Thursday, January 25, 2018
When dealing with persistent emotional feelings of sadness and loss, fear, shame, and/or hostility that result in depression and anxiety, many people feel it is hopeless to explore and reflect upon their past for fear that they will just come up with the same old suffering and nothing will change. And this would be true if you simply rehashed the details of your life, just thinking back over the details of your life over and over again. Or if you simply looked at the isolated emotions without exploring the pure feeling impact of life before, during and even after the experience that these emotions are related to. And when we speak of pure feeling impact of life, we mean how it felt to be you in your body (not your thinking), how empty or full you were (with the needs of acceptance and freedom being registered in your gut feelings) and how well your needs were met or not met at that time. It is only through examining your feelings in your past from moment-to-moment, coming up through time from early childhood to adulthood and into the present time, that you can often see new pieces of information that change your entire perception of what you think really took place in your life and more importantly what you think about yourself, and thus emotionally feel about yourself.
This sort of emotional “aha moment” that comes from using the Somatic Reflection Process on gut feelings is best understood with an example. The following is an excerpt from What’s Behind Your Belly Button in which a young woman named Anne who was dealing with extreme feelings of loss in her current life, used the Somatic Reflection Process to get in touch with her gut feelings to deal with her emotions. As a result, she reassessed a core belief about herself that had weighed on her much of her life. It did not take away the loss in the present that she was experiencing, but it took away much of the feeling of shame that had accumulated through her life and had made the current loss so difficult to deal with.
Excerpt from WHAT’S BEHIND YOUR BELLY BUTTON?
Chapter 3 — The Impact of Experience: Anatomy of Feelings, page 68-70
“We had a patient, Anne, who came to us in deep distress mid school semester. She was an “a” student and was sure that her chosen field of nursing was exactly what she needed, but she was not able to function in school as she was devastated by a divorce that had just hit her like as she said, “an ocean of waves of sorrow.” We had found with our patients that divorce was a time that all of the person’s negative feelings of loss from past experiences would crash in on them and while it seemed that all the sadness was related to the loss of the present day spouse, the devastation they were feeling was much bigger and reached far back into their past experiences. While it does not take the sting of divorce away completely, it does help lessen the pain to work on the past unresolved issues and at least erases much of the pain and suffering mixed into one’s feelings in the present. Often the person is not even conscious of having the past suffering as it has all been repressed and so well hidden from the conscious ego in our unconscious, our shadow. Once the unconscious content has been brought to light, people would often find that the repression was at least part of the reason the present relationship was not fully functioning and had met with an end. It is often the part of ourselves that we are hiding from our loved one that is the most appealing part of ourselves and holds the key to our feeling pulse that gives energy and life to both ourselves and to our relationship.”
“As we began in coaching to have her focus on her feelings of sadness, Anne was able to trace it back to the death and loss of her younger brother in childhood. She had been quite young and had, in the way that children often do in absence of information, blamed herself because she had scolded him to get out of her room earlier in the day before his untimely accident attempting to cross the street alone at three years old. Upon reflection on her feelings, she realized that she was not even home at the time the accident occurred and a baby sitter had been in charge of her brother. She felt for the first time in her life a relief that her brother’s death was not her fault and was astounded that she was feeling all of that loss and guilt in the present mixed in her feelings of loss of her spouse to an impending divorce. She went home and shared this feeling experience with her spouse and while they finally did part ways, it was as friends and Anne was able to stop blaming herself and continue school successfully to become a nurse. We saw her on several occasions in the halls after the session and noticed that even though she was struggling with a divorce, she possessed a glow and less stress facial expressions about her that had not been there previously.”
“As we learn to reflect on our feelings, we can see more clearly that each crisis in our lives alerted us to an awareness that we needed to back off the direction we were headed and go back to pick up the signals from our guts and follow them to fullness. As we learn more to do this, we find our thinking less likely to borrow a role from the world for us to play and more likely to work in support of our gut feelings to bring the feeling of fullness to ourselves and live a full and healthy life.”
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End of Excerpt
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