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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Witnessing our feelings

I was browsing through some of my archived material from an on-line writing course with Julie Jordan Scott when I came across the following. We were asked to simply be aware of what we were feeling, to stand witness to the moment and write. Sometimes we become disconnected from our feelings, confused, distracted. This may manifest in the moment as vague discontent, restlessness, anxiety, even irritation or downright anger waiting to explode.

I find this very simple exercise quite remarkably freeing. It allows you to follow that vague unrest down to the feeling place it is coming from. Once made visible, concrete if you will, we can shift it. The nagging toothache of repressed emotion stops and we find peace. Perhaps you would like to try it.

The feeling I want to witness is love.

When I hold it I notice how tight my heart space feels, how restricted.

I loosen my grip and hold this love in open hands, cupped together, envisioning them filled with a ball of glowing red energy.

I place my lips together as though ready for a kiss, then blow softly into this quietly vibrating energy field.

I blow love out into the world.

I release my hold on it.

I let it flow out into other hearts, other minds, other souls, another time, another space.

I release this feeling to go wherever the Divine intends and I feel at peace.

I feel my heart space open, all constriction gone.

This was the same exercise on another day. It brought up an emotion I had no conscious idea I was feeling. My awareness was simply that I felt uneasy and burdened.

The feeling I want to witness is forgiveness

And when I hold it, I notice it has jagged edges which dig uncomfortably into my ribs from its heavy lump like presence in my heart space.

It is talking to me, reminding me of a time when I stood stubborn in my judgement and anger. I felt there had been a callous betrayal of someone I love.

For years I have allowed this dark feeling to cloud my perception of this man. Today I understand that this has been a reflection of my own self-judgement.

Today I see this clearly and now I release it.

Finally yet another day and another emotion to become aware of, to draw in to consciousness and release.

The feeling I want to witness is an all pervasive sadness; it leaks from my pores, settles in my soul, slows my heart and covers me like a stifling visionless fog.

When I hold it, I notice an ache in my cheekbones from stemming unshed tears.

I notice the unrelieved painful tension in my shoulders and neck, from carrying the weight of my self-directed anger alone and unshared. So that is where the sadness is coming from.

I notice the headache creeping up from the back of my neck into my temples, like a dark pressure filled shadow beginning to crush my brain to stop it from thinking, thinking, thinking. It is not the thinking that causes the pressure, it is the lack of resolution.

Even my breathing is tentative, as though I fear to inhale fully; inhale what? Life, a full breath of life, that is what I fear and it is the recognition of that fear which sparks the anger. Then there is only the shallow breathing of my sadness, the regrets, the broken promises, the unlived dreams.

I rest here fully witnessing this sadness, allowing it to seep into my bones, to have its way, I listen to the heaviness of its words and acknowledge why it is wrapping itself around me like a cold linen shroud. I understand you, sadness. I know your reasons. I accept your whispered rebuke. I surrender.

And now I release this sorrow and putting one foot in front of another, I step forward seeking that place of joy which will embrace me and soothe me until the shadow fades into the nothingness from which it rose.

I encourage you to try this, particularly if you are experiencing sadness, depression, unease, anger, negativity whose source you are unsure of. Sit with the question. "What feeling do I want to witness?" Then simply write. Don't think. Don't analyse. Don't correct. Don't worry about spelling or grammar. Just write.

Please feel free to post as a reply or if you prefer than send it privately to me at my e mail address.

Have a blissful day. That is my intention for me and my wish for all of you.


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