I heard news recently that a friend had died… possibly. The news was third-hand, so it had to be verified. I received the news via voicemail from another friend asking if I could confirm. I’m writing this to illustrate how powerful feelings are, as well as how we can best deal with them.
I was walking to my car when I heard the voicemail. I needed to call my friend back to get more information, but I felt a bit choked up and knew there was something I needed to do right away – stop and feel, without thinking of course. Just feel and let go. When I got to my car, I sat down and did not turn the car on. I just sat there, closed my eyes, stopped thinking, and just thoroughly felt what my body was carrying at that moment, how it was reacting. It was time to check in, accept it, feel it, and let it go. It could stay as long as it needed to, and then it could pass on its own schedule.
When I went inward, there was a very strong reaction. There were many tears, of course, but what I really noticed was that my chest felt really tight and my breathing was short. Since I teach people about this for a living, it didn’t alarm me – just a normal body reaction under the circumstances. Just stick to the plan. So I kept breathing and relaxing into it, in my parked car in downtown Pensacola, and it soon started to pass.My chest loosened up and my breathing returned to normal.
If I had not done this, I would’ve been carrying this with me to wherever I was going next. This is how unfelt feelings build. When there’s enough built up, it has to come to the surface. That’s when you express it by snapping at someone who didn’t even do anything wrong. Or you do something worse. Or you just feel terrible. You don’t have to express and suppress anymore – you can feel it and let it go. Then those feelings that came in naturally are able to leave naturally.
Back to the car… after only a couple of minutes of releasing, I was ready to call my friend back. We shared information and then I started looking around on the internet for online obituaries. I also called or texted some other folks who might know. While doing this, the feelings would arise again. As they arose, I would just stop, check in, and let them go. Then continue the job at hand. This is how you handle emotions of any kind – you just feel them, relax into them, and let them go. It’s the opposite of what we normally do, but it’s the only thing that really works. When we resist them, they get stuck.
After close to an hour of searching, we finally found out that it was not our friend who had passed away after all. Of course we weren’t happy that somebody else had died, either, but we were definitely relieved that our friend was still alive and kicking. This brings us to the second main point besides how to handle feelings – the HUGE power of belief. Basically, there had been a thought that a certain person had died. This thought carried a huge reaction in my body, and it was never true. When I first heard it, it was 50-50 as far as I knew. Knowing what I know and not being afraid of feelings, I went ahead and “went there” in my car so that I didn’t carry all those feelings around with me. I was ready for the worst case scenario. All the while, our friend was fine.
So it’s not about what’s true or what’s real; rather, it’s about what you believe and how you see things. This is called perception. I’m always talking about feelings and thoughts on this blog, and this is a great example of how they both work. I felt the feelings first, and then I stayed calm in my head. No racing mind or voice in the head carrying on. What has to be done? Search the internet. Call people. Text people. When feelings arise, stop and feel them again. Then continue doing what you were doing. This is how you can live most most of your life, and all it takes is practice. Let me know if I can help…