Welcome to my 11-part series of How to Transform Your Life where I share my favorite tools and resources that I implemented and improved my life with. Today is the fourth transformational tip on processing negative emotions. Enjoy!
Unresolved inner conflicts impact our health, career, and relationships. This robs us of enjoying our lives. If you are triggered, agitated, or apathetic, and depressed it could be from holding onto unprocessed painful experiences. This prolonged suffering is reflected in the body as explained by Bessel van der Kolk in the book, The Body Keeps the Score.
I realized I was an emotional hoarder of wounds after my body went into sudden cardiac arrest from buried away resentments and disappointments from decades before. There are five major wounds and fears: abandonment, betrayal, humiliation, injustice, and rejection. Not knowing how to process pain, I told myself to “get over it.” or denied being upset, or minimized my experience by saying it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t know there were methods to release it. Doesn’t time heal? When a similar situation arose it triggered me to believe another negative situation reminiscent of the past would occur and my body would have a visceral reaction.
Studies have shown we do not emotionally develop beyond the age of unresolved conflicts. Mark Oliver, explains in the book The Four Intelligences most people in the United States don’t emotionally mature past the age of eight. This explains why a grown adult can go into a fit and act childlike.
In nature, when an animal is in a dangerous and stressful state, its heart races, cortisol, adrenalin, and norepinephrine flood the body. Once out of danger, the animal has the capacity to return back to homeostasis within ninety seconds. Dr. Joe Dispenza states humans have the same capacity. When we hold onto the stress long after the experience has occurred it is possible we are addicted to those hormonal states. The good news is addiction can be overcome by processing negative emotions as a daily practice.
Imagine the light feeling of prioritizing emotional well-being by clearing out negative experiences. Do this in a safe quiet space, when alone and uninterrupted, between thirty and ninety minutes. The three great resources listed below help process negative emotions.
Emotional Map from Making Love Work by Barbara De’Angelis
This method includes writing or speaking out loud and expressing emotions in the following six steps. Each level breaks down the negative charge and leads into the next level where all emotions are resolved.
Anger, resentment, and blame
Hurt, sadness, and disappointment
Fears, insecurities, and wounds
Regrets, understanding, and responsibility
Wishes, intentions, and solutions
Love, appreciation, and forgiveness
The Work by Byron Katie
The first step of this process is to fill out a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet where you answer six questions about the triggering experience. Then there are four questions to reflect on and then a turnaround. Byron Katie hosts a weekly podcast, At Home with Byron Katie demonstrating this powerful and transformative process.
A Hawaiian spiritual practice used to clean energy by reciting four sentences. This method is popularized by the story of Dr. Hew Len, a clinical psychologist who worked with the developmentally disabled and the criminally mentally ill and their families. He didn’t treat the patients instead he applied the following steps towards himself stating that when the data is clear within it ceases to be expressed in those around you. This method was so radical that the patients healed and the mental institution was closed.
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
I love you.
The process is complete when you feel lighter, more loving, and at peace with the past. The inner conflict is resolved and all that is left is a sense of gratitude. There is power in seeing things anew, gaining insights, and inspiring a change in responses and behaviors.
Everyone deserves to experience a rewarding and fulfilling life. Take the time to clean up and process emotional wounds. It may be exhausting as memories surface to grieve, but the body will heal and so will your emotional resilience.
Today I was making a vegan potato salad while listening to Michael Singer talk about Living Untethered. I took my first bite and my mouth burst with delight from all the textures and flavors. I thought to myself, “Wow, this is such a miracle to be eating this meal.”
First, I thought about what each and every ingredient in the recipe had to go through in order to be in my kitchen now. For example, the salt, I didn’t harvest the salt, or the pepper. The potatoes, onion, celery, bell pepper, olives, and pickles all had a huge journey to be in this meal. The soil had to be tended, someone planted and nurtured them to ripeness, they were harvested, shipped, and stored, some items were jarred, some items were fermented, and so on. And here I am eating these all in one bite without doing much work to have them. I simply went to the store and yet even that is such a miracle.
I take this miracle for granted. Sometimes I see making food as a burden, but in moments like today, I slowed down and really focused on just how amazing it was that I even knew how to make this delicious meal, and how simple and accessible things are today.
I thought about all the times I wasn’t even present to enjoy my meal. I was distracted by a conversation, my phone, thoughts of the past, future, or other people’s business. Many meals I have eaten and hardly even tasted. I didn’t truly appreciate what a gift it was. In reflection, I can see how entitled, ungrateful, distracted, and disconnected I have been. Wow.
But today, I found myself giving thanks to all those who made it possible for me to sit in my kitchen and eat this bowl of potato salad. I am guessing hundreds of people were involved in this process if not thousands if I really thought about all the systems and structure that was put into place for me to have this simple convenience. I had to acknowledge this truth and I was humbled.
