I was talking to one of my coaching clients this week. He was having a particularly hard day, and I told him to go and take a nap. He’d feel better, I said. He was confused. Hadn’t I been coaching him to feel his emotions, to step into them? Wasn’t the advice to go lie down and just shut the world and all its problems out a total contradiction to what I’d previously told him to do? Well, no. But I can totally see why it might seem like that. And if my client, someone I talk to personally, found this concept a little confusing, I figure some of you might, too. So, when do you confront your emotions and when do you run away and distract yourself to feel better? Never fear, my puppies, I shall tell you.
There’s a method to my madness
It may, at times, seem like there’s not much of a structure to this LOA stuff, especially to those of you who haven’t managed to read your way through my entire archives. The problem is that this is not an intellectual structure, it’s an emotional one. And yes, I totally get the irony of saying that while I basically spend my life doing my best to try and explain the whole thing in an intellectual way. But if I came at you with the emotional process, most of you would declare me a dirty hippie weirdo and run for the cities. And to be totally honest, I don’t think I’d be able to stand it either. I mean, imagine you have a “real world” problem, you and your husband just had a fight, and I come along and tell you to just be love. I’m pretty sure you’d want to at least curse at me creatively and tell me to go and do some depraved stuff to myself.
Now, I know that you puppies would like nothing better than if I came up with a ten step program for enlightenment that you could work your way through like a check list, stages you could proudly declare yourself to be at (“Hey! I’m Stage 6 now. That SOOOO much better than the poor schmucks stuck in Stage 5…”). Wouldn’t that just make it all so easy? We could just do the worksheets and shit, and wouldn’t have to actually pay attention to our own emotions anymore. That’s just so much work!
That, however, is not how it works. There is a process, a structure, but it’s emotional. That means that how you feel now determines the emotion you want to reach for next. And how you achieve that shift depends on a lot of things – your belief system, the emotion you’re currently feeling, your belief system, the problem you’re facing, your belief system, and, did I mention your belief system? Yeah, that’s important. This means that the actual, nitty-gritty steps you use to feel better are often quite customized to you. But, if you remember that the action steps are actually irrelevant, that the only thing that matters is to feel better, then you’ll understand the basics of the process. Because no matter what little details we’re talking about, feeling better is always going to be at the heart of it.
Of course, there are some guidelines to feeling better, and when to use what kinds of techniques, and that’s what today’s blog post is about. So, for all of you who want more structure, who want a bit of a map, you’re going to love me today. As well you should. You’re welcome.
So, when should you take a nap?
There’s a lot of value in distraction. When you have a crap load of momentum going, when you’re feeling like you want to rip someone’s face off, when you feel overwhelmed by negative emotion, do whatever you can to break that momentum. Go to sleep, go dance, watch a funny movie, cuddle a puppy, have some sexy time (alone or with another), eat your favorite ice cream, go on a trip, get a massage, get really drunk, smoke a little somethin’, somethin’… whatever you need to do so you can feel better will suffice. Get off the subject that’s bothering you.
When you feel like the negative emotion has “got you”, when you can’t even conceive of a more positive perspective, then use the distraction method. This situation can occur when you’re in the middle of a crisis, when you’ve just been massively triggered, or when you’ve worked yourself into a right tantrum by obsessing about what’s wrong. Basically, when you’re having a STRONG reaction, you have very little control over your focus. The momentum of what you’ve tapped into has you by the short and curlies, and trying to move to more positive territory can feel like you’re trying to move a house. With your bare hands. By pushing it. Up a hill. In the desert heat. While someone is laughing at you.
In other words, it ain’t pretty, so don’t even try. Just go and take a nap.
When should you step into the discomfort?
Negative emotion, however, should not be entirely avoided. The trick is to work with it, but only when you’re in the right condition. You don’t want to get sucked into your own personal shit pit. So, let’s say that you’ve been doing the work, you’ve been doing what you can to feel better, focusing on what you want instead of what you don’t want, and you’re seeing/feeling some results. But then one morning, you wake up and you’re just sad. So freaking sad. You could just cry. You COULD squash it, it’s not overwhelming, and in fact, that’s your first instinct. Who has time for that shit, right? Well, you should make time. In this case, you’ve created forward momentum, you’ve been moving down the path towards what you want, and you smacked right into some resistance. Some long suppressed sadness is coming up to be released. You are not overwhelmed. You are in control. What you’re feeling is the emotion, and you probably have no idea why.
In this case, you’ll want to step right into the negative emotion. You’ll want to allow it, feel it, so it can flow through you and out. By feeling it, you’ll release it. You may, as you do this, get an idea of what that sadness was actually all about, but only as the energy shifts. The thoughts that come up won’t trigger you. They will be a representation of the energy you are feeling.
Pull instead of push
Another way to look at this is to consider where you are, vibrationally, when the negative emotion hits you. If you’ve been in a high vibration, then chances are, you can safely engage with the negative emotion and shift it. If you’ve been feeling like shit lately, or even just all day, then get the hell out of Dodge.
Think of it this way: if you want to lift a piano up to the tenth floor of a building, you’d be much better off climbing the stairs and then pulling the piano up. If you try to push it from underneath, it’s going to be much harder. Not to mention that if you slip, you’re going to get squashed by a piano. By taking a nap when you feel horrible, you are doing the equivalent of climbing the stairs. If feeling better feels really, really hard, you’re pushing the piano up the side of the building. Stop it.
Sometimes, you do both…
Remember how I said that these techniques are usually custom jobs? Well, this is no exception. If you’re not sure which approach to use, try one and see what happens. You’ll figure out pretty quickly if you get any traction or not. It’s also possible that you’ll use both. First, you’ll engage with the emotion, but then you’ll realize that you’re starting to feel worse. The momentum has got you by the wobbly bits (can you tell I’ve been spending time in the UK?). So, you go and distract yourself. If the issue hasn’t been resolved, and if it’s relevant to what you’re attuning to (if it’s actively blocking what you want), it will come up again. No worries.
Basically, it all comes down to how you feel. Do what feels better, that’s the mantra. But wouldn’t it feel better to always avoid negative emotion? Well yes, if you were actually avoiding it. You see, when you start feeling better and negative emotion comes up, that’s the emotion you’ve been feeling all along, but haven’t been paying attention to. So yeah, you’ll want to let that out. You’ll want to hear the message. You’ll want to make the change it’s telling you make so you can not only feel better, but manifest what you want. In a perfect world, you’d feel good most of the time, and feel a teensy bit of negative emotion now and then, to let you know that you need to fine tune. You’d feel it, heed the message, shift and go back to being happy.
However, when all that ignoring and suppressing of emotion has caused you to build up a ton of momentum, then engaging with that emotion has to be done a little more delicately. Basically, when you want to lift a feather up that building, you need a different technique, than when your resistance has turned into a piano. That’s when I recommend sometime like the Poke and Run Technique, which you can read about here. And napping. Lots and lots of napping.