A Path to Freedom: How to Feel Your Feelings

Rina Trevi • Dec 16, 2020 • 7 min read
When you allow yourself to feel your pain fully, you free yourself from it.
Jack Morin, Erotic Mind
I am often asked diverse questions about processing one’s emotions. People want to know what to do when emotions are painful, uncomfortable, and even manifested through the physical body as pain. How do you deal with it when things get too intense and even overwhelming?

Much as I’d like for there to be an escape route, the reality is that you cannot avoid feeling your feelings. This is because the only way not to feel them is to become numb. But this would mean that you would close yourself off and move into a robotic existence, which could have the unfortunate side-effect of a buildup of tension in the body. Science has demonstrated that such emotional suppression eventually manifests as ailment and disease. From observation and experience, we know that while refusing to feel one’s “negative” feelings, one can still settle into a “successful” life — having things comfortable, drama-free, feeling financially secure, protected, “positive”, living a healthy lifestyle, and even contributing to the good of the world. But if honestly asked whether one is content, the answer would likely be “not really” or “I feel stuck” or “I won the world but lost myself along the way.”

The latter is often true of the clients who come to my sessions in search of a breakthrough. When we begin working, it rarely takes long for feelings to arise for anyone, and the people who fit the above description tend to be the people who are the least capable of processing their feelings. When these arise during our session, they tend to close themselves off and go into a protective, bearing, waiting mode. Their body tenses up, and they grow numb to their feelings. One gets the impression that they are trying to take it all in some heroic spirit, to become the conqueror who overcomes the challenge before them. While this is the opposite of what they should do (and of what they came to me for), it is also an entirely normal stage to go through, as long as it is a passing stage. Inevitably, the conqueror is doomed to be conquered. Not many, however, are prepared to accept this. Once faced with our own challenging emotions, our conditioned reaction is to try hard to remain rigid. But in so doing, we also shut ourselves off from experiencing the bliss of surrender in all its glory.
We mustn’t blame ourselves for not having been taught how to process challenging emotions. The good news is that it is possible to master this skill at any point in life. Perhaps the first thing we must realize is that we can’t strategize surrender.
We can’t try and surrender: surrender happens when all the resources against it are exhausted, and giving up is the only choice remaining. My job is to guide you to this point and, while my way of guiding someone to this place is a rather intuitive and even shamanic skill acquired with time, there are still ways in which I can provide explicit guidance, especially if we are to address some specific aspect of surrender, such as feeling your feelings.

I will take myself as an example to illustrate what I mean. I believe I have come to be good at feeling my feelings, in all of their variety. My emotions are now allowed to roam and pass freely, so I never feel stuck, as I do not resist them. I’ve re-conditioned myself into having a healthy, welcoming approach towards my inner world. Once my feelings are welcomed fully, they tend to come and then to go so that there is nothing left over for tomorrow. This way, the “poor me” victim state has no opportunity to be formed at all.

How did I get to this point? Well, I have been putting myself through various experiences of surrender throughout my life: BDSM submission, BASE jumping, freediving, psychedelic journeys, extensive solo travel, radical shifts in my life direction, giving up homes, work, partners, friends, even when all this felt terrifying (but right, nevertheless). These transformational experiences entailed going through a cocktail of vulnerable emotions and have provided me with some authority in offering ideas on how to process your feelings harmoniously.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Come with the right intention, that is, to feel your feelings. The intention is like a self-fulfilling prophecy, a very powerful tool. Intend on opening up to your feelings. Give yourself the permission to be unapologetically you, moment by moment, without hiding a thing.

  • Whether for good or ill, feelings exist to be felt. To resist or deny our emotions is only to strengthen them. Now, your mind can be tricky — you might notice how your thoughts are looking for every possible excuse not to feel what you’re feeling. It’s not the right time, why am I here, what’s the point, I’ve already tried feeling this before, it’s useless and painful, if I fall apart I will lose my mind and go crazy… Expect this resistance, give it the right to exist as mere thoughts passing by. Do not identify with it. Do not think of your feelings! Think of them as clouds, while you are the sky of awareness; let it all pass freely upon it.

