Coloured portrait

Coloured portrait

Monday, March 5, 2012

Seven Steps to Dealing with Toxic Emotions

All thoughts and uttered or written words are prayer, especially for one with a powerfully creative mind. I have watched myself create ‘coincidences’ much too often, much too obvious, not to notice.

I have been wondering about the best, most effective way to pray consciously. Whether I can control my thoughts or not, it is arguable; but I can certainly choose which quality of thoughts I strengthen and nourish, and which I let go of – where to focus my attention, and where to tune out. My marriage has been my learning ground, and my husband’s mental presence has made this challenge demanding, but also rewarding, because he is so easy to influence, that I can test my thoughts with him with immediate response.

Emotions add a profound dimension to thoughts, because they fuel and motivate the mind, when the mind is unconscious, to either repress, or to project, or, actually, both. Primal emotions are pure energy designed to fuel one’s actions towards self-preservation; they are our instinctual, pre-rational impulse we share with animals in our survival, and, seen as information, they inform the system with needs that haven’t been met, from basic safety to more sophisticated needs such as intimate connection, consideration, freedom of expression etc.

Emotional expressions can be powerful, and decisive in whose energy will dictate the atmosphere in a room. In one instance, a spiritually advanced Master walks among the crowd, in perfect silence, and everyone around them starts to laugh, swept away by an invisible wave of joy. In another instance, a charismatic failed painter turned politician, engages in emotionally expressive public speaking that persuade the masses to follow his mind, willingly participating in the largest mass murder crimes known in humanity’s history.

So what is it that makes one’s mind lead? What are the hidden factors that cause a group of people to be infected by a murderous mind rather than a joyful and compassionate one? If Hitler and the Dalai Lama were together in a room, whose mind would lead, and why? The science of memetics proposes looking at human thought as a highly transmittable virus that follows none other but its own selfish interest. The question is, why do some get contaminated easier than others? Are some individuals more susceptible than others? Are some more powerful transmitters than others?

That my mind is powerful, I have no doubt: it’s even been proven by technology: I had three Focusing sessions with Cielle, a talented, empathetic shaman healer from the U.S. The sessions were conducted over skype, computer to computer, and we could see and hear each other.
Whenever we chatted, sound was clear. As soon as I was silently focusing, a noise started which lasted until I was done focusing, and we resumed our chatting.

Throughout the years I have noticed bad things happen to people who did things to me that I had found harmful: two bosses who fired me, ended up getting fired as well – the list goes on, but I’d rather focus now, and speak about the good things.

Every since returning from the Stillpoint House of Prayer in January, where sister Betty suggested I bless my husband as well as myself, I have been blessing, and praying for blessings, for myself and others, every day.
I noticed that every time I bless my husband, which I usually do silently or whispered, and in a different room from where he is, he yawns and sighs out loud, like people do when releasing tension and becoming calm. At first I thought that maybe it is a coincidence – but this is too consistent an occurrence to be. Just last night he was downstairs, in the basement, at the computer, and although I don’t know with certainlty what he was doing, I could feel the energy of anger, hate and conflict arising throughout the housoe from the basement. At first, I was unconsciously drawn to it, and projecting it back at him, mentally entertaining thoughts such as “I hate him! He’s a hate monger, and I bet he’s bitching against this and that group of people again on Facebook, poisoning the atmosphere in the house and in the world!”

I had entered a trance similar in vibration to the one he was in – and when I woke up from the trance, and I sat on a chair in the living room, praying. I put my hands together in front of my heart, and prayerd: “Dear God, please bless my husband with your Infinite, Eternal kindness, wisdom and power, peace and joy! Please bless him with awakening; bless his soul, heart and body. Bless him, bless Him.”

I wasn’t even done praying when I heard a big yawn with a sigh coming from downstairs, and then he came upstairs, went to bed, yawned some more, and slept.

I continued to go in and out of the trance, between the feelings of anger and hate, wanting to pick up a fight with my husband, and awakening through self-inquiry: “What is the wise, kind and empowering thing to do?”
I am very careful not to repress emotions, and I am still learning, and I am very much curious to learn the optimal way to be and act as emotions arise. I am a sensitive, emotional empath, keenly aware of emotions around me, and I cannot easily tell my emotions from the emotions of others, but I am committed to own my own experiences, regardless of the trigger, and own my emotions, and not project them on others. It takes wisdom, kindness, awareness and discipline to own emotions, express them in a healthy way, and neither project them, nor repress them, and it takes practice.

I have learned how to bless when I have the urge to curse. To have a genuine relationship, with communion, I would use the emotions as information about my needs, and I would state my request, as Marshall B. Rosenberg teaches in his book and programs of nonviolent communication. But hubby is a self-absorbed narcissist, and twelve years of experience have taught me that placing such requests with him is useless, because he doesn’t care enough to respond. So I am looking at ways to provide for meeting my own needs, which needs are indicated to me by the emotions.

A mind that is powerful leads; so does the loudest emotional expression: the most emotionally expressive individual  leads and dictates the atmosphere in the house or room. Here I have a disadvantage: when hubby expresses his hate or anger out loud, I find it difficult to connect with joy and to express joy louder than his hate.