I felt inspired to write and share it with you today. Einstein said, “One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. “ I know that I can get caught up in my head and not truly enjoy and appreciate the simple pleasures in life, but I am grateful that today I slowed down enough to be grateful, humbled, appreciative, and truly enjoying the moment and the miracle of my meal.
Who knows, maybe today you will do the same. I hope you do and find the richness in what we often do not allow ourselves to fully receive.
It was January 2005, I just closed escrow on my first home. I was happy to get the keys and move in. I had taken the day off work to start the moving process. However, a client called me very early that morning needing my assistance. I normally took the kids to school, but I made arragements to have my long term boyfriend take them so I could go see this client and then get started on moving in.
However, on my way I was involved in a hit and run by a drunk driver that could have ended my life. I was sitting at a red light waiting for it to turn green when I was hit full force. I don’t remember being hit. I was knocked unconscious, but I remember coming out of it being surrounded by a group of people, not knowing where I was or what had happened. Luckily, people saw the accident happen and chased the person who hit me and fled the scene.
The back end of my little 4 door Honda Civic had been smashed all the way to where the back seat was almost touching the back of the drivers seat. I had my massage table in the trunk of my car at the time. The impact propelled the table through the back seat and over my head to the front windshield.
I was laid up in bed for 3 months to heal from head trauma, vertigo, neck and back injuries in addition to some left sided injuries to my shoulder, elbow and knees. The vertigo (severe dizziness and nausea)was so severe that I felt like I got off a really fast merry-go-round. I couldn’t see straight, everything was moving, at the slightest movement I felt like I would throw up. If you have ever been drunk and closed your eyes and felt the whole world spinning, that’s how I felt 24/7. I couldn’t hold up my head. I couldn’t think clearly. I couldn’t take pain pills because my body rejected them. I spent time in the ER dealing with a bad reaction to Vicodin. I was throwing up non stop and heaving into exhaustion. I felt like I had no quality of life. I couldn’t even function: physically or mentally.
During the healing phases, I would get flash images of the accident reoccuring in my head. I was brought to tears when I realized I would normally take my kids to school that morning. Thoughts went through my mind of my children no longer being in my life. I was shaken! My kids are such a huge part of my life, but at that time I was working, my kids were in public school. I taught evening fitness classes and time with my kids was somewhat limited.
Thoughts went through my mind, “Was this a life that mattered?”, “If I died today, did I give my kids the skills they needed in life?”, “Did I make a positive impact on my kids?” I thought about that being my last day to live and questioned the way I had been living. Did I live a life that I could die a happy person feeling totally confident that I had done all I could do in my life? Did I spend my time in ways that mattered most? Did my kids know how much I loved them? Did I savor them or take them for granted?
I wanted to hug them, cuddle them, kiss them, tell them how much I loved them. I wanted to laugh with them, to grow with them, to watch them experience life. I wanted to support them and share this gift of life we had. Even if it was only one more day.
This was the beginning of a major life shift for me. I felt gratitude for the accident, because it made me reevaluate my life. I started shifting my life immediately. I did not return to work full time. I only saw clients when my kids were in school and in the fall of 2005, I enrolled my kids in a charter school. I began a homeschooling program. I really didn’t know how to homeschool or anything about it at all. However, I repeatedly had the intuition and inspiration to do it,so I trusted that guidance.
Other changes evolved as well. I ended a 5 year relationship that seemed to no longer be syngergistic. I discovered raw foods. I decided to take my career into my own hands and become self employed. Freedom in all life aspects became very important.
I was given another chance to live. And ya know, we don’t have to wait until something like this happens to start a new life. Every morning the sun rises we are given another lease on life. What are you going to do with it?
Yesterday was such a nice day. It started with checking my emails and receiving a message from Dhrumil of We Like it Raw. He has created a page called Masala that lists” the hottest mix of raw food blogs online”. I was humbled and honored that my blog would even be mentioned. It feels good knowing that somebody is reading my jumbled blogs. I love sharing my experiences and stories. Even better I love receiving comments from others stating that I have helped them. How cool is that?
I took my little poochie, Hailee out for a morning walk and just savored the gorgeous weather. I feel so lucky to be alive and have my life. I have so much to be thankful for. I am smart, healthy, and creative. I have 2 awesome kids that I spend lots of time with. I have a home that I can play around with decorating and gardening. I live in Southern California and we have such mild weather. It’s funny how fast we can forget these things and we always seem to find room for complaints on where we are lacking. I really want to turn that around and only see what is going right in my life. It definitely far out weighs any nitty gritty complaints I may have.
