WORRY to SUNSHINE
FEAR to THE MOUNTAIN`
ANGER to THE LOTUS FLOWER
During most times, but particularly during this time of the covid19 pandemic, emotions can rage. As a psychologist, I’m interested in helping people navigate emotions. Much of my work over the past many years has been transforming emotions, and ultimately releasing emotional patterns from the unconscious that interfere with a person’s health and clarity to create the life wanted. Emotions always come. They are messengers of something to pay attention to. But if they are too big, taking us over, they prevent us from clarity to take good care of ourselves.
My path has developed this technique:
-recalling and visualizing a recent event that has evoked a strong emotion
-finding the emotion in the body, visualizing the emotion in size, shape and color
-visualizing a change in this image
-releasing the emotion
This is a powerful technique as it deals directly with the emotional center of the limbic system in the brain, and avoids the ego controlled conscious mind that can resist sensing emotions. Working with the non-rational mind in the unconscious accelerates transformation, so the mind can be clear to let emotions go or take action.
I learned this technique through many twists and turns. First was the practice of yoga of bringing awareness inside the body during yoga poses or asana. This body is a laboratory to transform the mind to spiritual awareness. The chitta or the mind stuff unwinds to create a clear mind. Next was my study of Carl Rogers’ humanistic psychology which taught me to trust what was inside. If I could release emotional chatter, I could contact a creative force would lead me to emotional health.
Building on this was the teaching of Fritz Perls, another humanistic psychologist, who said that to change an emotion one had to feel it and accept it. Thank about that for a second. To change an emotion one needs to feel it. Takeshi Masui, a Japanese psychologist, gave me a technique to do this. He was the one who taught me to find an emotion in the body, visualize it and then transform it, clearing the mind for clarity.
In this period of heightened emotions, my emotional transformation technique may come in handy. I’ve simplified it for covid19 imagery, by giving specific images for the emotions. Try some of these visualizations out.
Relaxation vivifies imagery, so before trying these exercise out, get in a comfortable chair. Take 10 slow breaths. Inhale through the nose for a count of 4, hold breath for 4, exhale through the nose, Scan the body, starting with the toes, legs, groin, stomach heart, back, hands, arms, shoulders head, face, unlock your jaw. Feel your whole body getting warmer and heavier.
WORRY Think about something that happened in the last few days or weeks that worries you.
See worry in the head like a spinning pinwheel, then see a sunrise in your heart as the sun feels your whole body.
FEAR Think about something that happened in the last few days or weeks that you are afraid of.
See fear in your heart like a drumbeat, then see that you’ve become a mountain with granite growing out of the center of the earth into your feet and up through your body as you become a mountain.
ANGRY Think about something that happened in the last few days or weeks that you were angry about.
See a volcano in your belly erupting into the head, then see that you are standing in a calm body of water up to your shoulders and the water is gently swaying. A lotus flower appears in the middle of your chest.
Once the imagery has shifted, the mind clears, and one has more clarity about the message of the emotion and what one wants to do about it.
I’ve made video of these shifts. They are designed for children but adults with the young at heart may enjoy it.