Monday, January 14, 2013
I twitter nearly every day (please follow: https://twitter.com/silver_menehuni) about our work on exploring gut feeling with people. Sometimes people respond back with questions that I can’t possibly answer in 140 characters on Twitter. Today I tweeted: “Reflect on your gut feelings! What is the most unresolved issue in your life—that one thing you really need to clearup? http://amzn.to/Pfmtlj ". And Bethany tweeted back, “What if you have [an] issue in your life that you can't do anything about, except wish it would go away?” in a comment to me that I think is a very good question. In fact, I had this same question some 40 years ago and it prompted me to begin an inner search for resolutions and self-awarenss. So, thank you, Bethany, for this question. I’d like to explore your question here, for as you can see I am not a 140 character sort of writer really (but being an extrovert, I do love Twitter too):
It is true that we cannot always change the world outside of us to our liking, so we are challenged to look inside for the answer in hopes of finding some sense of clarity on what to do. It does not seem to help to keep focusing on the details in the present unresolved issue, but a new perspective may be found by focusing on the feelings within you and tracing them back in time to their origin. In counseling people who find themselves constantly in conflict with a spouse or loved one, for instance, we have often used the metaphor that “you can’t use one empty bucket to fill another empty bucket, unless you go take it to the well first and get some fresh water.” Meaning, of course, you may just keep reinforcing negative feelings in each other if you are both feeling empty. So, before you decide that your life situation is hopelessly doomed to disparity and that there is no resolution or positive steps to resolve a present issue in your life (or love relationship), please read our blog and also our book and continue (or start whichever it may be) the inner work of healing yourself through reflecting on gut feelings and uniting your head and gut. It is often hard to accept, but the real conflict is inside oneself and we have both the ability and need to resolve these inner issues relating to our own past experiences so we can move forward with assuredness and success and attain happiness.
Our effect upon the world around us, and certainly including those things that seem to cause us the most difficulty, is minimized by our own sense of uncertainly about ourselves and self-doubts, by those things in our past that are still unresolved that are still being triggered in our feelings and confusing our perspective of the now, and by our feelings of emptiness and aloneness. So let’s start there. It amazes most people how much they are still carrying around feelings from unresolved issues in their past and responding from feelings related to those unresolved experiences and are, thus, in some ways still in the “sandbox” at around age 4 to 6, even prior to going to school. This is hard to understand until you begin doing the Somatic Reflection Process and feel into the issue you are most concerned about and reflect on earlier times you felt this way. Then you find that this has been an issue in your feelings for many years and started perhaps very early in your life. Our original feeling experience is like a little snow ball beginning to roll down a giant hill, it picked up more and more snow as it went speeding down the hill, until it became a huge ball resting at the bottom. Finding the source so we can clear up our unresolved feelings takes some deep reflection, but generally feels freeing and relieving and gives us clarity and hope.
A number of people reading our book “What’s Behind Your Belly Button?” have emailed us that they had major breakthroughs in their self-awareness as they got into reading Chapter 3 of our book. Perhaps it is because that is where we begin giving verbatim counseling sessions in which we share the Somatic Reflection Process with people dealing with a variety of issues in their lives. It is hard not to begin feeling your own emotions and gut feeling as you read these sessions, reflecting on your own past, and since we do not have the person talk about the details of their lives, just the gut feeling experience, all people can relate to these struggles, making the dialogues very useful to everyone reflecting on their own feelings right along as they read.
The following is an excerpt of the beginning of Chapter 3 of “What’s Behind Your Belly Button?”, which is followed in the book by verbatim counseling sessions using the Somatic Reflection Process to bring new insight to present day unresolved issues:
“The best way to understand how the impact of experiences in the present triggers us to respond from our feelings that are related to unresolved issues in the past, is to go through the process yourself around an issue you are struggling with in the present time. We often ask our clients in counseling to describe in their feelings the impact of the issue they are struggling with. And if it isn’t clear to them what we were talking about, we ask them to find in their own mind and feelings something about their life that if they could resolve would help make life much better. We ask them not to tell us the details but try to describe the feeling in their body. Then we begin the process of taking the feelings they are having and reflecting on their feelings back to an earlier time in their past when they had that feeling before, as young as possible. It is through this Somatic Reflection Process (SRP) that original issues become conscious, sometimes for the first time since they happened, and people can work through them to change their self-image, and find understanding to resolve the present issues.”
