Catch and Release – How To Find Your Happy Place When Life Kicks You In the Nuts

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by Melody Fletcher on October 27, 2011

Mary Carol Moran (aka Lady Awesome Sauce) is a frequent commenter on this blog. As a result of an email correspondence between us, she wrote up this beautiful piece explaining how she had found peace after having been thrown for a loop by current events. I asked her if I could post it on my blog, since it’s such an awesome example of how to honor and allow your negative emotions (instead of squashing and fighting them) and then releasing them to find your way back to your happy, shiny place.

Here are Mary Carol’s beautiful words:

For me, living in a happy place doesn’t mean always feeling happy.

I want to feel all my emotions. For me, sorrow, outrage, glee, grief, all these are part of our experience as beings on the planet. Feeling these emotions in a genuine, non-reductive way is empowering on all sides.

At the same time, we can’t afford to lower our vibration. How do we do both together? I believe even a difficult emotion can raise your own, others, or many people’s vibration. We know that happy emotions transmit higher vibrations. I think experiencing and then releasing a difficult emotion can do the same.

Example 1:

The Catch

The cousin of a dear friend recently died. She was devastated. Though I didn’t know the cousin, I shared her grief with hugs and tears. Not “I want to help you”, but “I share your emotion.” I love the Spanish word for share – “compartir”: to divide with.  After a few minutes, we looked at each other. She felt better, I felt wonderful. The act of sharing the pain raised both our vibrations. This is much more than sympathy – it is actually experiencing the emotion from the other person’s perspective. And it can be incredibly empowering for both.

The Release

If you are going to experience someone else’s pain, you HAVE to be able to let it go. My ability to detach, as a person slightly removed from the death, offered my friend extra energy for her own healing. Many people find release in the form of a prayer or brief meditation. The distraction of simple gratitude can also work, “I’m so glad you are my friend.”

As an aside, someone who remains detached (“in a happy place”) also helps raise a vibration. That’s a powerful wisdom Melody offers in Deliberate Receiving. She’s given me this gift, and I appreciate it greatly. What I’m talking about here is different. It’s not about maintaining detachment, but about letting it go and then finding it again.

Example 2:

The Catch

A few years ago I almost stopped driving because of road kill. I felt the pain of each death so intensely that I wasn’t sure I could keep driving. I tried suppressing the sorrow, which of course didn’t work. Denying an emotion, locking it away in a secret room, only gives it staying power.

The Release

By trial and error, I found that I could experience a deep and acute empathy for one or two seconds, then release it completely with a brief benediction. Each release is so powerful, I wish everyone could empathize with and bless road kill. What amazing positive energy that would give the world!

Example 3:

The Catch and Release

I’ve learned in the last few days that many, many, MANY people share my horror at the death of the wild animals in Ohio. The anonymous outpouring of prayers (I haven’t been able to look at the news reports, only felt the grief and benediction) helps me find my own release. This has been the most difficult news situation for me since the Gulf oil spill (though the gleeful celebration over the deaths of terrorists ranks up there too). Coming from a basically happy place, I got thrown way off kilter by horror. It was so intense, my hard-won lessons of how to cope weren’t working. Along with meditation, deliberate gratitude, and seeking joy, the prayers of millions created a surge of energy that I could ride back to peace. Now I still feel sad but not emotionally drained, crazy happy with my life, and stronger than ever.

A last thought on LOA and Deliberate Receiving: Paradoxically, I think it’s not only possible but necessary to be able to be both profoundly happy and deeply sad at the same time. By accepting and honoring our genuine emotions, we open up space for all the goodness of life to enter. The key concept is “release.” Take the blast of pain, feel it for all it’s worth (not an ironic statement), and then release it with a benediction for the awesomeness of life.


Switching between poems and novels , Mary Carol Moran has many poems in all sorts of lovely magazines, five published novels (plus four which haven’t yet been seen in public), and two books of poetry, one of which, Equivocal Blessings, was named 2009 Book of the Year by the Alabama State Poetry Society. You can read some of the poems on her blog,

Mary Carol currently lives an idyllic life in Colima, Mexico, with her dog Gemma. When she isn’t salsa dancing or practicing yoga, she’s learning wood and stone sculpture. Life is good!

