How to Move Through Emotional Pain with Grace

I caught myself wanting to check out a few weeks ago. I haven’t watched the television in at least six years, and I even tried turning it on. 

Fiddling with the remote, with all its colors and buttons, it took too much energy to figure out how to press power and where to point the remote. 

So I gave up. 

I knew I didn’t really want to watch TV. I was just trying to tune out. 

God, can’t I just numb out for at least 15 minutes?

Nope, no way. The thing with emotions is that as humans, we have the opportunity and capacity to feel things. Happy, sad, ecstatic, joyful, blissful, neutral, angry, frustrated, irritated, annoyed, humorous, etc, etc, you get the point.

If we suppress, ignore, and walk away from what’s happening internally, painful or not, it just lays there dormant until we look at it, feel it, and really be in it to process it back to state of balance and neutrality. 

Pain is one of those things we will experience for the rest of our lives—it’s all a part of the human experience. What makes pain less painful, is understanding the pain and where it’s coming from. 

How do we move through it gracefully and efficiently, giving it its proper attention and awareness, without giving it power to debilitate, so you can go on with your day-to-day life? 

Do I experience pain? 

Sure, of course I do. I’m human, I’m in a body! 

But here are some ways to move through emotions of pain, suffering and grief and how to really be present with them, while simultaneously allowing them the threshold to release: 

1. Meditate.

For my practice, I sit two times a day. This allows for my day-to-day life to have a transference of this energy when I’m devoted to a daily, ritualistic, meditation practice. When I don’t sit to meditate, I feel the difference. When I’m going through something, or you know, something comes up, I get even more insulated. I’m a yogi. I have practices to do. I like to dwell in my cave. I close the doors, shut all appliances and electronics off and just be with myself. Steep in what I’m feeling and the experience I’m having. 

Yes, showing up in the world in the way that I need to in terms of my duties and responsibilities, but once they are complete, coming back in. Close the eyes, sit down and breathe. Be present with everything that arises and watch it slowly start to shift and move towards a less contracted state.

2. Write.

For my practice, I write everyday. The only difference between a thinker and a writer is that a writer writes his or her thoughts. Purge the cerebral quarters of your mind and let it all out on paper. It’s OK to use the computer to type, but writing on paper has much more connectivity to the heart as your hand is in direct relationship with the movement and motion of your energy...

Plus, keeping a notebook can be an altar of sorts when you feel like sharing your innermost feelings, thoughts, challenges, desires and aspirations. It’s amazing what comes out when the space is held for it.

3. Practice letting go. 

Learning release practices of the yogic tradition have been one of the most powerful tools I’ve been able to incorporate into my practice. Why? Because they work. 

Fire puja with the intention to clear the bodymind of all not in service to me at that present moment, with love, compassion and understanding. Offering to the fire all things that are in stagnation from me moving forward and up. Not with an energy of distaste or anger of its removal, but just allowing that which needs to be released the space to gently and in a non-aggressive manner, be released and let go. Mentally, emotionally, physically, energetically, vibrationally, cellularly. When it’s time to leave, it’s time to leave. Ciao. Toodles. Bye bye.

4. Practice A LOT.

I do everything I normally do as my daily practice, but just with more intensity and heat. Asana, chanting, singing, writing, meditating, pranayama, contemplation, reflection, all that good stuff. Fire is the quickest temperature for transformation. We go to our practice continually and devotionally, because it works. 

All pain and suffering we may feel become less and less to then completely alleviated through our practices. We trust in a greater force enabling us to have this experience and whole heartedly engage in the pain and grief, because we know that it is only temporary. For there is a higher purpose and goal for pain, endless surrender to your dharma, transcendence, and connection and union with Spirit.

5. Show up in the world. 

Feel what you need to feel and go through, but don’t go in to just stay there. Go in with the intention to come back out. Dwelling on sorrow is not good for your health. Be there as long as you need to, but don’t get too comfortable in it. 

Yes, sorrow and pain is such a beautiful dance, because it makes you softer, it humbles you, it brings you deeper down to your knees, but take what you’ve learnt and put it into your life. Put it into your service and how you show up in the world. Make it serve you as an individual as a seeker of Truth and growth. 

You gotta serve yourself first before you can serve anybody else. 

Om Shanti.

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