Yesterday I needed a minute. We were about to head out to a friend’s place for dinner so I made sure the kids were roughly ready, got dressed myself, put some wood in the stove and stepped outside alone.. as I closed the door behind me, I started to crumble.
I’ve always loved laying on the ground, staring up at trees and sky. It makes me feel small in the most comforting of ways. Especially at night when the snow is deep, the moon is bright and the stars twinkle between branches.
I walked straight to the willows and the little creek that trickles between them. I laid there in the snow, giving all my grief to those majestic beings, letting the ache pour out of me and into the ground and roots beneath.
I had been fine all afternoon, great in fact. But quite suddenly noticed I was feeling off; irritable and distracted. I wanted to crawl out of my skin and scream. It took me a minute to process what was happening. What was this anger I was feeling? (We know anger is never a primary emotion, it’s always there to mask something else) Ah.. of course...
Grief. Shock. Sadness.
I had received some upsetting news about someone I love earlier that day and it was just now starting to work through my system.
As soon as I acknowledged what it was, my whole self began to crumble.
Out under those willows, I closed my eyes and felt the grief inside my body. I took long, steadying breaths and let it move through me. I focussed on how that emotion felt in the tissues of my body.. how it held my belly tight, how it weighed on my chest, how it poured from the corners of my eyes. I let it do its thing while I witnessed.
My breath began to slow and deepen, my body began to sink into the earth and I knew it was complete. The grief isn’t over and other emotions will surely surface, but learning to listen and allow them to move through me without resistance is a healthy step and one I’m just really beginning to trust and give space to.
When we react to something, there is roughly a 90 second chemical process that occurs in our bodies. We can call this the ‘emotional response’. After that 90 seconds, any remaining emotional response is just us, choosing to stay in that loop.
That doesn’t mean we can just snap out when we’ve been stuck in an emotion for several hours. It first takes stepping in, witnessing, breathing and letting it resolve.
I hope you can find time to witness your emotions today. To notice how they feel in your body, how they move and shift and pulse through every cell. And how they fade with softness when given the opportunity.