But I have a significant compensating advantage: I have the blessing of a conscious mind – and it’s the conscious awareness that leads, because a blessing is to curses what light is to darkness, and there is not enough darkness in the world that cannot be dissipated by the light of one single candle.

So, what I have learned so far for optimal living when dealing with toxic emotions, is:

1.     1 -   Be aware, stay conscious and present!

I can read energy kinesthetically, feeling them inside and outside my body. In my private therapy practice, I have noticed that when a person is disconnected from their body and emotions, the unprocessed emotions feel like a cloud of stuffy, nauseating energy surrounding the person. When that happens, I use verbal cues to guide the person to connect with the emotion, and process it, and when they do, the integration process feels as if they ‘vacuumed cleaned’ the emotion inside their body. The process if accompanied by a shift and a release of tension in the space between us.

Emotions per se are not toxic; only when shoved away in the shadows of the unconscious mind, they become toxic, like stagnant water that stinks. It is only in an unconscious state that this toxicity becomes contagious, and when two or more individuals unconsciously project emotions on each other, it escalates from fight to battle to war.

2.       2 - Bless, pray, maintain a positive vision of goals

Being with what is gets you enlightened, like Siddharta Gautama; being with what could be, makes you an inventor and conscious creator of reality. If all the individuals whose legs hurt from climbing endless flights of stairs would have meditated on their pain and did nothing else, we wouldn’t have elevators today. People who live in the future have invented – first mentally, then physically – cars, airplanes, personal computers, smartphones and all the goodies that your great- grandmother would not believe you are playing with.
The truth is, when someone is dumping their emotional garbage on you, it sucks. I feels awful, but those are feelings, and not thoughts. You can feel tired, anxious or sad, but you can still decide to bless, pray, and envision a better future.

3.      3 -  Stay present with negative emotions, as they are arising; and briefly express them, bringing them to their peak, using your voice, breath and body movement.

Ask yourself, what do I feel, and were? Do not suppress or repress emotions, because the last thing you want is that energy to stay trapped, recorded in the memory of your cells. If due to circumstances you can’t express your emotions physically in the moment, silently tell yourself: “I’ll deal with this later.” When you have a moment to yourself, preferably the same day as the occurrence, sit quietly, and recall the events that triggered you. “What went on?” ask yourself; and, “How do I feel about it?”

4.     4 -  Relate with the other whenever possible using the Nonviolent Communication (NVC) formula

The formula is: Relate the facts; identify your feeling about the facts, taking ownership for the feelings; identify the unmet need, as pointed to by the feelings; state a clear request for specific action.

5.       5 -Uncover the authentic emotion through the 3-2-1 Shadow Integration Process; own your emotion

Authentic emotions, when repressed, are projected upon a “you”, so they appear in second person, and then, with further distancing from the subject, “I”, they become an object “it”. For example, when you decided that anger is bad, and repressed it, you disconnected from it: “I am not angry!”; then projected it on a ‘you’: “When I look at you, I can see how angry you are! You are so angry!” (but not me, I am not like that); then you objectify it: “Look! There are so many angry people over there!” The Shadow integration process, beautifully described in the book “Integral Life Practice”, consists of three easy, 3-2-1 steps: Face it; Talk to it; Become it.

6.   6 -    Spend more time in resourceful, positive mental and emotional states which allow for the visions of goals and dreams fulfilled.

The more time you spend in certain states of consciousness, the faster they become permanent traits, says Ken Wilber, author of “Integral Vision”. If you are tired and feeling low at work, then cultivate joyful states after hours; if the home environment drags you down, then find a corner of the house that only you access, and turn it into your refuge and sanctuary, and spend all the time possible in it meditating, contemplating, dancing, reading, painting, writing, gardening – in other words, cultivating positive, resourceful states.

7.   7 -     Focus on the inner vision of the Best Positive Outcome!

It is so easy to focus on what’s wrong: just follow the crowds! It is especially difficult when the problem is in your face, when you live with it, or spend nine hours each day at the office with it. Your challenge and savior is a conscious, sustained focus on your goal, and on your experience of reaching it. Feel the relief now; your sustained goal-orientation will take you to fulfillment.

Bonus: The Yehudit Partosh factor:
Yehudit Partosh was an old owl, a yoga teacher and group leader who led her workshops and sessions out of her tiny Tel Aviv apartment on Ben Yehuda street. She spoke with a heavy Hungarian accent, and was happily married to her second husband, a playwright. We were mostly women, seeking her wisdom, forming a circle in her miniature living room, blocking the way between the bedrooms and the kitchen; so that when Yehudit’s husband went to the kitchen for his carrot and apple juice, he had to cross through our circle, and while he slowly walked back and forth, the couple would hold hands for a tender moment, looking in each other’s eyes and smiling. We were all envious of their relationship, and took our turn to complain about the big and small crimes the men in our lives committed, from leaving dirty dishes in the sink to not commit to us in marriage.

Yehudit would smile knowingly, and say: “No matter whether the man in your life is the one you will spend the rest of your life with, give him all your love! If he turns out to be the one, you have already invested in the relationship; and if he is not the one, when the right man comes along, you will have practiced loving a man, and you will be ready for him!

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