Module 2 : dancing with the dark
& the divine
SHAKING THE SHADOW
shaking the shadow practice video
Shaking the Shadow
We have been getting to know, riding the waves, creating space for and bringing the love to our sweet selves...and now...we will explore how and when to express our emotions with GRACE AND MASTERY.
There is a beautiful dance between expression and stillness: expansion and contraction: outward and inward energy. We try to complicate this process with the mind but the body knows how to do this as easily as it knows how to breathe. Now, let’s get out of the mind and let the body do what it know how to do best...FEEL!
What does it mean to express emotions in a HEALTHY way? And when do we trick ourselves thinking that we’ve released something when we’ve only superficially dispersed it?
There is a difference between dissipating emotions and releasing them.
Dissipating emotion makes you not feel the emotion as intensely (like it has disappeared for the time being) and TRUE EXPRESSION allows the emotion to leave your body FOR GOOD.
Like when you are upset and you work out...you don’t feel as bad but you also don’t get to the root of why you were upset in the first place. MANY people have learned to temper their emotions by dissipating them or NUMBING or DISTRACTING from them. We tend to move the physical body so the “stress” comes down. We become excellent (or not so excellent) managers of stress.
Now..I’m a huge fan of healthy living and working the body out in some way everyday, however...working out or moving your body is very different than actually staying connected to your feelings and giving them a way to leave the body. Exercise or any movement that is not connected to the FELT SENSE just dissipates the condensed energy. The whole idea of “managing” stress is an elusive concept. AND I believe, It leads to a disempowering belief that we will always have it and we just need to live with it. Ah...how wrong!
Completing Stress Cycles comes as we are PRESENT and focused on the sensation of the emotion in the body, connected to ourselves and following the flow of the intrinsic movement with no judgement.
We have been exploring INNER EXPRESSION through the Somatic Experiencing “waves” you have been practicing. This is when the body comes into stillness so that you can deeply attune to the intensity of sensation within in a safe way. At a certain point, the inward expression may lead to an EXTERNAL EXPRESSION...tears, yelling, kicking, laughter. The external expression is often where our stress cycles were cut off because it wasn't seen as acceptable or safe to express. The expression (like screaming or hysterical crying) may have brought unwanted attention, been deemed inappropriate and judged, or you may have thought that they would scare someone...so you kept it in to keep them safe or free from worry (the belief that your well being is more important than mine)
All our lives, we have actually been trained in how to suppress our external expression. As women, we were taught how to use really nice words around our emotions. All the words became excuses and justifications for having the emotions….like we needed to have a reason to feel. And, all the justifications became more and more evidence that emotions (especially anger) don’t have any good use. The more we talk about something...the more we use the analytical left brain. Commonly, women say they “don’t get angry” or “I can’t control my anger”. What if it wasn’t something bad that needed control tactics?
Ah yes, here we start to look at the most misunderstood, underutilized emotion know to woman-kind...ANGER!
Anger is a neutral energy in its essence. It’s just a human emotion like all the rest. It is a signal that something is wrong, in fact. It’s a warning that we are facing a threat or a risk because of that it needs to be respected. Being mad at something or someone means you feel disempowered in some way. What’s that about? Inquire within rather than push it away.
Remember: Anger moves us into action and can always be harnessed for GOOD. Anger is passion in motion...a powerful, compassionate force just like love. To shut it down and say its bad or we don’t want to carry anger, isn’t helpful. Now...we don’t want to be raging as that is a massive MISMANAGEMENT of it. We need, instead, to consider what your anger is telling you and than strategize how to utilize this anger. What are you REALLY angry about?
There is no good or bad in our emotions. The problem lies in our perception and reaction to them. There is a deep misunderstanding that they are scary or overpowering and in essence that we won’t be accepted or loved if we can't control them. SO...we have unconsciously controlled them ever since we were too small to remember anything different. We may believe that our expression or lack thereof is perfectly normal. We might even be proud of being someone who doesn’t get too upset over things….However, This could be where some of the NUMBNESS lies.
Numbness is, in fact, a feeling. We can use numbness to dull out or dissociate from the anger or sadness or intense feelings. It’s a useful sensation in that way, actually. It kept us from having to feel bad.
When we know that we are numb, then we can start to open again. But rare is the human who knows that they are numb! We move out from the shadow and into the light when we become aware of the parts of us that don’t feel much or shut down. We have to be willing to admit that we could be numb...FYI...we all are at some level.
So...How do you stay out of feeling? numbing, distraction- drinking, movement, negative self talk, getting too involved in others lives, eating, controlling, shopping, netflix, meditation, sex, fantasizing, worrying, being social, social media...really anything can be used as a distraction depending on the intention behind it. What are your top 3 go-to distractions?
First off, I want us to learn what it is to express our emotions in a healthy/non-judgmental way. To let them out like never before to see them in all their glory and re-write the story of “crazy” into pride for the wisdom they hold. All emotion is valuable. This means getting reacquainted with our wild, primal and free feminine nature.
“Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear…are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They’re like messengers that tell us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck.” –Pema Chodron
The best way to get to know what full expression looks like is to watch children! They let emotions flow through them like water. Nothing sticks too long as they are having direct experience with them. And YES...we still need to do this as adults. We never “grew out” of expression, however, we do need a grown up version of it. As I’m not advocating behaving like children, it’s more like inviting back your INNOCENCE.
So, best way to do this...We SHAKE and BREATH and DANCE ourselves out of the mind and into the soul expression! This is a practice based off of OSHO’s famous Kundalini Meditation. In our shaking practice we can bring up emotions in a safe way and create a channel for their release. As the body gets activated, we can actually ask anger, sorrow, frustration etc. to come in. It’s powerful to do in this way because its our CHOICE and we can do as much or as little as we choose...its always our choice! (When emotions hijack us, we often have such an adverse reaction because it doesn't feel like we had any say in the matter)
It’s like cleaning out the pipes. The more we do it, the less backups we’ll have! We can transmute the emotion by feeling and expressing it in its raw state...not attached to stories...not judging its rightness or wrongness...not criticizing our expression. How wild and messy and out of control can you be here?
Then we self-regulate and let the body know that it's SAFE and worthy and loved! We can express AND be safe. We can feel AND be safe. We can listen to the information AND not be SCARED of what it has to say. This overlays a new loving imprint over the stress imbedded in the brain. We re-parent ourselves in a expression-positive world...ha! You are lovable when you are messy and wildly upset and hysterical!
This week we will be...Shaking out of the head, breathing out of the mind, dancing into flow, surrendering into stillness, and channeling the heart open w/ chants!
SiSTAR contemplation Qs:
- What are your top 3 go-to distractions?
- When and where do you go to the numbness?
- How wild can you be in your expression??
- What is your anger trying to tell you?
- Can you stay connected to yourself and take a breath before you engage in a distracting behavior and see if it shifts?
- Ask...how do I feel, what do I need instead?