Saturday, 16 January 2016

Path to #enlightenment - step 3 of 10000000........ 'De-cluttering Emotions'

Following a request from a reader after my previous blog post (how exciting!) I am continuing with the theme of de-cluttering your emotions.


But first - why do it? Why delve into the past, why waste time ripping open old wounds? Why not just forget the past and move forwards? 


I suppose that anyone who feels like they need to go through this process already has their own reason for doing so. Although for me this process began somewhat unconsciously, I soon realised that pushing away the negative feelings attached to my own past was precisely the thing that was keeping me from moving forwards to a life that I wanted for myself. I did this to release old beliefs, old emotional blocks - anything that was holding me back from moving onto new things in the new year.

If you are still reading at this point, it probably means that you want to release some blocked emotions, too. But where do you even start? That's what someone asked me after reading the previous post. Based on my own experience, I have come up with these 13 tips that might help you on your own inner journey.


1. MEDITATE

Even for ten minutes a day. It will be hard and boring, and annoying at first. But sit through it. You will grow to love it, and it will give you such clarity as never before. I really think that meditation kick-started my own process of de-cluttering because it trains the mind to notice the thoughts which you are having, rather than always react to them.

2. IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS

Dealing with your emotions can be physically and emotionally exhausting, so, before you begin with this process, you really need to know your needs and make sure you can meet them. You can't change your needs, you can only accept them. I know I have a need for comfort and close, emotionally supportive relationships, so I gave myself allowance to eat junk food and ask my closest friends for help and advice. If you don't know what your needs are, I recommend watching this video by Teal Swan. The next tip should also help you identify your needs, if you don't know what they are yet.

3. 'WHAT WOULD SOMEONE WHO LOVED THEMSELVES DO?'

This is a method I picked up later on, when I stumbled across Teal Swan's teachings on Youtube (more on that - and why I'm quoting her so much - later). Our intuitive mind knows a lot more than our rational mind does. To tune into it when you have to make a decision, simply ask yourself 'What would someone who loved themselves do?' The first thing that springs to mind is the answer. If no clear answer comes, it means that you don't have to make a decision at this given moment. It's a practice that helps you recognise your intuition and discover self-worth. This video explains it more fully. 

I think that this method can be quite handy when you are going through the de-cluttering process because one side of the brain might tell you to clean up your mess right now, while the other will say to just let go, that it's fine to be in a state of chaos for a while. It's quite likely that one of the answers comes from your social conditioning, while the other comes from an authentic source - you. 

4. TAKE THE TIME OFF - OR START RIGHT NOW


I don't know if this process of de-cluttering your emotions can really be planned for. Looking back on it now, for me things began to shift about 6 months before I reached this point - with the practice of meditation. And following various events, decisions and people that I met since, life arranged itself in a way that I had about two weeks off work to mope around and go through all of my belongings and emotions. If it feels like the right time for you, and you can take the time off work or studies, then do it. But make sure it's not a covert way of delaying the process.


5. NOTICE YOUR FEELINGS AND REACTIONS

Much has been reported about repressed memories - a lot of arguments for and against them. I would not have believed that they exist before uncovering some of my own. And, once you uncover these memories, they can shake your whole identity. But they also make you feel at home. Because a lot of your behavior patterns finally make sense. And, once they make sense, you can do something about changing these patterns. But how do you get to those repressed memories?

I think that a good starting point is looking at your own feelings and reactions to certain situations, and questioning them. More accurately - look at the most extreme, shameful or embarrassing feelings and thoughts that you have - the ones you would never admit to anyone in a million years. Without passing any judgement, ask yourself why you have these feelings and thoughts. We are all born like blank sheets of paper, completely innocent, and then various people engrave certain behaviours and thoughts in us. So these feelings and thoughts have an external cause. Your innocence - that blank sheet of paper - is always within you. You can always reclaim it. That's partly what this process is about.

6. TRUST YOURSELF

I really can't stress enough the importance of this point. This is why it is a good idea to just be by yourself for a while, especially when your feelings are raw and you are vulnerable. Some things that you unearth in this process can be quite disturbing, and you might start to doubt yourself, especially if you have no actual memory of those things happening to you. But your mind already knows all the answers, and the more you question your feelings, the more it will bring those answers to the surface. The fact that you are wondering whether certain things happened to you or not, is already a big clue.

7. HAVE A TEACHER

I read somewhere that when a student is ready, a teacher arrives in their life. Most people in our lives are teachers, if only we stop resisting the idea of how events should unfold in our life and instead we let them be, and notice the lessons that the people around us can teach us. Before I reached my own 'emotional de-clutettering' state, I met people who had new ideas and perspectives. I was introduced to Byron Katie's work, I came across some cool people online, like Jannecke Øinæs and my natural interest in Buddhism was re-ignited. And while I was going through my emotions, I stumbled upon Teal Swan's teachings on Youtube. For some reason, every video she had simply resonated with me, as if she was actually there, helping me through the process, which is why I have quoted her so many times.

