This is three-part-activity for when we lose touch with how we feel.
So much of modern life is about doing, rushing through days, working, grabbing coffees. We give thought to necessities like paying rent, or career choices that might make paying rent a bit easier. But in all of that we often lose sight of how we really feel.
Feelings are the data that can guide us, they fit like puzzle pieces with our thoughts and give us motivation to go one way or another in life.
They are a necessary and wonderful part of being alive, even the difficult ones. If we listen they give us information, information we need to shape our lives in ways that ‘feels’ right.
We often place judgments on our internal experiences like ‘this feelings is bad or stupid’ or ‘I just have to get on with it even if it’s hurting me’.
We have often learnt not to value our bodily sensations, our gut feelings those sneaky thoughts that tell us something useful.
We learn to trust systems that are external to us and we can often be left with a nagging feeling that something isn’t right. In more extreme cases we may even experience deep distress as we live in ways that are in conflict with who we really.
But all the doing and perhaps believing that feelings ‘make us weak’ or ‘overwhelm us’, can leave us totally out of touch with what matters to us, who we are and how to move forwards.
We might find it hard to answer the following questions:
What do I think?
How do I feel?
What do I need?
What’s right for me in this situation?
Finding out slowly, what feels right for you, can give way to new ways of thinking, to choices that feel more aligned with who you are, rather than who you ‘should’ be.
As parents, employees, friends, men, women, young, old, we have all taken in ideas of how we should behave, what should matter to us, how we should live our lives, and some of that may well be right for you.
But if it doesn’t, starting to rebuild a capacity to listen to yourself can help to diminish any conflict between who you feel you ‘should be’ and who you are!
This activity can be part of a journey towards re engaging with your sensorial, feeling self, thinking, connected self, that all the parts can work together, giving you all the data you need to feel fully aware of who you are, and how you feel in this moment.
Read through the instructions 2-3 times to familiarise yourself with the activity.
Keep it nearby if needs be.
You might want to find a bit of private space to do this activity
THIS ACTIVITY IS DONE WITHOUT JUDGMENT.
NO OUTCOME IS CORRECT. ALL OUTCOMES ARE WELCOME.
Find a space to sit that is comfortable
Take time to do this, give time and care to how and where you sit, what props, blankets and pillows you might like, what smells, on the floor, chair etc, give thought to what temperature you would like in the room.
From the moment you begin to create the space, begin to slow down as much as possible, even if just in your movements.
Move slowly and try to keep focus on the activity of making a safe comfortable space.
A note pad and pen should be within easy reach
Once seated, close your eyes or lower your lids.
Always give thought to what feels right for you.
Begin to allow the breath to flow with ease, not changing it, as much as seeing if you can allow it to take up as much space as you need.
Shift your body to allow ease of breath.
Now begin to look inward.
Look into the BODY and the bodies physical sensations
With each in breath silently and slowly say the words,
With each out-breath keeping the focus of your attention on the body, let words and images come to your mind. Any words, Amy images, if none come, that is fine, simply keep repeating
I AM on your in-breath and hold your focus on your physical body, on the out breath.
Continue for 2 or 3 minutes, less if it feels too uncomfortable, more if you are comfortable doing so and it feels the enquiry needs longer. Don’t stay longer just because you can’t find any words or images.
This is an enquiry.
If we don’t often ask how we feel, it may take time for our bodies to answer.
The note pad is there to jot down any words or images that come, take 2-3 minutes for this.
There are two more parts to this activity.
Putting the pen down, return to your comfortable seated position.
Begin again to allow easy natural breath.
On the in breath silently say
On the out-breath your focus is this time your emotional self, your FEELINGS.
Same as before stay with this for 2-3 mins or what feels possible and comfortable for you.
Allow words or images to come, if they don’t , again that is fine, just stay with:
I AM on the in breath and allow a slow breath out to focus on the feeling self.
Write down any words or images when you have finished.
The third round is as above.
On the in-breath, silently say
On the out-breath the focus is on THOUGHTS.
Give time again to jot down any notes after 2-3mins.
So there are three rounds with a few minutes for jotting down words or images that came.
If none came, just know you are giving space to that part of yourself, and each time you do this it allows that part to begin to feel seen, valid and perhaps in time more able to give language to its experience.
The journey to listening to oneself is not always easy, sometimes what we have to say can be hard , can be painful.
I will be writing more of managing difficult and painful feelings, so if this exercise brings up stuff that feels too tough, perhaps put it down for a bit, whilst you learn to more safely be with feelings that you experience as over which in any way.
May you be well
May you be happy
May you be free
May you progress