Life in a woman’s body, with its monthly cycles and constantly shifting nature, is a life coloured with all kinds of emotions. It can be overwhelming to really feel them all, and we receive a great training from childhood to only express the ‘nice’ ones: “if you’re going to cry, go to your room”, “good girls don’t shout”…
On my own healing journey from severe chronic digestive problems it became clear really early on that there was a relationship between my symptoms and unexpressed emotions, especially ‘negative’ ones like anger. As I began to work with other women on a healing journey, they shared similar experiences…
Exploring ways to let emotions flow as energy in my body was integral to my healing, and I’d like to share some of my story with you here in case it sparks idea for you and gets you curious any unexpressed emotions that could be in the way of healthy flow.
Like most of us, I wasn’t encouraged to express anger by teachers and family growing up. Through disapproving looks and comments I quickly learned that anger was wrong and something to be avoided at all costs, if I was going to be loved and protected.
Skip forward twenty-one years and I found myself sitting on a whole world of anger, glossed over with an “I’m Fine” smile and an unconscious desire to people-please at any cost. I had been very ill for a few months, which was adding to my anger and frustration.
I was angry at the world, at the situations in my life that had led to my illness and most of all at my body for letting me down. I couldn’t eat most foods and was down to a vegetables and rice diet, I had no energy and I was in a constant state of intense nausea and pain. I was pissed off.
But did anyone know about this? No. Not even myself. I was a yoga teacher who was calm and serene. I knew how to meditate. I was on an awakening journey to samadhi. I was Fine.
My new husband saw through within all of about three months of knowing me. We were driving down a motorway in France together and I was moaning about my stomach pain and he said: “You’re angry”. “What are you talking about?” I said, “What have I got to be angry about?”. He went on to list all the things that had happened to me over the past few years which gave me reason to be angry and I calmly (desperately) talked all of them away.
In the end he got so frustrated that he shouted, “Sophie, open the car window and scream, right now. Spit and scream until you’re blue in the face. You’re kidding yourself. The only way that you can get this anger to move is through your body”. (What an amazing man).
So I did unwind the window and what came out absolutely terrified me and thrilled me at the same time. I unleashed a torrent of swear words, roars, guttural sounds and primal screams that went on for a good ten minutes. My hubby was seriously impressed. “Keep going…” he said, and I haven’t looked back since.
Soon after this experience I discovered the Awakening Women Institute‘s refreshing approach to emotions and began a whole new kind of relationship with my emotional landscape over the next two years. Chameli at AWI talks about how all emotion is energy in the body – when we label one emotion as bad and another as good we start an endless game of headtrips and stories which can keep us trapped in negative mind spirals. She coaches us instead to bring our awareness down from our heads into our bodies, to encourage the emotions to flow as energy within and through us.
This looks different for everyone, but with anger it usually involves a good amount of stomping, growling, shouting, roaring, punching the air, (or something… not someone… that’s taking it too far ).
The important thing is not to go into the story of the anger – not to get lost in thought about the person or situation and reactivate the whole thing. Whenever we notice that has happened we dive back into the physical expression… And the beautiful thing is how amazingly quickly the anger can shift and change this way – one of the amazing assets of our women’s bodies is that they are made for this kind of shape-shifting… if we’ll just let it happen. We can simply move from one moment of expression to the next, instead of being trapped in mind loops that can prevent our body’s natural healing response.
At least that’s what happened for me. There is a direct link between flare-ups and emotional blockages for me, and as soon as I start to explore them through my body, the flare-ups die down.
Below you’ll find two videos where I’ll guide you in a practice to allow anger to flow in your body. You can use it when you’re actually feeling angry, or as a way to practice for the next time you feel angry. I hope you enjoy it and I’d love to hear if it benefits you ~ as always, feel free to ask me questions too.
Part One (3 mins)
Part Two (2.30 mins)
I’ve come to see that women on a healing journey from chronic illness – whether it is chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, IBS or another condition – have been invited by Life to be warrior pioneers.
Our bodies have taken us into an underworld of pain, discomfort and challenge that we would never have willingly chosen to go, but once we’re there we have a tremendous opportunity to learn how to take care of ourselves. Once we act upon this, cultivate healing rythms in our lives and begin to heal, we can then share much-needed self care medicine with the world.
In this way, our pain and suffering becomes an offering to the world and we become part of return to sanity and balance that our culture so desperately needs.
Join The Women’s Wellness Circle – an online community of big-hearted, courageous women ready to support you to fully recover your health and give your gifts to the world.
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