Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas

January 1, 2013

Staying in Touch with Your Own Feelings Honestly

I'm referring to I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was by Barbara Sher, 1994.

Like other psychotherapists, she advised against repressing our feelings. Like true good Buddhist meditation practictioners, she advised us to notice the dissolution of those feelings. Her secret sauce is her practical, concrete, specific and easily doable DIY exercises.

There are numerous delicious exercises throughout her books. Here I summarize only those that I find particularly useful to my clients.

(1) Regularly visit your feelings. Get in touch with them and stay in touch.
Allow them to surface.
Experience them.
Express them, release them, let them pass like a summer storm.
------ Think about something that make you tense and anxious.
------ Pretend you are a small kid with these same feelings.
------ Let these feelings rise and roll over you like a baby.
------ Cry, groan, scream (silently!) like a baby for about 1-2 minutes.

(2) Suppose the now 'you' can visit the 'you'as a kid? What would you tell the kid?

(3) What would your day be like if you don't have to worry/fear/guard/double-check, etc?

The main idea of all such exercises is to re-surface the unhealthy emotions that originated in your childhood. Once you can re-access them, recognize them, see them in perspective, they lose their evil sway over you.

In Buddhist terms, you don't need to intensify your current/adult feelings by placing them in the context of your childhood. Just observe them as they are now, and they will dissolve as that is their true nature.

However, for those who are not familiar with the Buddhist practices, placing one's feelings in the context of one's childhood intensifies them and makes them become more prominent and observable. Thus, this mental trick is very helpful for non-Buddhists.

I recommend this feeling-release exercise to my readers.

The cost to you is just 1 or 2 minutes.

The benefits ... well, just go and see for yourself!

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