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Emilia October 27, 2011 at 16:43

This was great! I could totally relate to the roadkill thing, and I am going to try these techniques starting today. Thanks!

(Oh, and I can relate to the picture too. I’ve run across a few shrimps lately…and now I am totally craving sushi)

Mary Carol October 27, 2011 at 19:22

Thanks for your kind words, Emilia.

This morning while driving I had a sad thought (not road kill, but about a dog), released it gently, and immediately (not even two seconds), saw an adorable puppy in his front yard running in circles chasing its tail! Talk about fun validation…

Hope you have many happy puppy moments today,

Mary Carol
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Melody Fletcher October 27, 2011 at 20:26

Ha, Ha Emilia. I just had Sushi the other night. That’s probably where I got the inspiration…

When you’re able to pull yourself out of negative emotions quickly (again, as opposed to squashing or ignoring them), life gets a lot more fun. :)

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Derrek October 27, 2011 at 20:39

Excuse me ladies, but are ‘sushi’ and ‘shrimp’ euphemisms for something else or is it just my male brain marinating in gutter-juice again? Because between the words ‘Sushi’, ‘Shrimp’, ‘other night’, and ‘Micro-Willie’ in the same context, I could swear there’s a hidden meaning in there somewhere. =|

… God, this comment could turn really awkward really fast. I can feel you staring at me with the Eye Of Disgust already.

Melody Fletcher October 27, 2011 at 21:00

Oh Derrek, *shakes head*

I used to have an eye of disgust but I had that sucker lasered away. It was hideous.

I had Maki Sushi for dinner a couple of nights ago. It was delicious. There was nothing even remotely dirty about it.

See, I think I know what happened here. You read the word “Willie”, which immediately got you thinking about your junk, something you’ve no doubt spent a great deal of time thinking about (penis), which means it’s really easy for your mind to go there (penis). Essentially, you put on your “willie” (penis) glasses and then everything you saw from then on seemed a bit, um, euphemism-y (or penis-y). Really, it’s the Law of Attraction’s fault for bringing more and more dirty thoughts…(penis) There’s a whole new explanation of a dirty mind for you! Ha.

So, basically, it’s not the blog, it’s you and your habit of thinking Willie (penis) thoughts. I’ll bet that even this reply seemed suspect to you. You may have an illness or something. I probably just saved your life (or penis).

You’re welcome.

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Derrek October 28, 2011 at 05:26

Uh-huh, uh-huh….I get what you’re saying Melody, I really do… but I can’t shake this feeling that there’s a hidden meaning somewhere in this comment as well. So subliminal, so subtle…yet it’s there. What are you saying beneath those words, Queen Melody? Is ‘penis’ a euphemism for something? :p

Btw, my sides hurt now. Haha! :D

Derrek October 27, 2011 at 20:29

Lady Awesome Sauce,

Excuse my bad grammaring, but you keep getting Awesomer with every comment, and now with this post. So simple, yet so meaningful. No wonder you write poetry, because isn’t that what poetry is all about? Simple, beautiful words that hide / hold deeper meaning?

After reading about your feelings on roadkill, I dare say that your love for animals is a huge reason why you’re able to be happy a lot. Isn’t it? I volunteer at the animal shelter every week, and believe it or not I think the animals help me more than I help them. They have a way of keeping you in the moment, kinda’ like children only they don’t nag you for things or ask you dumb questions. *phew!* ;)

Oh and Melody, from now on I am officially the “knighthood-er” of this blog. So friggin’ glad to see ‘Lady Awesome Sauce’ (thanks, and you’re welcome ;) ) made official up there that I’m going to name-stamp anyone I see fit from here on. No one is safe!

Mary Carol October 27, 2011 at 20:50

Hey Awesome Derrek! Thanks!

I volunteer at a couple of animal shelters too. How about if we put in a joint plug for everyone to adopt from shelters? You’re now the official co-sponsor.

Makes sense that you would be the knighthood granter, aka King, since according to Wikipedia your name means “ruler of the people.” Go Derrek!

