As I spend the first morning of a four-day vacation weekend sipping on coffee, relaxing and journaling, I realize that I am feeling some angst. I slow down, breathe deep and give myself some space to see what is there. What I find is a busy mind, jumping from thought to thought – ranging from my day at work yesterday, to my plans for the weekend, to the workout I’m supposed to do today, back to moment I had to announce a cancer diagnosis to a client, back to how I should spend my weekend, and on and on and on.
I smile at myself, finding it funny how thoughts – the simple exchange of energy within the brain – can lead to so much tension in the body and feelings of overwhelm.
I’ve heard a number of times that the term emotion actually means “energy in motion”. I really like that. For my rigid, scientific brain, it really helps me release the hold I have on my emotions. It helps me identify a little less with them, and releases me as the responsible cause of these emotions.
I also like how some teachers promote the idea that emotions and feelings are messengers. That they arise to show/teach us something. That instead of repressing them, feeling ashamed for them or identifying with them, maybe we can slow down and invite them into our awareness. And even tune into them so that we can receive their message.
I’ve been trying to do this a lot in the last week – slow down and connect with my body. I felt extremely panicked last week because I could sense a lot of tension, distraction and overwhelm in myself. The Ego told me a story of “here we go again! Something is wrong with you, you need your meds. You aren’t good enough to be a NP, etc, etc”.
It’s hard to invite those feelings when the stories associated with them are so well rehearsed in your mind. But with lots of slowing down, spending time trying to tune into my body, sensations and emotions, I found a different narrative.
It did speak of “not enoughness”. But also of a need for validation, comforting, being held and a need for connection with the familiar. The more time I’ve spent trying to connect with that woundedness, the more evident it becomes that I am currently in need of connecting with loved ones.
The last time I had a cozy, comforting and familiar hug was on March 6th as I said goodbye to my brother at Pearson international airport. That’s over four months!! Four months without any comforting physical touch. And for someone who relies heavily on connection – especially physical – to feel loved and validated, this feels very difficult.
As tears come up – now that I am connected with the root of this sadness – like I would a tearful child, I can more easily hold, support and soothe myself, validating these emotions rather than being angry at myself for simply being a human with feelings.