We all have it: a list of things that, if only they could get better, would make life so much easier.
If you were asked in this moment to name 5 things in your life that are annoying, how long would it take you? Pause here to think: What are 5 annoying things that are taking up your mental and emotional energy?
There is a common element among your 5 annoying things and that is YOU. At the root of our waiting for happiness and waiting for peace, is the truth that we are the cause of our experience. And the pattern of waiting for or hoping for a change in our lives that will finally bring relief, is a game that has the potential to continually keep you waiting for as long as you live. Because as soon as one level of change is achieved, there will always be another level. Let’s say you finally write the book you’ve been dreaming of writing, well, THEN, you have to figure out how to publish the book, and THEN, how are you going to market it? And THEN, maybe you need to write another one?
The cycle can go on and on.
The key to breaking this cycle of prolonging life satisfaction and joy, is to look inside ourselves and decide to experience life differently, regardless of the current circumstances. In this choice lives your emotional sovereignty. It is living a life where your emotional state is not beholden to the outcomes occurring around you, but rather, your internal emotional state is what gives the perspective by which you see the outcomes in the first place. For example, rather than “My book isn’t finished, why can’t I write faster? I feel so stuck.”, you can choose: “I feel excited to finally be in the stage of writing my book, I’m going to fully enjoy every step of this journey.”
Getting powerful in creating this perspective shift takes some practice. And it’s important to acknowledge that the setup we have as human beings gives us lots of opportunity to fall into a stressed and anxious mindset. In reality, we are always only experiencing our body’s reaction to the world around us, which is rooted in our mind’s perceptions. And this system is very powerful.
As human beings it is part of our innate nature to desire growth. We want to experience more, be more, have more. And every time an experience of contrast comes up, “I don’t have enough,” or “I’m not there yet,” the body reacts to those thoughts with the full intensity of an animal fighting for its life. A rush of hormones and changes throughout the body occur in these moments to ensure we make it. In reality, we’re not running away from a tiger, we’re reading an email in front of our computer. The body reacts the same to perceived situations that may cause us harm, regardless of what they actually are.
Suddenly, our “fight or flight” our stance comes online. When the nervous system is activated in this way, our creative and empathetic functioning go offline. Instead, our blood vessels constrict, heart rate speeds up, we may start to sweat, breathing speeds up and gets shallow, and our blood moves into the muscles, away from the digestive system.
All because of an unexpected email, and, the body’s threatened feeling.
We can view this intense setup as unfair or we can view it as an exciting opportunity for evolution. The more we understand how our emotional systems work and their impact on the mind, the easier it is to back out of a reaction and choose to feel differently.
In this setup, the proposition is that emotional sovereignty is the key. There are many techniques that can be employed to make an emotional shift. The more we become practiced in this capability, the more time we spend in the mindsets that are kind to ourselves, kind to others, and allow greater capacity for creativity, innovation, and seeing resources.
A Path to Emotional Sovereignty
Note: Emotional sovereignty requires techniques that work with the full spectrum of human emotion; both negative and positive feelings. The negative ones especially need our attention in order to be gathered up and brought into alignment with how we truly want to feel.
Step 1: Notice you’re feeling a way you don’t want to feel and make a choice to feel differently.
What is key here is the concept of deciding. Don’t hope. Hope puts your power outside of yourself and is subject to your environment. DECIDE. Choose with full commitment, that you will feel differently.
Step 2: Invite in the feeling you want to feel.
There are limitless ways you can choose to feel. Instead of feeling sad, you can choose to feel empowered. Instead of feeling angry, you can choose to feel brilliant. Whatever the mind sets its attention on, the body will respond as if it is happening. Choose a feeling with all your heart and invite it in.
— You can invite it in by remembering a time you felt that way before
— Imagining a future version of you who feels it
— Remembering someone else you saw feeling that way, and embodying their character. This technique is called anchoring.
The key, above all, is to allow this new feeling into your body, and to hold it there as long as you can. Here are a list of positive feelings you can pivot to just to give you some thought starters: Smart, curious, empowered, powerful, silly, fun, playful, loving, warm, cozy, easy, innovative, creative, unstoppable, attractive, and witty.
If you try and try again and this isn’t working, it’s time to give the negative emotion some attention so we can gather it up and transmute it. Below, we present The Healing Paradigm formula. When a dissonant feeling is continuing to show up unresolved, it is asking for resolution. This is a good time to create some time and space for yourself to process these feelings, so you can regain freedom of choice within.
Note: if the feelings you have are really intense, it may be wise to work with a professional practitioner to help you move through it. Check out Mindlight’s 1-on-1 session offerings, if this kind of support is what you need.
The Healing Paradigm
Step 1: Get in touch with the negative emotion
This means to feel it. Instead of avoiding it, wishing it wasn’t there, or pushing it down, bring it up inside yourself and allow yourself to feel whatever it is (sadness, shame, guilt, anger, fear, or otherwise). Some thoughts can come with many emotions all packed together. This is normal and welcome in this practice.
Step 2: Meet the emotion with friendliness
In this step you begin to touch on the alchemy of emotional healing. When a negative feeling is met with friendliness, acceptance, and well-being, it calms down and re-integrates into your body as available energy that you can do with what you choose. In practice, this looks like saying to yourself, “Hey sadness, it’s okay that you’re here. I’m listening.” And then really listen. Or, “I’m angry! And it makes sense I feel this way. I accept that I’m angry.” Meet the feeling the way you would listen to a friend who was telling you about their situation; with kindness, warmth, accepting and understanding. In this practice, it is common that the feeling will get stronger before it begins to calm.
Step 3: Engage your body
Emotions are stored in and felt through the body. In the process of shifting an emotion, it is critical that the body is involved, expressed, and communicated to. You can think of your body in this moment like a vehicle that is holding both a scared animal and a wise elder. While feeling the emotions and meeting them with kindness, find ways to move the energy in your body. Techniques include: Tapping, applying pressure to your arms by squeezing, rocking back and forth, shaking, going on a brisk walk, exercising, or dancing. By allowing your body to express the feeling, it is clearing it out of your system. Once it is cleared out, you create internal space and the choice to feel how you want can return.
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