Day 291 - LESR
This is how I work with hard emotions and thoughts. Richard Reoch developed the practice formally and while I haven’t really studied his work, this is how I handle hard stuff. I love his paradigm and find it particularly helpful to engage my whole being when things are hard or scary.
First, I have to locate where the feeling lives in my body. Trauma is stored in the body. So are feelings and thoughts. Most of us miss this because we are too up in our heads to notice that for every single hard or challenging feeling, there is a place where our host, our body, keeps score. The more traumatic, the more present the emotion resides inside my skin. I don’t know why it is this way. I just know that it is. If I am having a bad day, my body will tell me if I pay attention to it. It will be located in the clench of my jaw, the tenseness of my shoulders, the small of my back. Mostly, my shoulders and jaw.
Heavy emotional stuff resides in my gut, just behind my solar plexus. I didn’t know that until the first time Lane broke up with me. The feeling was so visceral. Sometimes I think Lane was sent into my life to help me reconnect my emotions with my body. It was the first time in my life that I could feel where the emotional pain emanated from...I remember being baffled at how my stomach pitched and heaved. But the feeling in my belly was so strong that I could not avoid making the connection. Now I know, when that feeling comes back that I am being connected body, mind and spirit. And I take that for the gift that it is.
So first we have to locate where that contracted, grasping desperate feeling resides inside our body. We have to slow down and locate it, make contact with it.
This is perhaps the hardest part of the above instruction...well, at least it has been for me. I have had such a hard time embracing this gut wrenching awful feeling. I spent the better part of my life running from it, or drinking it away. Or pretty much doing anything I can to push it away from me. Once I have located it, I try to send the feeling warmth. Try to comfort the feeling, not in some sort of mad rush to make it end, but in a loving caring way to allow it its proper space in my body. Create some space and allow it to just be there and emit whatever feelings it is going to produce. I can just close my eyes and imagine myself sitting by an animal or child and calmly petting it and being gentle. I don’t try to make it stop being upset or hurt or scared or angry. I just allow it to be there and try to provide it a safe space for expression. My only real job is to move toward the pain instead of away from it while staying present in my body and not allowing my fear of the pain to disassociate me from my present circumstances.
I have to stop the storytelling about the pain. “It is always going to be here.” “There is nothing I can do.” “I am damaged beyond repair” “No one understands me”. Whatever my head comes up with I have to let it go. I have to just allow the story to exist but not give it the power to hook me into believing whatever bullshit it is trying to spew. I can’t stop the thoughts, that is not possible but I can see how I weave a story around all my circumstances and pain and try to make it into something permanent and far reaching when it is really only a temporary situation that will be over soon. It is not unlike the weather, no squall lasts forever, I just need to allow it come and refuse to take the current circumstance and roll it out into some large drama where I remain stuck for the rest of time. Meditation is a great way to get to know your thoughts and how they hook you when they are allowed unfettered access to you.
Stay with the feeling. Don’t do the habitual response which is designed to get you the hell out of right here, right now. Just stay with it. Notice it, allow it and just invite it to remain for as long as it needs. Do this for as long as you can. Notice all the ways you begin to twist and turn and itch or scratch or feel like you are losing your mind. Just allow all that to bubble up all around you and remain with it. If you have significant trauma, I highly recommend doing this with a trained therapist or starting on something a lot less crises producing like not getting your way or feeling lonely or bored. You can start small and work your way up to deal with those larger, more severe wounds. The most important aspect to all of this is just to begin.
LESR is something you can do for the rest of your life. And believe me, life is never going to stop throwing shit your way. It is the nature of life to be unpredictably predictable. We are going to get our asses handed to us every once in awhile. And we are going to suffer over it. But the above method helps get you ok with it all while really dealing with it. There are a lot of other methods that provide the same temporary relief, but this one doesn’t leave pounds on your body, a black hole in your credit or a crater in your psyche. It is just a simple, yet difficult method to work with hard feelings and thoughts that are going to come at you while you are busy living life.
The payoff here (and I am all about the payoff) is that if you commit to doing this, you will come to be tired of doing this to yourself and you will stop. You will stop weaving everything that happens to you into a story, you will stop trying to avoid pain and only seek pleasure. You will see how your hard wired methods for dealing with the precarious and hard emotions and thoughts doesn’t really serve you well at all. You will come to see yourself in a loving and compassionate way. And in so doing, you create the opportunity to see others this way as well. You will see that you are becoming a more loving person towards yourself which allows you to throw some grace to others also. You can decide to let all of life’s hardships, be lessons to wake you up to the simple, yet amazing fact that life is here for you and that you get to do this every single day. It is yours after all. Why not enjoy the hell out of it? Especially now when life seems more fragile.
Not for you? I wouldn’t knock it until you have tried it. It has made me a more loving person, first to myself and then I have been able to take what I have learned on the cushion out there to all of you. I certainly don’t do it perfectly but I have committed to doing it and that has made a huge and lasting difference in my life.