Let go in order to let in
Continuing with our theme of simplifying, I want to spend time this week focusing on slowing down our "internal chaos". Last week I talked about feeling overwhelmed and how that can create outer chaos (procrastination, anger, bitterness, emotional dysregulation, etc...). Today I want to dive in deeper and discuss internal chaos, particularly when it comes to feeling overwhelmed. These are the times when we feel stuck. When we feel like we continue to have the same fights within ourselves or others, when we continue to have unhealthy relationships or expectations, and when we continue to have bad habits we can't seem to break. We feel stuck and sometimes as if these things control us because we feel like we can't control them. We think and believe things like, "if I could just find time", "why doesn't anyone understand what I'm going through", "what's wrong with me?". We try to pick up new self-help activities, but over time we end up continuing where we left off.
One of my favorite activities to address this type of inner work is actively learning to identify unhealthy patterns and work on a process of letting go. Too often we can get stuck in a pattern of unhealthy thinking, either about ourselves or others. Until we learn how to slow down, recognize it, process it, we won't be able to let it go.
In a process group for adults struggling with addiction, I use a "Buddha Board" to help the group visualize and actively work on this process of letting go. I begin the group with having them close their eyes, ground into their body, and do a mental scan on what they are feeling inward and outward. In this meditation, I have them zone in on a area of their body that feels tight, sore, or bothersome. I have them think about what this might be telling them. What are they holding on to that might be creating this uncomfortable feeling in their body? What is this telling them about their difficulty with control, need to feel secure, or desire of seeking affirmation?
Once they open their eyes and are ready to proceed, I have someone who is ready think about the phrase, "Today I need to let go of..." and visualize what thought, image, or symbol comes up. Once they have that, they go up to the Buddha Board and draw it. The amazing process with the Buddha Board is that once you write on it with water, over time it disappears on its own. Once it's on the board, you have no control over the time it takes for it to disappear, all you have to do is trust that it will.
Over time you can see it disappears. Often the hardest part of this activity is allowing ourselves to acknowledge our truth. Often these are the feelings we don't like to feel and wish they would just go away. Feelings of sadness, pain, heartbreak, loss, grief, insecurity, failure, inadequate, etc...
When you are able to acknowledge hard feelings like, "I feel heart-broken. I feel like someone stole half of my heart and ran away with it" that is part of the magic. Once we can acknowledge what we feel, it gives our feelings permission to then work their magic of release. But the more we fight this process, the longer it will impact us and our behaviors and relationships.
If we can allow ourselves to go there, to be in our body, and feel it, then in the long run we are better to allow ourselves to feel rather than pretend it does not exist. It no longer has power over us when we give it permission to do its work, because we stop the fight against it. We accept it, allow it to work out within us, and then we release it. It's often fear that holds us back, not the actual emotion that we are feeling.
Its the fear of feeling it.
So I encourage you to try it. Sit within yourself. Focus inward in order to help change the outward.