How do you deal with uncomfortable emotion?
Something really struck a chord on Day 3 of our last co-counselling training course.
We had constructed an 'emotional wall map' and group members were plotting the various feelings we experienced, as individuals, along two axes of 'positive/negative emotion' and 'high/low intensity emotion' - and we labelled these feelings according to what felt authentic to us (it didn't have to fit into any other person's model of what a particular feeling was called). So words like 'bouncy dog' and 'bleeeurgh', say, could as easily find their way onto this map as 'calm' or 'frustrated'. Charting our feelings like this gave us an idea of which areas of our emotional life we were comfortable with - and which, for whatever reason, we didn't allow ourselves to truly experience, to truly feel (areas it might serve us to work on in a co-counselling session).
On this particular day, there was one feeling - which the person who mentioned it described as 'nothingness' or 'blankness' - that sort of 'spiked' for everyone. Everyone could relate to it in some way - it seemed to have a group 'charge' to it.And it was interesting because for everyone in the room their particular brand of that nothingness seemed to conceal a deeper feeling, one which each was doing their best to avoid, would do anything not to face (they were 'numbing it out'). For some there was fear lurking underneath; for others anger; others still, deep loss and sadness.
It made me think. We're so unused to going to uncomfortable emotions like this - really allowing ourselves to fully experience the 'everything-nothing' - what some others call 'touching the void' - in our society and do everything we can to a-void that space.
But, in my experience, it is when we allow ourselves to feel it - and uncover the authentic emotions that lie underneath it - that we can really start to evolve - and ultimately expand into more of our being. It's like on our path to full self-realisation, each of us has to go there and face these 'demons'. And as we allow ourselves to fully feel them, they simply melt away - and we wonder why we ever allowed them to terrorise us before.
I find when I'm not avoiding anything in my psyche or soul and am OK to go to where the pain is and fully feel it, I don't feel the need to fill my body full of toxins, or my mind full of entertainment and distractions from the moment, from the void.Instead I'm ready to go to the vulnerability, the pain, the feeling at the core of that moment... and it's from that place that everything can transform. But, sometimes, in order to go there, we need to create an environment in which we feel 'safe' to explore. And that's what we do in our co-counselling groups and in some of the other workshops we run at Little White Feather.
And it seems to me that anything we can do to work through what has happened before and become clearer and freer in ourselves will stand us in good stead on our evolutionary path. What do you think? <3
Trained co-coers, there are six places remaining at our Early Bird rate on the upcoming Co-Counselling Mastery Programme: Refresh Your Skills and Build and Effective Practice Online. Find out how to sign up here. Or enrol in our next free online taster (Thursday, Jan 11, 7-8 pm) by joining our FB group, here.