“It seems to be quite natural for us to try to figure out what is bothering us—to understand what is going on. Usually, as long as we keep the reflection to ourselves, we continually see the details and fail to find the meaning of the issue. Even though we reach out to a friend and ask for attention around the details of the issue, we may gain little or no insight into what is bothering us. Often the attention we get is sympathy for having to deal with the details of the issue. We become quite confused about ourselves and we get hostile at the one to whom we have asked for help and have gotten sympathy. Such an experience with another person focusing on details, serves only to leave us feeling more empty and alone.
“As we comb through the piles of details of the past, we know in our feelings that the details weren’t the meaning of the experience. Somehow through the external judgments we used in the assessment of the experience, we become too confused to understand this clearly. As a child, we often move into action with our instinctive feelings, often with no logical motive. Others who observe our actions are privy only to the details and often make judgments about us from what they can perceive, without an understanding of our feelings.
“If we enter experience from our instinctive feelings, we must assess the meaning of the experience from the original feeling needs involved. We must exclude other external logical judgments if we wish to understand clearly what our behavior means. Only by such a reflective process—reflection with the inner gut feelings—is the confusion eliminated.
“When we can push the details of the experience out of our awareness, we can turn into the awareness of ourselves and reflect on our inner feelings. It is when we can do this that we are able to see the relationship of the confusion of the present to the issues and the feelings of the past. It is only through the process of reflection on our feelings, triggered in the confusion of the present, that we can begin to understand the sources of the feelings that are causing the confusion. By dealing with these past feelings, we may begin to arrive at some understanding with what we are dealing in the present moment.
“These feelings accumulated from our past, rather than the details of our lives, seem to be the accurate record of the impact of our life experience. Until we perceive these early childhood feelings as acceptable, the patterns that develop with time constantly interfere with our understanding of ourselves in the past. Not until these feelings are validated by another person as acceptable human feelings can we let go of the past and put our full energies into present experience.
“Fear, guilt, hostility—with an underlying emptiness feeling—triggered in by our present experiences are signals telling us that there is a need to reflect upon the past issues up through time in order to free ourselves from the past unresolved feelings about ourselves. The surface logical feelings of guilt and fear signal to us a conflict between what we think and what we feel about ourselves. A conflict or lack of communication is going on between our gut feelings and logical thinking brain. On the basis of our feeling awareness, the reflection up through time shows us the necessity for the actions we have taken.
“The instinctive feeling of emptiness is signaling our logical mind that there is unfinished work to be done. There is an inner and outer conflict to be resolved and a reckoning of our two brains, the beginning of which lies festering in our past experiences. Once we find the source of the original disturbance, in the often distant past, reflecting back through time identifying the occasions when the feelings of emptiness matched the feeling of the now—the same feeling and likely reoccurring at several different ages; we need to clarify the purpose we were trying to achieve by the action and what need we were trying to fill. Then we need to work our way back in time in reflection touching the same occasions of emptiness we found before, and clarifying each instance all the way up to the present. It is then that we have become aware of much about ourselves and our environments, which we have been unaware before, and now we can realize the necessity of dealing with experience from our inner center of intelligence as well as the outer sensory judgment of others.”
The above is an excerpt of the beginning of Chapter 3 of What’s Behind Your Belly Button?, which is followed in the book by verbatim counseling sessions using the Somatic Reflection Process to bring new insight to present day unresolved issues. I do hope Bethany and anyone interested in exploring gut feeling as a method for new insight into dealing with unresolved life issues will buy our book and read these sessions. And please, by all means, join our blog and comment! We would love to have you in our blog community.
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