came across a wonderful technique devised by Thich Nhat Hanh, and recently discussed by Chris Grosso http://www.elephantjournal.com/author/chris-grosso/ in his blog for The Elephant Journal http://www.elephantjournal.com/ I would like to share this technique with you:
1. The moment you become aware of negative thoughts and/or emotions surfacing, allow yourself to feel them, acknowledge them, greet them, and sit with them for a while.
2. Get clear and real about what is causing the discomfort, a physical pain? Fear of the future? Pain from past actions or events? It could be anything, it doesn’t matter, just get curious about what it is and where it’s coming from.
3. Then identify the specific feelings and sensations arising in you as a result of these thoughts, tight chest? Do you feel faint, anxious? Stomach upset, again it could be anything related to the thoughts, but what are they? Again get clear.
4. Now is the time to get deep into it, all the sensations, all the images, all the visions and manifestations caused by the pain, by the uncomfortable thoughts, allow yourself to really feel the pain, get intimate with it. This can be tough, one of the toughest stages of this technique because our natural instinct is to stuff the pain down, not nurse it and examine it.
5. At this point – breathe – nice…
6. Now look at all the feelings, the images, the sensations, the subject matter of the pain and picture the image, whatever it is, however painful and abhorrent, however much you hate it or are scared by it, and wrap it up as you would a new born baby – hold it close to your chest and yes, nurse it, coo to it and tell it that it’s ok, you love it.
7. Then say to the image, the feelings, the pain, ‘I know you are here, and I am here for you for as long as you need me. I’ll care for you until you are ready to go.’
As Chris Grosso says:
“Through bringing our attention to the image of our painful thoughts and emotions, and tending to it with an open heart, we’re doing the most natural thing we can—expressing love. Instead of ostracizing our uncomfortable thoughts and emotions and their unpleasant effects, we show them pure, complete and inclusive love. It’s a love they’ve never known before, and a love many of us have never known before either.”
This gives the pain and the discomfort an opportunity to be heard and cared for. It will go maybe straight away, or it may need to hold on a bit, even for a long time – just keep loving it.
I wish you love and healing.
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Dr. Ellen Anne Burns is an actress, writer, mother, teacher, and student, not necessarily in that order. She was brought up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is a Doctor of Applied Theatre. She believes in a holistic spiritual practice, involving meditation, self love and discovery, learning and practicing forgiveness, gratitude and love every day. Ellen wishes to support and guide others on their own journey of self and love. She is a mentor on Gabrielle Bernstein’s-HerFuture.com and is thrilled to be one of the founding members of The Daily Sisterhood Blog. If you wish to contact Ellen please message her here, and she will respond as soon as she can.