A dear friend gifted me Pema Chodron’s book Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change. I recently found myself gravitating towards this book during a period of difficult emotions. I landed on the quote below:
“Acknowledge the feeling, give it your full, compassionate, even welcoming attention, and even if it’s only for a few seconds, drop the story line about the feeling. This allows you to have a direct experience of it, free of interpretation. Don’t fuel it with concepts or opinions about whether it’s good or bad. Just be present with the sensation. Where is it located in the body? Does it remain the same for very long? Does it shift and change?”
I instantly felt a tremendous release and relief in these words. Pema Chodron offers a way to be with feelings, experience them but not fuel them. In my therapy practice I strive to do the same with clients. I help clients understand how their thought patterns impact their emotions. I assist in finding ways to release rather than avoid or block emotions. This means recognizing that each emotion we have is attached to a certain story about ourselves or a situation, for example a feeling of sadness can be accompanied by thoughts such as “I am alone, I will always be alone, I am unlovable ”. These thoughts heighten and prolong feelings of sadness. In therapy I help clients recognize their own story lines, where they come from and ways to drop them so that they can be more present, open and accepting of themselves. The next time you are confronted with a strong emotion read the quote above and see how it shifts your experience.