“But pain’s like water. It finds a way to push through any seal. There’s no way to stop it. Sometimes you have to let yourself sink inside of it before you can learn how to swim to the surface.”
~ Katie Kacvinsky
A good friend of mine is unwell right now. I’m not surprised. He is a caring practitioner who goes to great lengths for his patients. When one of them deteriorates or passes away, despite his best efforts, he always feels he could have done more, should have done more…
The emotions of grief, guilt and trauma can move deep into the body. They sit in our throats, our lungs, our hearts, our bellies.
Unexpressed, these trapped emotions weaken our immune function, and our digestion. They affect our physical organs, making them more prone to illness and, over time, dis-ease.
Grief sits in the lungs. It makes it hard for us to breathe. The words we cannot speak stay lodged in the back of our throat. Colds, flu, asthma, strep throat, allergies, sinus – all of these things can move into a body that is holding deep grief.
Guilt is inwardly-expressed judgement of the self. It slows our blood, and cools us. It stagnates our flow. Inadequacy, despair and over-thinking characterise guilt that is trapped and endlessly cycling within the body. Guilt can affect the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, liver and gall-bladder. It wrecks our digestion, and over time our hormone levels and function. Our bodies become unable to repair themselves efficiently.
Trauma is shock stuck within the body. In sensitive and empathic people this usually happens when they are working in a caring capacity, and their attention and efforts are directed at the well-being of someone else in a traumatic, high emotion or distressing situation. Your body fails to process any personal shock and trauma you may experience because you have diverted all of your energies outward in caring for others. It can also happen when you are sitting emotionally open and connected and you suffer a sudden fright or when you tune in deeply to the suffering of another. Fright, trauma and shock are then stored deep within your body, allowing you to continue to function in helping others. But its effect is cumulative. Trauma sits in our gut, eventually causing disruption to our digestion, immune function, sleep patterns and brain function. It leads to anxiety and depression.
Holding grief, guilt and trauma within our bodies is a place that many intuitive, empathic and deeply caring people find ourselves. To love and to care is also to expose ourselves to hurt and to loss. Loving and caring deeply is risky, because when you live in that open-hearted state, love goes hand in hand with suffering. Still, I would advocate that you love anyway. That you care anyway.
One of your greatest gifts is that you care. One of your greatest gifts is that you can live heart-opened. Don’t change that. Just learn to manage it better.
This short guided meditation will help you to breathe into these stuck emotions, moving them out of the body and creating space that can be filled with peace, flow, love, light and hope.
The meditation is structured around the Tonglen meditation practice of breathing in pain and suffering, and breathing out peace and comfort.
It is simple but effective. It is something I do as part of my self-care routine every day.
To listen to the meditation just click on the play button below.
Helpful crystals for emotional support:
Turquoise, Rose Quartz, Celestine, Citrine, Amethyst, Moonstone, Snowflake Obsidian, Black Tourmaline, Brecciated Jasper and Carnelian are all good for helping us to move stuck emotions from the body. Choose what you are drawn to from the stones listed.