I sometimes wonder does life ever get simple? I asked myself this question a few times this month as this month has been a particularly complex one. Multiple relationships in my life required a great deal of attention and care, one of them being my aging Mom. Relationships are so complex to begin with. They become even more complex as we age. It became clear to me why researchers call my middle-age group the “sandwich generation.” It is called this as we are aging ourselves yet caught between still raising teens and young adults as well as caring for aging parents. Not the most appetizing sandwich, but rather, real life. There was a lot of juggling and schedule changing but it wasn’t until I stilled that I noticed the emotions underneath it all.
Grief hit me hard. I could feel it throughout my whole body. I felt heavy and sluggish and my mind was full. It is during heavy and complicated emotional times that we need to recognize the mind/body connection the most because if not it becomes complicated. All emotions have a bodily correlate. Every emotion we feel lands in the mind and the body in some way. As a somatic psychotherapist I work with my clients in this way. I want them to understand how heavy emotions truly leave your body feeling heavy as well. Grief is one of those for me. It may be different for you. It is important to discover what lies in the emotional body and physical body at the same time to keep an integrated awareness and not get carried away by either feeling or sensation, as both can create much deeper complications if you do. Rather, come back to your breath and answer the questions below taken from the practice Feeling Emotions In The Body in my book:
1) Take a comfortable seat, eyes softly closed. After a few breaths, notice what feelings are with you in this very moment? Not yesterday, not earlier, but right now.
2) See if you can now locate where you can feel this feeling in your body in this very moment. Once located, simply label it as pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.
3) What does my body know about this feeling?
When we turn toward a feeling and a bodily sensation and simply label it simply, we disengage from all the other noise surrounding it. Try it out next time life gets complex.
These are a few of the questions from the practice. To read more see the information below on my book, Befriending Your Body: A Self-Compassionate Approach to Freeing Yourself From Disordered Eating