How Do You Digest Your Feelings?
How do you digest your feelings? This is a question many of us may not have thought about before. Like food we put into our bodies, feelings can nurture and nourish our minds and bodies or they can have the opposite effect. It's important to remember that we are not our feelings. Rather, we are spiritual beings having a human experience through the use of our bodies. Feelings come along with having a body, and experiencing life as humans entails experiencing the entire range of feelings. Feelings themselves are neither good or bad, or positive or negative. It's the association we place on our feelings that label them as such. So what do we do when we experience those feelings we perceive as negative? Most of us ignore and suppress them by choosing to engage in another activity in hopes of feeling better. And while that may work, it's really only a temporary solution as those feelings we suppressed did not really go away, but instead got buried inside. The famous Sufi poet Rumi, in his poem, The Guest House, likens our feelings to unexpected guests coming for a visit. In the poem, Rumi advises to let these uninvited guests in (even if we don’t like them.) Like food that needs digesting, we need to learn to digest our feelings so we can ensure our minds and bodies remain in a state of balance. There are various healthy ways to digest our feelings but what's most important, is that we allow ourselves to feel them. By just sitting and being with our feelings and allowing them to just be, is the first step to a healthy emotional digestive system. If we can observe our feelings without any emotional attachment to them, we are, in fact, allowing them to pass through. The difficult part in this is learning how to accept our negative feelings (our uninvited guests.) We want to get rid of them as soon as possible because they don't feel good, but as the saying goes "what we resist persists” so coming to a place of acceptance is first and foremost. When we accept all of our feelings as part of our humanity, we can learn to detach from them. By being with our feelings, we are not attaching any judgment to them. We can do this by sitting or lying down alone in a quiet space for even 5 minutes a day and noticing how we are feeling. Allow everything inside to bubble up without making any judgments or resisting what’s coming up. By practicing this little ritual at the end of our day, we are allowing all our "stuff" to pass through. At the end of the poem, Rumi says to be “grateful for whatever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” When our feelings are healthfully processed and excreted, they cannot attach to our bodies in a negative way. Our bodies and minds will then be healthier, happier, and wiser.