Smelly paws and wet noses,

Mary Carol
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Melody Fletcher October 27, 2011 at 21:09

Waaaaait just a minute there Mary Carol. I quite like to think of myself as the queen, so Derrek can’t be the king. He can be the, um, official bestower of names. Like someone who baptizes others. What are those dudes called again? Oh yeah, priests.

Derrek the priest.
The dirty, dirty priest.
Yep, that fits.

Oh, and I used to volunteer at an animal shelter when I lived in Vegas. Those doggies definitely kept me sane for a while there.

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Mary Carol October 27, 2011 at 21:43

Sorry Melody! I wasn’t thinking King of the Blog, but something more generalized, like King of the… World of Naming?? How about St. Derrek the Baptist? Nah. (shakes head)

Making a nice curtsy to Queen Melody!
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Derrek October 28, 2011 at 05:21

Do I have to wear long robes if I’m a priest? Because those look uncomfortable…and unfashionable. Unless of course I’m a rogue priest and am allowed to wear a black trench-coat and ride a Harley and have a cool catchphrase like “You *while pointing at other person*…have just been named! *ride off into horizon*”. I could live in the icy mountains with wolves, too. That’ll be awesome! Otherwise, I’m Lord Derrek : Master of the Namesworlds and Ruler of The Realm of Euphemisms!

Oh and yes, everyone should definitely, definitely adopt from animal shelters…but only if they’re willing to take full responsibility and make sacrifices, never out of pity alone. Those animals need love and care, not just a roof above their heads. :) Definitely agree, Mary Ca —-ermm, Lady Awesome Sauce! :)

Melody Fletcher October 28, 2011 at 16:38

Black trench coat, Harley and cool catch phrases are not only allowed, they are mandatory for all positions of higher office. We are very Matrix-y around here. The icy mountain and wolf thing is optional. I prefer a hot tub and a labradoodle.

I’m going to take a wild guess here and say that you have at one time or another either A.) dabbled in the world of Dungeons and Dragons or B.) are a rabid fan of the Lord of the Rings. Or both. I’m gonna go with both.

But, as is fitting, you have named yourself. Why didn’t Lady Awesomesauce and I think of that? It’s brilliant. :)

Derrek October 29, 2011 at 17:52

I love your (higher office) style, Melody. :)

Haha! Actually I have never played Dungeons and Dragons, but you’re totally right on the Lord of the Rings. Rabid, avid, diehard fan. Favorite movies of all time. What gave it away? ;)

Jill October 27, 2011 at 22:42

Great article about processing emotions! I love ‘catch and release.’

Mary Carol October 28, 2011 at 02:18

Thanks Jill!
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patricia October 27, 2011 at 23:09

This was a lovely introduction Melody and I was so pleased to read Mary’s words

That release part is so important, it is a sticking point for me and it is good to have a reminder and a little solution/activity to finding the release.

Thank you for these good words. I appreciated everyone.
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Mary Carol October 28, 2011 at 02:25

Thanks Patricia, and thank you Melody for the introduction!

The hardest for me to release is when humans harm animals. I get so angry that I literally can’t see straight for awhile. For me it comes down to remembering to say thank you. There’s always something good to notice in the world, and once a little bit of gratitude seeps in, it acts like yeast to float everything back up.

I appreciate your kind comments!

Mary Carol
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Melody Fletcher October 28, 2011 at 16:40

You’re so welcome Mary!

Patricia, I thought Mary Carol’s points was so beautifully written, her words definitely deserved to be read by as many people as possible. Just glad I could be there to witness it. :)

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Peter October 28, 2011 at 01:38

This is truly powerful stuff!

I’ve been a teensy bit sceptical of the ‘you don’t get what you want unless you feel good and vibrate higher’ mantra and I’m sure we all know of people who’ve landed good stuff while being down in the dumps.

What’s important here is the person you become in the process and the manifesting power behind that strengthening of your being here on earth. We won’t ever avoid calamities around us (unless we relocate to a cave) so how you deal with these situations is just as powerful, if not more so, than just simply being ‘happy’ about them which will probably involve delusion, the ‘bad’ kind, and some latent resistance to what’s going on.

