(Re)connecting to emotions – scary or adventurous?

I used to think that emotions were annoying, useless and non-productive. I was so focused on achieving results, that I became a master in ignoring and repressing my disappointments, hurts, sadness and other negative experiences. However, repressing emotions not only takes a lot of energy, but it also prevents you from feeling positive emotions. I used to have a lot of energy: I lived in ‘survival mode’ for most of my life. But after two car accidents, resulting in two whiplashes and two burnouts, I had to deal with limited energy. Something had to change to make my energy management more sustainable. I realized that to lead a balanced life, all emotions need to be acknowledged. Moreover, to make a fresh start, past emotions need to be released. After repressing a lifetime of negative emotions, I was pretty scared of what would happen when I opened that ‘Pandora’s box’. For a while, I half-heartedly tried to get closer to my emotions on my own, but I was so unfamiliar with the territory, that I easily slipped back in my old patterns: taking distance, being strong, turning negative experiences into learnings before really feeling and processing them internally. When, after a recent major relationship crisis there were even more emotions to deal with, I knew I needed help. Just like you hire an expert when you want to learn something new, I found a great coach specialized in exploring your feminine energy and emotions.

Guided Meditations

First I received three meditations that completely changed my outlook on this ‘emotional integration’ journey. So far I had looked at this ‘project’ as something unpleasant I HAD to do. It was unchartered territory for me, I was afraid of what I would find, scared to be overwhelmed by emotions, feared that I would lose control, would not be able to function as I was used to. Yet these podcasts invited me to explore this unknown side of me, as if it was an adventure. “Exploring the wilderness of your discomfort”. A completely different mindset, one I had never even thought of. Now, in addition to my fear, I was starting to get slightly curious….

A surprising experience

My most recent visualization with my coach was so beautiful and surprising I would like to share it with you.
After a short meditation, she asked me to close my eyes and see if I could connect with my emotions. It was hard. I could not find my emotions anywhere. I was facilitating a writing retreat and was in my ‘work’ mode; highly rational. My emotions were tucked away; but where? On her invitation, I explored my body to see if I could feel anything, anywhere. Somewhere near my stomach, I could feel something move, very slightly, very tiny. I directed my attention there, and immediately I could feel a connection: tears ran down my cheeks.
She asked me to take a closer look. What did my emotions look like? Funny enough, I saw ‘air bubbles’, as you see them under water.
In the light of the air bubbles, I could see tiny figures moving. Like a movie playing inside each bubble. I assumed they represented memories and emotions.
My coach invited me to switch perspectives, to look at myself from the bubble. I sneak my attention into one of the bubbles and see small figures banging against the ‘window’ where I am seated, to get my attention. They dance, wave, jump, all inviting me to come in. The coach asks me if I want to explore a bubble by going in. I am scared of what I will find in these bubbles. What memories and emotions are stored there. Will I be able to ‘handle’ them? But I know I am here to take this step into the unknown, so a bit reluctantly I say ‘yes’. She asked me which one I would like to explore. I have no idea what is in each bubble, so I decide to choose the one I have just ‘visited’, with the figures inside that were so eager to invite me in.
This is a huge step out of my comfort zone. To deliberately open myself up to unknown emotions. I feel very vulnerable and ’small’. But I do it. I step into the bubble, ready for whatever memory or heavy emotions it will bring. To my surprise, there is no movie, no memory, no emotion. As soon as I step into the bubble, the many tiny figures burst into applause. They cheer me on, welcome me, dance around me and celebrate. There is a huge party table in the middle of the bubble. They say ‘Finally you are here. Welcome! Congratulations. We have been waiting for you almost all your life!’ I am overwhelmed by this surprise, by this support, by this feeling of belonging. I am relieved that it is not heavy and scary. Again I feel tears, but at the same time, I am smiling. The tiny figures and the party in an air bubble: who could have imagined this?
But we are not done yet. The tiny figures crowd into a small hallway I had not yet noticed in the back of the bubble. They invite me along. They take me down a narrow corridor, which apparently connects all bubbles. They show me around and proudly explain it is a storage system, for all my memories, experiences and emotions. I am overwhelmed and impressed. All this is mine? They created it for me? They have all been working to facilitate me to reconnect to my memories and emotions?
My coach invites me to ask what is the best way to access all this. The figures don’t need any prompting. They take me by the arm and guide me to a room which turns out to be a miniature cinema. “Any time when you are ready, you just sit down here,” they explain, “and will show you what you need to see.” They point at the big screen. “We have had a LOT of time to think about this, so we know exactly what you need, when and in what order.” Reassuringly they say “leave it all to us, we will guide you through the process.” I feel so surprised, but also safe and supported. Everything seems so easy, so natural.
My coach asks if there is anything else they want to show me. The images I see shift to ‘outside’ my body. I see a construction project in full swing. The figures are connecting cables between my head and my heart. Later they will add cable carts to make communication and connection easier. Wow, so symbolic!
I’m so moved by this visualization, by this discovery. I really feel supported by these tiny figures, which are probably symbolic for my higher self, some inner force or external guidance. This experiment of accessing my emotions has not been scary or overwhelming at all, as I had feared. It’s been heart warming, reassuring, funny and surprising. I feel triggered to explore more. And I know it’s time. From now on I will think about (re)connecting to my emotions as adventurous, not scary.
What about you? Are you willing to explore the wilderness of your discomfort?
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