This past Sunday morning on 9/11 I was sitting on our deck, drinking coffee and appreciating the softness of an approaching Fall-like breeze. I reflected on that horrific day for America. I thought about the victims. I extended comfort in my heart to the family and friends of those lost. I felt for the all Americans. I sent a prayer up for everyone.
Those emotions gradually shifted to another focus. I found myself revisiting deep sadness about losing our son, Zane.
Then, I did something I learned not long ago that is healing for me. The exercise has helped me walk through a number of difficult emotions that are uncomfortable at best … from sadness to fear to anger and on.
I want to share it with you. Perhaps it will be useful for you … or maybe not. We are all so different.
There is a practice to consciously stay within yourself and simply be with an uncomfortable emotion until the peak of the uneasiness subsides. The practice is about not resisting the discomfort or running away from it.
It’s quite simple. You feel. You sit. You wait. Somehow in a little while you feel better in the simplicity of just being. You feel your heart and sit “in” the emotion.
My experience is this … when I consciously get quiet and stay with a tough feeling, a really interesting thing happens. The negativity loses its grip on me. It doesn’t have power over me anymore. During the experience I might have an insight or I might not, (most of the time not) but when I let the emotion move through me, I feel better … more neutralized and less traumatized. Is the difficult emotion completely gone? No. But the part of it that punches me in the stomach is gone.
So last Sunday, I just sat and felt my sadness for missing Zane like I hadn’t felt it in a long time. I’m not sure how long I sat there but before too long I began to just feel better. I didn’t have some big revelation. I didn’t try not to feel so sad. No self judgments. I just knew that if I stayed with it long enough, I would feel better. And I did.
It’s a wonderful exercise if you are game to try it. The experience is often not easy, especially in the beginning.
No resistance. No avoidance. No trying to make the exercise turn out a certain way. It is absolutely simple. Just stay with the uncomfortable feeling until you feel better.
When I practice this, I feel more peaceful and less drained on the other side of the feeling that was so tough.