I am so happy with my emotional potty training. After I realized that I’m emotionally incontinent, I went on a quest to learn how to stand my anger, jealousy, fear, and other unwelcome feelings. I learned how to have my feelings, connect, accept and understand them and respond with compassion, mindfulness, and care for everyone.
I can proudly say that I am a little bit more emotionally continent. I still my accidents where my painful feelings overwhelm me, and I yell, blame, and judge despite my value of compassion and connection. And I’m noticing moments where I feel anger, jealousy, fear arise and maintain my calm.
I couldn’t have done it without John Kinyon and Ike Lasater’s self-connection process. This is how it might work for you.
So there you are. With your husband. You come home, and, again, he didn’t clean the counter, as promised. You think you don’t matter and that what you want doesn’t count. Angry thoughts are piling up one after the other. Yep. That sometimes happens.
Then you catch yourself. You’re getting triggered. Oops. Just in time to do the self-connection exercise. You move to a spot on your right (I always chose my right, so my body builds up an instinctive routine and doesn’t get confused in times of challenge) and focus your awareness on your breath. Just noticing it. Nothing else. Breathing in, I know I’m breathing in. Breathing out, I know I’m breathing out. Maybe a first sigh of relief of pausing.
Then you bring your attention to your physical sensations. Just an invitation to get out of your head and into your body. Maybe you’re sweaty, maybe your stomach is tight, maybe your heart is racing. Just bringing body and mind together, and ground yourself in the present moment. Your body cannot be anywhere else. Maybe a second sigh of relief of self-connection.
In this safe container of breath and body awareness you connect to your feelings. Wow. You might be surprised by your feelings. You might notice that there is sadness underneath your anger. A tender sadness. Maybe a fear too. A fear that you don’t matter, that there is not enough care and support for your needs. Ouch, maybe the pain of the thought that you are not good enough, that you are not worthy of connection, love, belonging.Maybe a third sigh of relief and self-compassion.
Breathing in, breathing out. Physical sensations. Feelings. More clarity about your needs.
This is it. Just some spaciousness to listen to yourself before you respond. Just an opportunity to hold your own experience with love and gentleness.
I’m curious to hear if this self-care helps you to respond with more loving-kindness, compassion, and understanding. It does for me.
You want help to ground yourself in your breath, body, and feelings? Contact me 512-589-0482512-589-0482 for a complimentary, discovery session. I would be delighted to work with you.
This morning I imagined myself at this year’s Thich Nhat Hanh retreat. I saw myself up on the platform during the Q&A session. I wondered what I would ask him, and I realized that I didn’t really have many questions. I find joy, fulfillment, connection in my relationships, I often experience inner peace, I am fit and healthy, my business is taking off. I like my practice of bringing awareness to my in- and out breath, of being fully present in the here and now. I don’t need more learning, I want more practice.
And then it struck me. I DO have a question. A big one. A very vulnerable one. A very meaningful one. One that I hardly dare to ask. To get a hug. Or to hold his hand. Or to sit next to him, enjoying the silence. I trembled all over. I would NEVER have the courage to ask him THAT. Let alone in front of 700 other retreatants. I would never have the guts to walk up to him, and ask “Dear Thay, can I please get a hug?”
And I realized: Elly, that is wholeheartedness. That is the path you chose. To ask for what I truly, truly want, no matter what my scary feelings and judgmental thoughts are. To fully want without attachment. And I feel tender when I imagine Thich Nhat Hanh’s gentle embrace.