What’s “Good” About Feeling “Bad” During Covid 19?

These perplexing times are full of confusion and paradox.

I know that one part of me desperately wants to find ways to help out those who have lost loved ones, those who have trouble putting food on the table and those who cannot pay their bills.

Another part of me wants to hide and avoid responsibility, and another part of me wants to figure out what I “really” need “to do.”

At the same time, I firmly believe that it’s perfectly okay not to know “what to do” as I give myself permission to be where I am in any given moment.

The dark or commonly called “negative” emotions of sadness, fear, grief, and despair are not honored or viewed as socially acceptable; and yet these essential and powerful emotions carry compelling energies that lead to deep healing and transformation.

Most of us never learned how to experience and allow emotional energy to flow in our bodies. I know I spent most of my life ignoring myself and any hint of “negative” emotion that arose

I finally learned that all we need to do is TO BE WITH our emotions – allowing them to move through the body Feel the emotions as physical sensations, and let them happen.

No need to analyze or think them through. Like waves, the emotions subside. They pass through.

Emotions are energy – they are NOT positive or negative.  It is our thoughts and attitudes about emotions that cause us to label them as good or bad. 

Right now, most of us are experiencing heightened stress levels which can interfere with our body’s natural healing mechanisms. Our digestion, energy levels, appetite and sleep patterns may be disrupted.

It’s common to learn in childhood that having uncomfortable emotions is “weak, unacceptable and/or wrong,” This belief adds a huge layer of suffering to these essential and normal feelings.

This is the time to practice honoring and allowing all of our emotions which are simply “energy in motion.”

This is the time to practice reaching out to others to give AND receive help, talk with trusted friends and family, walk outdoors, rest and play.

This is the time to pause briefly throughout the day to simply notice what we are feeling and thinking with awareness and self-compassion.

All of us are navigating unknown territory right now, and it is incredibly important to practice self –  kindness and compassion…thoughtfully and deliberately.

So how do we honor and experience the emotions that our culture has taught us to ignore?  The very thought of allowing these painful feelings often evokes great fear within us. 

Here are some action steps to facilitate emotional awareness:

  • Bring your awareness to your body and your physical sensations. What do you notice in your throat, chest, abdomen, etc?  Notice sensations of hot, cold, heavy, light, etc. and allow your breath to support you as you allow all sensations.
  • Simply turn your attention toward any emotional sensations you are experiencing right now in your body. Just focus on the experience of the emotion itself allowing the physical sensations to be present without trying to figure them out or change them.
  • Remain with this emotional energy until it begins to shift or until you choose to stop. As little as a minute or two is fine. Uncomfortable feelings of worry, fear, sadness, and anger will not harm us and will pass.
  • Offer comfort and care to yourself with a compassionate message: Place your hand on your heart and say “It’s okay right now, I am safe,” or other words of kindness.

As we feel our way through this, we can choose the lens through which we view our experiences. Let’s choose to open our hearts to ourselves.

After all …“There is nothing so whole as a broken heart.”

                                       Rabbi Menachem Mendel

Love to all,

Elaine

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