I came home and read 2 chapter “Loss of Innocence” from “Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz to my children. This is such easy reading and they understand the message. Wow, this really put me in my place as a mother. It explains how children are tuned into love and enjoying the present moment. As parents condition and dump our “hell” on our kids and they develop emotional wounds like shyness, fear, etc… Our kids start to try to please us (parents, teachers, etc) for approval. Anyhow, I was brought to tears. I love and adore my children. I know they are my teachers and they remind me about real life. So much of our existence is fluff. I want the real stuff, the good stuff. The stuff that matters. I want to live in love all day long. I actually said my goal for the day was to “make love all day long”. That is my ultimate goal. I may not be there 100%, but I’ll tell you what, each day I try I grow by minutes. Before I know it I’ll be there. Practice makes perfect.
My kids and I played around in the kitchen and created this. I love when I just whip something together without any planning. It’s always a surprise. I had some serious sweet tooth going on and instead of eating something really off the charts we had made chocolate ice cream by blending frozen bananas with cacao. We just kept going from there and this is a quick video of what we came up with. Meg wasn’t in the mood to be on the camera so she acts a little silly, but kids will be kids.
Then a beautiful gift wrapped book came in the mail from Matthew Kenney. He sent me his book “Entertaining in the Raw“. Of course it is beautiful and he truly is a genius. Sorry to keep repeating it Matthew, but it’s true! I remember last year thinking there needed to be a book for raw entertaining. Ta da…here it is. Literally, my daughter and I sat and went through every picture salivating. I really didn’t know which recipe to try first. So, of course Matthew recommend I make the basil wrappers. DOH! I should have known, he had sent me that recipe before the book came out last summer. Oops! Well, you don’t gotta tell me again… I am on it! I’ll post a video of the final product as long a you guys realize it won’t be nearly as pretty as his photos show.
Anyhow, I just enjoyed a simple mellow day filled with lots of hugs and cuddles with my kids. I felt centered and balanced. So, I want to keep up with my daily goal to make love all day long. I can see how one day went and I look forward to more. Just thought I’d share. 🙂
It is scientifically IMPOSSIBLE to be depressed and grateful at the same time! Think about that every time you are feeling blue. Shift your focus on what you have. It’s another way of taking an inventory of your life and discovering what you do have. This is perfect to do once a life detox has taken place. The garbage is gone, now let’s see the good stuff .
Thanksgiving is coming around the corner and rather than stuffing my face with food, I’m filling up my soul with thanks. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is the only time I reflect on the things I am thankful for. I keep a daily gratitude journal. I write in it almost every night before I fall asleep. It makes for an easy transition into sleep and beautiful dreams.
I think of the things that would affect me if they disappeared from my life tomorrow. Here are my top 10 ranked
Devastated 1. My kids 2. Their father… if I had a romantic partner he’d be here too! 3. My family 4. My friends 5. My pets 6. My clients 7. My health & well being (I suppose this should be number one, since it affects how I am able to relate and contribute to those listed above.)
Big Time Bummers 8. My home 9. My car 10. My journals, home videos, and photographs
OK, OK….I know I said ten, but I had to throw this in there too.
Conveniences 11. The Internet, my computer & cell phone (Funny, because these are just means to stay connected to the relationships mentioned above. )
These are the things I really need to nurture and really remember to appreciate. I know that all those things I mentioned above are not permanent. I will eventually lose them all. EVERYTHING! It makes me think….am I really enjoying them? Am I really making the most of them. Do they know how much I care?
On the other hand, I feel less of a need for other materialistic belongings. I mean really, if I have all the above listed things in my life, the extra “stuff” just might be a distraction or clutter in my life. Truth is, we only use about 20% of what we own. Back to purging! Living light inspires the soul.
Ten More Things I Am Thankful For 1. The experience of Motherhood & being a woman 2. Living during these times & technology 3. My knowledge and experiences 4. My health, beauty, energy, able body 5. My dreams and direction 6. A connection to a higher power & sense of self 7. Living in safety, where the sun shines and the weather is warm 8. My time 9. Being well received by others 10. Unlimited Potential
What about being grateful for the hardships and life challenges?
5 Challenges that I overcame & made me who I am today. 1. Poverty & Abuse 2. Shoplifting 3. Exotic dancing 4. Failed relationships 5. Single motherhood
5 Current Challenges I am experiencing today & being thankful for the opportunity to grow & learn from them. 1. Financial burdens… I want to live free from financial obligations 2. Weight gain…. I want to feel secure in my own skin and celebrate physical health 3. Self esteem….I want to feel confident in who I am and what I am capable of 4. Discipline & Focus…I want to stay on task so I can experience the things in life that really matter most to me. 5. Being single… I want to grow and share life with a life partner.