But beware - there's a lot of ideas out there, and a lot of people who want to manipulate others to convince everyone that their view of the world is the only correct view. So only listen to teachers who make sense to you, resonate with you and your values. 

8. WRITE AN ANGRY LETTER TO GOD

For me, this is where it all really came out. And from that moment, I've felt a much deeper connection to God. Whether you believe in God or not, this practice is really worth doing, because you realise just how much of what you think about His judgement systems are qualities that you have attributed to people from your past, especially your parents. And, once you get all that out, you have so much more clarity - you feel connected to this source which I call God, and it's like you've never encountered Him before. To find out more about this method, watch this video by Teal Swan.




9. HYBERNATE

If you need to. Live in a mess, if you need to. For me, the process felt much like having a cold or a flu. I felt weak and physically drained, at times it seemed that things would never get better, like I'd never get out of this place, like I'd opened a can of worms. But it's fine. You're healing. The quicker you accept your feelings instead of resisting them, the quicker you will heal.

10. TALK TO FRIENDS

You will probably need time by yourself to understand what has happened in your past, and come to terms with it. But I think it's also important that, after all this, you are not alone. Talk to friends about what you're going through. But it's really important that you talk to friends who won't judge or dispute you - friends who will just listen and offer their support. I think it can be really detrimental to this process and your well-being if someone starts to argue against it, or says you shouldn't feel like this or that, or you should just forget the past and move on. Pick your friends very carefully. It may be that your most intimate friends have experienced similar things in their past, so they will not only be able to understand, but also to relate to you.

11. DON'T CONTACT PEOPLE FROM YOUR PAST

You may have an urge to contact all the people who are brought to your attention while you go through this process. Either to get angry at them for doing something harmful to you, or to tell someone that you're sorry for your actions. But I just think that it's not fair to bring up painful feelings in others simply because you are going through this process. However, I also accept the idea that an inspired action is worth taking, so if you have a surge of positive inspiration to contact someone from your past, then perhaps you should. In the first instance though, take a notebook and a pen and write a letter to that person first - without the intention of sending it. Get it all out. Read it back, leave it for a day and you may feel like this is enough to let go of the feelings related to that person.


12. REMEMBER THAT THIS STATE IS ONLY TEMPORARY

There is light at the end of the tunnel. I think it's best to forget this while you are dealing with your emotions, but if you get stuck in a place where you think that nothing will ever improve, then it is worth remembering that the reason you are doing this, the reason why your intuition has led you to this process at this given moment, is because there are big changes coming your way - really positive changes. You can't receive something good, while all that negative stuff is claiming its rightful space. Sonia Ricotti's teachings on this topic have really struck cord with me. She has a free e-book that I recommend.

13. DEAL WITH THE PHYSICAL CLUTTER

When you are ready, start to bring chaos back into order again. I definitely wish I'd read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo before I started tidying my flat. I only tried her method on my collection of books. It's simple. You just get all the books out on the floor, in one big pile, and touch each one without reading it. If you feel joy as you touch it - keep it. If it does not - you discard it (or give it to a charity shop!) It was so quick and easy to tidy this way, and left me feeling very light. But make sure you are using this method after you've dealt with your emotions because you may have some mementos or items that you can use in order to connect to a negative feeling from the past. Throwing them away before you've dealt with the feeling can be a way of resisting the process. Once you've dealt with a particular feeling, the item will no longer feel as precious, and you'll be able to let it go.




A final note...

If you uncover something dark through this process, then it is easy to either see yourself as a survivor or a victim. But I don't think that either of those states do much good, because they are like labels, and if you apply any label to yourself, then you can end up taking actions that you believe people who fit this label should take. 


You are you, in this moment, completely authentic, every cell in your body is different. What happened in the past is no longer true. It is a memory which you are simply observing, unleashing and letting go in order to move forward to bigger and brighter things. 

Best of luck and share your comments! 

2 comments:

  1. Apologies, it has taken me a while to process how my brain wishes to respond to all this. I shall definitely follow up some of your links and see where they lead me... Thanks for the follow up piece;; some really interesting ideas... I just need to remember to refer back to this as and when they are most pertinent to where I am in this process! :)

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    1. Keep me posted (if you'd like to share) - would be interesting to follow someone else's journey :) maybe we will both be enlightened by this time next year haha also here is something cool I came across about setting your goals etc - I guess this would be useful for the stage after emotional de-clutter http://www.thehappystartupschool.com/blog/2016/1/22/11-steps-for-running-your-personal-retreat-getting-control-of-your-goals?utm_source=mailchimp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter&utm_content=25thJan16

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