Recently I had a client who was out of touch with his emotions, yet he wanted to work with his emotions. He told me that everything he tried recently was too rational. He felt like he needed something different.
I explained the poetry of emotion process to him and he was eager to try it. He said, “This sounds like what I need.”
When we got started, we ran into some problems. He was out of touch with his emotions and his body.
Are you out of touch with your emotions?
More about my client
My client wanted to work with a feeling of being overwhelmed in his life.
Even though he wanted to work with emotions, he struggled to experience any physical sensations in his body. Discovering how you experience emotions in your body is Step 1 of the poetry of emotion process. He could only identify the feeling labels, such as frustration or overwhelmed. He kept saying he did not feel anything at all in his body.
I explained how emotions are embodied or felt in the body. Antonio Damasio says that the body is the theater of emotion and without the body we cannot experience our emotions.
How we found his emotions
My client did not want to give up. He believed that his emotions were at the root of his problems.
So, I asked him an unusual question: “If you were able to make up or pretend that you could feel your emotion in your body, where would it be?”
He was motivated, so he said, “In my stomach.” I continued to ask questions about the sensation he was making up. I asked about the size, the shape, any movement, sound, and so on. He was able to describe a squiggly line that had a buzzing sound. This became his emotional poem.
In Step 2 of the poetry of emotion process, you find a time before you ever had the problem poem. He found a happy first grader who had been recognized for his accomplishments. This was a special time in his life.
I asked him to find a helper. He chose Tarzan, one of his favorite heroes as a child. Remember a helper is just another emotional poem that embraces the qualities you need for healing.
How we released his problem emotion
Once we discovered his first grade self and his helper, Tarzan, he easily shifted into his right brain. His story began to flow.
With Tarzan’s help he was able to release the buzzing squiggly line. I asked if Tarzan had anything else for him. All of a sudden he flushed and smiled. He commented that he was feeling different, now.
I asked if his feeling of being overwhelmed was different. He said it was less intense and he felt better.
What can you do if you are out of touch with your emotions?
Here are two tips.
- Find a time when you can relax and enjoy a pleasant memory. Pick a positive emotion (joy, peace, gratitude, etc.) and remember a specific time when you experienced that emotion. See what you saw, hear what you heard, and feel what you felt. Now scan your body. Check your heart area. Do you feel warmth in your heart? Or do you feel good all over? Do you feel tingly, warm or supported? Keep working with positive emotions until you can feel them in your body.
- Try making up your body-felt sensations. This may sound strange, but this can be an easy way to tap into the part of you that dreams and feels emotions. When you make something up, you are really accessing your unconscious mind – the home of your emotions. Then use the poetry of emotion process. Did you get results?
Why are so many of us out of touch with our emotions? I will be addressing that question in future posts. Stay tuned.
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(Image: Stripper 101 @ Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/stripper101/8637006666/)