Four weeks ago my uncle, my mother’s little brother, lost his
battle with cancer. He was a beloved son, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend to all. I have been shaken to my core by his loss. To take care of
myself, I have been breathing deeper and digging deeper into my
life skills and yoga toolbox. I know if I’m not taking care of
myself, I cannot serve anyone else.
When someone we love is suffering or leaves this human form, we
experience every emotion possible: anger, fear, resentment,
sadness, doubt in everything. We experience the five stages of
grief, which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and
acceptance—sometimes all simultaneously—as we learn to live
without the person(s) we lost. Holding these emotions inside our
bodies and not allowing them to be expressed can manifest as
disease (dis-ease) in the body, so it’s important to express
emotions to release them, to transform them in some constructive
Here are three ways I express my raw emotions so they GET OUT
of my body and mind.
Get it out: Cry it Out!
So you say you can’t meditate? Try this! I used to resist tears
during my meditation, but I’ve learned to let it flow and call it
crying meditation. Like John Lee Hooker said about the blues, “it’s
in me and it’s gotta come out!” My heart is broken and the days are
a struggle. I have to hold on to and/or control my emotions enough
to continue to support my own life existence and my loved ones,
both emotionally and as a partner, daughter, granddaughter, niece,
teacher and friend. I know I must clear these emotions (even if
only temporarily) in order to carry on with my daily life. So I sit
down (or lie down in a restorative savasana) to meditate each
morning with my timer. Even though I don’t feel like it some
days—those days when times are hard and thoughts and emotions
rage like storms, when fears, blame, shame, anger, doubt, love, all
collide like lightening and thunder in the clouds of my mind and
the tears flood down—simply showing up is part of the
practice. Sometimes I cry for the entire meditation time. And
sometimes, when the tears slow to a drip and I feel a warm stillness
come over me, I have a knowing that things are somehow okay. I
have surrendered my emotions to God for the day, and his grace
will hold me up.
When I meditate in less stressful times, I am usually more still, but
tears can simply emerge without thought on those days, too. Either
way, I just let it flow without judgment, knowing I need to get
these tears out and soak a bit so I will soften and not hold tension
(unreleased emotion) hard in my body. It’s okay to cry! This
release will help us serve others more openly.
Get it Out: Write it out!
I’ve been keeping a journal off and on for most of my life. It gives
me a place to dump my brain, vent, and just get everything out of
my head without fear of judgment or of hurting someone. It gives
me a filter of time and space, as much as I need or want. Seeing
my feelings on paper, articulating them, helps me process and
work through them. It also lets me begin working toward changes
to create the life I want. Life is short!! Writing helps us get the
thoughts out and process them with the time and space needed to
shift perspective. You might cry-writing sometimes, too, where
you let yourself cry as you write.
Buy a notebook or a journal or open your laptop, and write it all
out. Do not worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, or
legibility. No worries; just free-flow write what comes from your
brain, from your heart to your pen. When you write an emotion
down, you will begin to transform and release it. It may take a
while, months or even years, but keep writing! You are channeling
your emotions into the pen and your fingers. It’s a practice, it’s a
process, get it out! (This also gives you the filter of time and space
so you don’t have any social media regrets!)
Get it Out: Talk it Out!
Talk therapy has been a part of my journey for many years
now. Sometimes when you are talking out loud about an emotion
or stressful situation, you begin to release it. Sometimes you might
even realize your own resolution. Many folks rely on friends and
family for talk therapy (me too, sometimes) but this can be
dangerous territory. Why? Friends and family have a history of
relationship with you. They have certain expectations, and it’s hard
for them to forget this and see things objectively. It can also be
hard because family and friends often want to jump in and solve
our problems. And, they are human, and can accidentally slip after
promising confidences, which can cause chaos and pain.
Therapists do not have a history of relationship with you and are
therefore not attached to any expectations of you. They can view a
situation from multiple perspectives and can help you shift your
lens by shining light on areas of the situation you may not be
thinking about. This will help you begin to see another point of
view. A good therapist will call you on your BS too, ya know, the
ego stuff. A good therapist gives you an objective sounding board,
and nothing ever leaves the room. My therapist has been my
mentor, helping me discover my own path in life by guiding me
toward resources and tools and empowering me to help myself and
be myself while serving others.
So I challenge YOU—yep, I’m talking to YOU: Get it Out!!
1. Sit down and cry 5-10++ minutes as needed, daily.
2. Write in your journal 10-30 minutes/day. I do this before
bedtime to help clear my mind for sleep.
3. Schedule a talk therapy appointment TODAY!! Check with
your insurance. Even if therapy is not covered in your plan, it is
well worth the investment. You don’t have to go every week if you
can’t swing it; even every month or every three months will make
a difference. Ask your therapist for some homework if you need
more time between visits.
As we move through our lives, we will continue to experience the
five stages of grief. I hope this article will remind you of some
tools such as meditation and journaling that will help you process
your experiences. Take care of yourself so you can serve at your
best, whatever you are doing!
Peace, Love and Gratitude,