  • If struggle comes, don’t just label it: “I don’t like it.” Instead, really see the resistance. What is it made of? Who is resisting? If your reaction is“of course it’s me!” ask yourself: who is this me? You may notice that your inner judge, who is equipped to resist, is getting out of his comfort zone. You may notice the tone of your mother in it, or your father, or someone else. Observe the forces fighting within you, feelings, emotions, storms, tsunamis, all fighting against this inner critic, inner judge. A tsunami of thoughts: stop it, I don’t want it, I want it to be over…. This is when you don’t take sides. Acknowledge the battle raging within you while you remain merely as presence — the space that contains it all without any preferences for the content of it.

  • Feel your body. Feel your breath. Feel your being. This is the best way to avoid becoming entangled in thoughts and remain here and now. What is your body feeling like? How are your fingers and toes? Curved and tense? You can communicate to your body it’s safe to relax, there is no need to fight, and then allow it to relax.
How is your breath? Are you holding it at times? Encourage yourself to breathe fully. Breathe with the whole body. With every cell of your being. Let the breath expand beyond the boundaries of your body. Scan your body, scan your breath, feel the subtle layers, the energy, the flow. Find the tension’s location and see if you can relax it. If you cannot, just acknowledge that the tension is there and move on.
  • Notice the grossest expressions as well as the most subtle ones. Dissect the gross labels such as “pain” into more subtle ones. Make it a metaphor: “an erupting hot, orange, volcano” or “stiff and firm like an ancient rock.” Give it space to be, and keep on feeling how it shapeshifts. You will notice how, on a more subtle level, everything is constantly flowing. Feel your body, and go from gross to subtle.

  • For those who are more devotionally minded, it helps to do a ritual of consecration, either before the session or a reconnection with it during moments of struggles. Consecration is an internal prayer aimed at offering all the fruits, merits, and results of a certain action or experience to the divine consciousness — God or Goddess or all sentient beings, whichever form is higher than our limited human existence. This is a major act of surrender your will to the Divine will. When struggle and resistance comes, it can be helpful to divert your mind towards the Divine and internally say something such as, “I’m feeling like I’m falling into the abyss. Whatever happens, I want to place it at Your feet.” Then exhale deeply to drop the weight off your shoulders.

  • Imagine, if you were to really give up, what would this look like? If you found yourself out of time and out of moves, what would you do? Would it be a loud shout of desperation — “Whyyyyy!!!” or a more subtle, deep breath of release? Would it involve the snake-like undulations of your body? Or would you allow yourself internally to sink into the deep rabbit hole of the unknown without any physical expressions? Or would you say something like “Oh fuck!” and release a long “ahhhhh”? Just imagine it first and then try doing it. Resisting your feelings is hard work; try something different, surrender.

What happens after Surrender? A logical question, but not so wise, because it presumes to place conditions upon surrender. As in, first I surrender, and then I get such and such goodies. Surrender must be unconditional. So I won’t be giving you any goodies and will give you a chance to uncover it for yourself. Yet, I can speak of your emotions.

When emotions are allowed to be felt fully, with every cell of your being, with every layer of your existence, magic happens. Things start to flow rapidly. You are no longer stuck in habitual patterns, such as daily anxiety or habitual rage attacks. Emotions become vivid, acute, rich, and fluid. They come, are felt without any filter, appreciated for their raw beauty, and are transformed into another feeling. Rage turns into tears; sadness becomes laughter; laughter becomes a heartfelt confession; a confession becomes an act of creativity; creativity becomes an act of unconditional love for all. Feelings are no longer enemies but friends that hold innumerable and profound gifts. They are a part of an unapologetic You, a Divine Being in a human form, living life every moment to the deepest depth, fullest of full, and saying Yes to every precious moment of being alive because there is not one moment that is more auspicious than another.


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