Healing Your Heart
by David Simon, M.D.
We are all part of an infinite ocean of vitality, love, and joy. Yet when we’re caught in the turmoil of an agitated mind or heart, our access to that unbounded source is obscured. While it’s natural for our emotions to ebb and flow, if we are consistently feeling depleted, stuck, depressed, or even “comfortably” numb, then it’s very likely that we are holding onto something that is no longer serving us. We might be hanging onto a painful memory, a toxic relationship, or a negative belief that drains our life energy and prevents us from experiencing our inherent happiness.
The classical psychoanalytic description of depression is “anger turned inward.” Someone caused you pain but you were unable to express your feelings because the consequences of showing your hurt and anger seemed too great. A caregiver neglected or abused you but you feared that showing your distress would provoke further abuse. A lover betrayed you but you were afraid that setting an appropriate boundary would lead to abandonment. You tolerated your supervisor’s demeaning behavior because you were worried about losing your job. In all of these scenarios, you were unable to find an appropriate outlet for your legitimate emotions, so you most likely turned them against yourself.
Finding Emotional Freedom
Inherent within any problem is its own solution. By taking some time to tune into your inner wisdom, you will find the guidance that will help you release your stored emotional toxicity and rediscover happiness – even if you have been carrying your burden of pain for quite some time. Here is a simple but powerful process that you can use:
Tune into Your Inner Wisdom
Begin by taking a few minutes to quiet your mind, then ask the question What am I not dealing with in my life? Consider each of your important relationships and listen to the messages of comfort or discomfort your body is sending.
If the message is one of distress, ask yourself What do I need to do to reduce or eliminate this distress? The answer usually lies close to the surface and will rush into your conscious awareness simply by asking the question. For most non-nourishing relationships, you have three choices: change it, release it, or continue to suffer. Once you’ve made your choices conscious, it is much more difficult to choose to suffer.
The next question to ask yourself is What is preventing me from making the changes I know are necessary to restore my balance, energy, and joy? Listen to the responses that occur to you and be aware that this is the point at which excuses and rationalizations tend to come up. The voice of justification tends to use the word but – “I know I need to set clear boundaries with my neighbor but . . .” I would be better off ending this relationship, but . . .”
You can always find plenty of reasons to stay with the known rather than exploring the unknown, yet if your current choices aren’t bringing you happiness and fulfillment, it’s time to change your direction or accept the consequences. Envision the event lines that flow from the choices you’re considering. Remember that as the author of your life, if you don’t like the old script, you can write a new one.
Release and Forgive
Release the burdens that are constricting your heart. While you can’t change the past, you can reinterpret it and use what you’ve learned to move towards greater expansion. Stop torturing yourself with recriminations and resentments. Instead, begin forgiving anyone whose actions have created pain for you – including yourself.
As we’ve experienced at many of the Chopra Center’s emotional healing workshops, creating a release ritual can be profoundly beneficial. You can write a letter, draw a picture, or choose an old photo to serve as a container for the toxic feelings you are going to release. After expressing your emotions, tear up the object, burn it, or flush it down the toilet, consciously letting go of the noxious energy that has been limiting your happiness and creativity.
Feelings of pain and disconnection are warning signals from nature that something needs to change. If you fail to listen to the message that the pain is carrying, it will likely get more intense until you are forced to pay attention. I encourage you to listen carefully to the signals your inner being is sending and trust that your soul is guiding you to greater truth, wisdom, love, and peace.
Listen to an interview with Traci on our Healing Wisdom Radio Show >>