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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Embracing Your Feelings

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m spending the week in Ojai, CA going through coach training with Gay & Katie Hendricks (I’ve been a huge fan of their work for years!). One of the main things we’ve been talking about is body awareness, or how to get in touch with and really embrace your feelings.

For most people, feelings are something we typically avoid. They might feel “icky” and pop up when we least expect them, and so the last thing we want to do is actually embrace them! Yet really feeling your feelings and allowing them to be as they are can not only solve many of your problems, but also leads to a much richer expression of both yourself and your life. Often times we are so scared of feeling our emotions that we play small and avoid situations that might trigger them in any way. Addictions are actually based on the unwillinginess to explore and feel various feelings.

I'd like to share an exercise with you I learned this week, which explains one way to get in touch with your feelings. My hope is that it will show you how easy it can be to explore our emotions, and that doing so regularly can radically increase the enjoyment of our lives!

Start by selecting a particular feeling you want to concentrate on during this exercise. It could be a feeling you’re experiencing right this very moment, or you can use your imagination to conjure up an emotion you’ve had in the past which causes you discomfort. (Note: you don’t have to select a “negative” emotion, you can also use “positive” emotions, like joy or happiness, which you have trouble experiencing to their fullest extent.)

Once you’ve selected an emotion, tune into your body and turn your attention inward. Take a few deep breaths to get centered, if you’re not already there, and tune out all outside distractions as best as you can. Now, scan your body internally and become aware of the particular emotion that you’re exploring. Locate the feeling and ask yourself the following questions:

• Where do I feel this particular emotion in my body?
• What does it feel like, i.e. what sensations I am feeling?
• Does this feeling have a certain shape or texture to it? If so, describe it.
• Does this emotion have any color to it? Which one?
• Finally, if this feeling could talk, what would it say to me? Does it have a particular message to give me at this time?

As you do this exercise, notice if the feeling changes in any way. For example, has it moved to a new location in your body, changed shapes, or adopted a new texture? Also, does it have any new messages to give you as the exercise goes on?

For many of you, this may feel uncomfortable if you’ve never gotten in touch with your feelings like this before. Most of us spend so much time in our heads that we spend very little time getting in touch with our bodies and the various sensations we experience within it. Don’t worry about whether or not you are giving the correct answers to the questions. There are no right or wrong answers! Just go with whatever comes to mind, and allow yourself to feel and think whatever comes up.

Doing this exercise on a regular basis could be the beginning of a life-long romance with your feelings! Instead of running from them or trying to control them as we normally do, I invite you to try exploring and embracing your feelings. View them as messengers with important information to relay to you, rather than inconveniences or annoyances to be avoided at all costs.

The more you listen carefully to your emotions and allow them to be as they are, I think you'll find that your life runs much more smoothly, and is filled with all the joy, abundance, and love you could ever imagine! :-)


  1. Learning to flow your feelings can truly be life transforming! It can be really, really uncomfortable at first if you have deeply suppressed your feelings for a long time. It does get easier the more you do it. I like to ask the question "Can I welcome this feeling?" (which I picked up from the Sedona method). Being able to welcome sadness, anger or fear is quite empowering. Once you're more comfortable really tuning in to your feelings, another thing you can do is amp up the feeling as big as you can, really let it rip and make it as strong as possible - in my experience a lot of the time when you do this, it gets bigger and bigger and then POOF it just evaporates into nothingness. It's pretty cool :)

  2. Wow, Karen, I really like that! :)

    We learned the technique of making it bigger this week, too. Also, using your body or your hands to act out the feeling can help. Really the point is just to get in touch with your feelings and express them as they'd like to be expressed, rather than running from them or suppressing them like you said.

    Thanks for stopping by, and especially your comment! Always nice to see you here:)

  3. How to "Feel" Feelings?. or How do i know that i am really feeling and feeling "adequately"? When i say adequately, i mean the intensity with which you feel the feelings. How to confirm this to myself? Thanks.

  4. What if the message the emotion is giving you is irrational and coming from fear?