Wonderful stuff, and a lovely reminder for me, thanks!

Mary Carol October 28, 2011 at 02:39

Hi Peter!

I’ve shared your skepticism. As a poet, I made a decision not to avoid anything. Some powerful poems come out of really difficult times (not immediately, but on reflection). For me, doing the best we can in any given moment is a reachable and powerful goal. Analyzing can be helpful (I’m a certified nerd), but over-analyzing rarely goes anywhere.

Like Melody says, if we enjoy where we are right now, we have the best possible chance to also enjoy where we’ll be next. And when we’re looking with our eyes open, the good stuff keeps rolling in…

Virtual hug,

Mary Carol
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Jo Heath October 28, 2011 at 02:25

Mary! You’re a different person in Mexico than you were in Alabama. Odd, that.

Mary Carol October 28, 2011 at 03:14

Hi Jo!

It’s great to hear from you. It’s certainly true that I’m a lot happier living in Mexico. Something about salsa, sculpture, yoga – movement and creativity are great outlets for stress. I do miss my friends in Auburn though. Say hi for me, okay?

Congrats and continued success with your writing. You deserve the accolades!

Mary Carol
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Pj Zafra October 28, 2011 at 06:30

Hello Melody,

Great post here! I simply love it! It’s always small and simple things that we do constantly that can make a change no just in our lives but in others as well. I completely understand that a hug can make a person feel so much better. I could also say that I relate to the 3 examples you’ve shared here. It’s always tough losing someone special or seeing someone losing someone special. Best thing we can do is be there for that person. Same goes for animals. They bring tons of joy and beauty into this world and it’s just sad to see them killed and not taken care of.

Thanks for sharing this post! keep it up! :D
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Melody Fletcher October 28, 2011 at 16:41

Hi Pj,

Thanks so much for the feedback. These were Mary Carol’s words, though. :) I’m really glad that you agree on how valuable they are.

Huge hugs to you (and yes, I do believe a hug can change the world. Depends on who’s doing the hugging and who’s being hugged. he, he. )

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PJ Zafra October 29, 2011 at 19:37

Hey Melody,

You’re welcome and sorry I didn’t see Mary’s name. lol haha hugs back to you then! It can definitely change the world. :D
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Mary Carol October 29, 2011 at 18:55

Thanks for the encouragement, Pj!

You make a great point about small and consistent actions. When we can find a way to live in the present, moment to moment, then the actions of those small moments become everything. Melody says the same thing about DR, that the best way to shift a vibration is little by little, feeling by feeling, moment by moment. Result: happy puppies everywhere!

Namaste and hugs,

Mary Carol
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PJ Zafra October 29, 2011 at 19:44

Hello Mary,

Love the post! Sorry I didn’t see your name at first. We would all love to see happy puppies! So let’s do everything we can to see them. :) Keep it up! Hope you and Melody have a great weekend!
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Mary Carol October 29, 2011 at 20:50

No problem, Pj! I’m moving this weekend — semi-controlled chaos. Several friends are helping, so it’s also lots of fun. Hope you are enjoying the weekend to the max too.

Mary Carol
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Bill Haynes October 28, 2011 at 20:05

Nice work MC! I especially like the notion of experiencing all types of emotions. . .nothing worse than going through life with a vacuous smile, never taking chances or reacting honestly to the things reality brings to us. Kudos!

Mary Carol October 29, 2011 at 03:54

Thanks Bill!

Vacuous smiles, avoiding chances and not reacting honestly are the inverse of the philosophy of Deliberate Receiving and the LOA. Authenticity and clarity, which you have in spades, make for an interesting life and an ever-growing spirit.

BTW, Bill is a gifted fellow poet. If you Google William Ogden Haynes you’ll find a bunch of his publications.


Mary Carol
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Melody Fletcher October 29, 2011 at 22:53

Couldn’t have put it better myself Mary Carol! :)

Patricia2 October 28, 2011 at 21:50

Hey Mary Carol and fellow bloggers,
Thanks for the great reminder not to get stuck in difficult emotions! When an emotion is truly felt all the way through it is pretty amazing how the contracted energy dissipates into the one big connected energy of What Is!!


