Emotions. Simmering just below the surface. That low boil of stuff we cannot really put our finger on and maybe, just maybe, are afraid that if we let it come out of the shadows it will engulf us. Not sure if it is sadness, anger, denial, self-pity, rage, perhaps it is a combination of it all. As long as it stays under the surface, we think we can deal with it, ignore it, push through it, get over it.
Can we really push through it, ignore it, deal with it or get over it as long as it sits below the surface? Will something trigger it and it comes out as road rage, or rage at someone close to us? Will something trigger it and it eats us alive, creates illness in our own bodies? Will something trigger it and we do things to stuff it down further, whether that is eat our way through it, drink our way through it, use drugs, use sex?
Why are we so afraid to feel these emotions, to let them out? What damage can they really do to us that stuffing them down hasn’t already done?
I have a very close friend who has practiced Yoga for a number of years now. I refer to her as a true Yogi. Not just because she practices the postures daily but she truly lives the limbs of yoga, the codes of conduct. She once told me that her mat was her safe place. It is the place where she can be vulnerable, let her emotions out. It is here that she is present and can go inward. She doesn’t think about the other people on their mats, she surrenders to the move, the hold and the emotion that comes up. She doesn’t judge anything, and lets whatever needs to boil over the edge to do so. It is her moment and her space.
I would say that meditation has been that space for me. I have allowed a lot to come up and out during meditation without any judgement of me. I had never had that occur on the yoga mat for me. I don’t practice yoga to the same degree she does, I am inconsistent. I am beginning to do it more, and becoming less concerned with what I cannot do on the mat, and allowing my body to tell me what it needs.
Yesterday, as I was on the mat during a morning Gentle Yoga class, I felt a lot of emotions beginning to percolate under the surface. Emotions that I have stuffed down over the past week and had not allowed myself to truly feel. Emotions that I tried to ignore. That feeling of aloneness, that feeling of fear, stuffed down by eating, by working, by pretending.
As the Yoga teacher was talking us through the practice, I could feel the emotions gaining strength, and steam and moving through my body almost like a freight train heading toward my throat and my eyes. I felt the lump in my throat. I decided in that moment to surrender to whatever was happening internally and allowed it to all come to the surface. As Wayne took us into a twist, I felt the tears begin to sting my eyes and when I gazed down there were droplets on my mat. The emotions were boiling over, they were itching to escape the body I kept them trapped in for the last week or so.
I took a deep breath in and on the exhale I sighed, and what escaped was more of screech than a sigh. And the tears began to flow steadily. I could feel the emotions flowing out of me, I could not stop them and I chose not to. I was surrendering to all that was happening inside of me.
As the practice continued, so did my emotions until the end of the class. I was drained. I was exhausted. I also felt saved. I felt lighter. I felt less hindered by this weight of things I cannot control. I was no longer gripped with fear of the unknown. I was no longer angry at myself or others. I did as she once told me, left it all on the mat. I let Wayne know it was a beautiful practice, as I had never experienced such an emotional release before.
I sat there afterward and thought about what had just happened. As you know from all I talk about, that feeling it to heal it is a mantra of mine. I know the cost, physically and emotionally, of holding in feelings, of ignoring what you are feeling and just moving to get through things. I am a firm believer in feeling all that you need to in order to heal the wounds we all have. Yet, here I was afraid to let these emotions come to the surface. Letting them simmer beneath the surface instead of facing them, not allowing them to come out and no longer have a hold on me. And in the most unusual place for me, in the midst of attempting to use yoga more for my mind, body and soul, here they came, rushing out of me like they needed an escape.
Emotions should not simmer under the surface. It is not a great way to live. Ignoring them only allows them to grab a firmer grip on us, holding us down in some way. Letting these fears out and looking at them for what they are, a made up idea of what we are, where we are going, etc is the only way to move beyond them. However it works for each of us, we need to let them out. Some get them out through exercise, some through meditation, some through writing or talking, they need to come out. Once out there, we can deal with them and heal.
Emotions. Simmering below the surface. Surrender to them and let them escape, the feeling of them no longer trapped in our bodies creates a lightness that cannot be explained.