Day 5 on ‘The 5 Empathic Skills For Emotions (Part 1)’ of ‘Emotions’ Chapter
From Remembering Series
[Listen to the audio with alignment at the end]
The Guest HouseRumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thoughts, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
We shared on the previous posts on how free-flowing sadness helps us to connect with our body as we let go of the tension and how free-flowing fear brings us calm and focus. Isn’t fun to look at these emotions in a new lens? I do!
Based on the book ‘The Language of Emotions’ by Karen Mclaren, this post will be sharing the 5 Empathic Skills for us to navigate through our emotions. PS: Kindly read the book for more details and its practices.
The 5 Empathic Skills to Welcome Emotions
Empathy means the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
- “The first skill (Getting Grounded) uses the healthy, flowing forms of sadness and fear to help you focus and ground yourself and connect your body to the earth. ”
- “The second skill (Defining Your Boundary) uses the healthy, flowing forms of anger and shame to create a firm boundary around your psyche, so you’ll have the privacy you need to work with your thoughts, sensations, ideas, visions, and emotions.”
- “The third skill (Burning Contracts) teaches you to channel your emotions in responsible and honorable ways.
- “The fourth skill (Conscious Complaining) is yet another emotion-channeling technique that sounds silly but is surprisingly healing. “
- “The fifth skill (Rejuvenating Yourself) gives you a simple, empathic way to rejuvenate yourself whenever you need to and wherever you are. ”
Entering the empathic skills..
The First Skill: Getting Grounded
To be here and now because when I am fully aware, I don’t need avoidance behaviours, addictions of any kind, I deal with life as it is as I am connected to myself and surroundings.
Centering our bodies is bringing us to the present moment thus it is a great tool to reintegrate yourself if you are dissociated or distraction because..
“Our minds can be everywhere
while our emotions are often ignored or trapped with unexplored issues,
but our bodies can only be here and now.”
We are off-loading excess energy to the ground. When we are not grounded, we can be easily swayed with the flows or strong emotions on daily life, when we are grounded, we can direct the flow and stabilise ourselves. Another form of grounding is seen in most martial arts where the practice direct Qi/chi (energy/Prana) back to our ‘dan tien’, lower belly or known as solar plexus.
Grounding releases traumatic material from the body which calms and regulate the flow within where we can direct the thoughts, emotions, and awareness. It restores health flow to the body because it is the opposite of dissociation, with grounding, when there is discomfort in the body, instead of ‘leaving my body’, I choose to take charge of the situation. Thus, connecting to the world around me.
Note that these skills required imagery and intention so it does not have to be perfect. Here, we use our logical intelligence with our emotions and our imagery skills.
Sit or stand comfortably, breathe into the belly and imagine you are gathering warmth and light into the belly. As you breathe out, imagine the light or warmth are moving down through the body and into the chair, if you are seated. Grounding and redirecting the circuit to the ground to relieve the heaviness into the Earth. Keep breathing into your body, filling your head, neck with breath and breath down to the Earth, reaching down under ground until it reaches the center of the Earth. Sort of anchoring the cord connected to the core of the Earth.
If you are seated, get up and walk around, is your grounding cord remain attached to the Earth or did you lose it? If you lose it, breathe in, gathering light and warmth in your belly and breathed down to the core of the Earth again.
To free-flow your fear and sadness:
Feel the connection between your body and the Earth’s core. If you have tension or strong emotions within you, breathe into the area with your breath, gather the tension, breathe it downward and release it to the ground. Feel the sensations of relieve in your body. You may use your hands, body or legs to direct the energy downwards. Dance, shake, shimmy or move in spiral can move the stagnant energy to increase your ability to ground yourself.
The key is to remain conscious even when we need a break from consciousness itself.
The Second Skill: Defining Your Boundaries
As we restore our flow from grounding, we will look for protection around ourselves. It can be said as the aura as our personal space, where we can sense if someone is staring at us. Karen described in our distracted culture, we tend to respond with our tattered boundaries by dissociating, distracting and avoiding our inner emotions because we are so scattered and unprotected.
As you sit an ground yourself. Now stand up, reach your arms straight out to the side of you, imagine the fingertips are touching the edges of the lighted bubble which is your private, personal space. Then, reach your arms in front of you, raise them above your head. Feel how far your personal boundary is from your body, from the side, front-back, up and even underneath. And, drop your arms to relax.
Close your eyes to imagine this oval bubble around you, choose a bright colour (or clear sound or body movement) to make this as obvious as you can. Feel yourself standing inside this oval bubble and you are inside the protective eggshell of our own boundary.
Remember to define and renew our boundary on daily basis or more, especially sensitive person.
For most of us, our personal boundary is our skin so we don’t have enough room to live and breathe fully. We all have a right to our personal space, which will take time to take our own place. When we define our boundary, it helps to avoid enmeshing with people’s boundaries. We will begin to know when we are sensing other’s emotion and when we are not.
Anger is one way to create an emergency boundary where we let people know not to mess with us. But, Karen shared, when one attacks people with anger will break one’s boundary even more which activate more rage.
When our personal boundary is not functioning as it is, we might create a false boundary like how the smokers create a cloud of cigarette smoke. We can respond to dissociation or distraction of others naturally because we are social animls who unconsciously mimic the other’s behaviour.
Once we put our boundaries from the dissociative behaviours, we stay centered in our own body as a sacred space. Our personal space is our inner sanctuary of solitude and we are the chief here. When we can separate ourselves from the dissociated behaviours of our culture, we are the walking example of calm, focused sacred space.
[Listen to the audio for Guided practices]
To be continued on Part 2 with the other 3 skills..