Mary Carol October 29, 2011 at 04:03

Hi Patricia,

I love the analogy of contracted emotion expanding when released. What a great metaphor! Which means I’m going to steal it…

The poem I’ve referenced in the commentluv touches this subject. I have tremendous reverence for the way people find ways to celebrate life in the midst of tragic death. A good reminder for us all.

Hugs and thanks for visiting,

Mary Carol
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Jo Heath October 29, 2011 at 11:25

Vibration alert for Mary Carol: Thirteen to go is now twelve.

Mary Carol October 29, 2011 at 14:53

Thanks for the laugh, Jo! You made my day. Sorry folks, bit of an inside joke here… but you can laugh along like hyena’s anyway.

Hugs, namaste, have a happy smiley puppy day, everybody!

Mary Carol
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Jo Wharton Heath October 29, 2011 at 11:48

Mary Carol, your Colima sounds heavenly (literally). Too good to be true! It doesn’t sound like the hot spots in Mexico at all. I can remember, though, my grandmother being afraid to visit my family in Auburn because of what she’d read about murder and guns in Phenix City (sin city of the south). Obviously that was a long time ago. I am now the age she was then!

Mary Carol October 29, 2011 at 16:05

Melody, I think Jo raises, maybe unconsciously (LOA at work!), an interesting question, at least for me.

What does Deliberate Receiving have to say about sensing danger? I’ve felt uncomfortable physically in a small town in Alabama and totally safe in the middle of the night in New York City. Despite the news, I feel as if where I live in Mexico is about the safest place I’ve ever been. Do we trust the intuition that a place or situation could be dangerous? And how do we distinguish between prejudice and intuition? Whoa – there’s a big ticket item!

If you’ve written about this before, please point me in the direction to read your words. If not, maybe this topic would make an interesting post some day?

What does everybody else think?? (if you’re still following this post…)

Once again, hugs and a lovely morning to you all,

Mary Carol
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Melody Fletcher October 29, 2011 at 23:08

Wow Ladies, this is one hell of an awesome question. And Mary Carol, you’re so right. This deserves its own blog post. I’ll do my best to write it up within the next week (keeping in mind that I have Halloween to get through, LOL.) My head is already spinning with answers! :)

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Jo Wharton Heath October 29, 2011 at 17:27

Good question, Mary Carol. I want to say that prejudice is intuition with attitude, but sometimes prejudice colors your glasses rosy instead of dark. A person tends to trust someone who looks like Mother Theresa, even as she describes the investment plan that promises to double your money.

Mary Carol October 30, 2011 at 03:56

Interesting thought that prejudice works both ways, too rosy as well as too dark. I bet Melody will have words of wisdom that cut through the heart of the knot. Can’t wait! (no pressure… hee hee)

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Debbie October 30, 2011 at 01:13

Im a great believer in hug energy – my family thrives on it. A hug can say so much and transmit so much energy that words just can’t. I will try to work on releasing other peoples pain though – as mum I am the receptacle for all the emotion in our house.
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Mary Carol October 30, 2011 at 04:15

Hi Debbie,

I remember when my daughter would tell me about a problem, and then she would feel better and I’d feel worse! It’s easy to accumulate the hurts of everybody, especially as a mom. The idea here is to consciously think, okay, I’m now letting go of this pain. I’m not going to carry it around with me. You’re really giving a shot of self-confidence to the other person that they can take care of themselves.

You’re so right that hugs go a long way and nourish the giver as much as the receiver. Sending hugs to you! Thank you so much for your comments.

Mary Carol
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Melody Fletcher October 30, 2011 at 15:24

Hey Debbie,

Welcome to Deliberate Receiving!
You can learn not to let your family’s energy affect you by detaching from their pain (not easy with people you love, but it can be done). This doesn’t mean that you stop loving them or caring about them, just that when you talk to them, you see them at their best. You don’t empathize. This will keep your own energy high, keeping you from being drained and will actually help them recover faster. See people for who they really are. Know that they will find a way out of their pain and that you can’t get miserable enough to make them happy. But if you stay in your place of light you can light their way back. :)

Huge hugs!
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