When feelings become squatters : A guide to eviction

Watching the news has been a contact sport of the heart lately — leaving many of us walking around in a cloud of complex emotions. We are trying to make sense of what’s happening and figure out what to do about it. The sense of it all seems hard to follow, and solving it feels really, really heavy. So, we stop dealing with it. We binge-watch or impulse shop, drink too much and sleep too long — flipping between social media apps, hoping there is something new to digest and distract.

Until we deal with our shit, we are the problem. 

You don’t have to have it all figured out and fixed right now, but to make a real, lasting difference in this world, you need to start. How do you manage to deal with the world and yourself at the same time? That feels even heavier than before. You can say screw this lady, close the article and head back to watching This Is Us — or you can start right here, right now. One moment at a time, one breath at a time.

You’re not alone in it. We’ve all been there. Stuck in the continuos loop of grief, anxiety, fear, anger, and defeat. It festers in our mind and seeps into our bodies, making us stiff and restless. It becomes the lens through which we see all things — when I see the world through an angry lens, I experience angry things. It becomes a vicious, self-defeating cycle.

So, what can we do about it?

The following is an exercise I use for myself as well as recommend to my clients. It doesn’t require a special space, or any tools. It can be done in the office, in the car or as you wash the dishes.

Identify a feeling you don’t like. Don’t worry about using the right verbiage or wondering if the feeling is really the feeling or if there is something else behind it — that’s a distraction. You can say ‘That right there, I don’t like that’.

Once you have pointed it out, assign any color to it.
Take a few deep, slow breaths. Inhale deeply, exhale forcefully and completely.
The next breath you take, visualize that the inhalation is gathering up all of the color. (For me, the color usually looks misty)
As you exhale, blow out the color — like you mean it. Slowly but forcefully.
Repeat this 4-5 times.
Take a look inside your body. Is there any color remaining? Don’t look for the feeling, that’s a trap and will invite the feeling back, as if you missed it. Just look for the color in all the nooks and crannies and folds.
Is it gone? Excellent, then you are done for now.
Is there still some lingering around? Keep gathering it with the inhalation and expelling it with the exhalation.

Repeat this as often as necessary, there is no way to over do it.

This is a simple, yet profound act of dealing with our own shit. And when we deal with our shit, we become part of the solution. When I move feelings out of my body, out of my brain, I no longer perpetuate the cycle of attracting anger through my anger — or anxiety through my anxiety — or fear through my fear. Notice, I did not say deal with my feelings. I do not negotiate with terrorists. I do not engage with my feelings, because then they get cozy and stay for much longer than they are welcome. I see them for what they are, not making them any bigger or any smaller, and shoo them out the door. Bye Felicia.

Thanks for sticking around, I knew you would.

I’m super excited about my new program that is tailored for women who are done apologizing for who they are. This has been a year in the making! Take a look here.

Sarah offers a humorous, down to earth approach to radical self discovery. Mentor, author, and leading innovator in her field, she eases the learning curve of this thing called life. Check out her book, Mindful Energy : A Journey of Transformation — a guided journal, and hang out with Sarah on Facebook.

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