Do teenagers have it right? Is sinking into your emotions, settling in among the swirling colored vortex surrounding you and whipping around you like a funnel cloud the way to make sense of things, the only real way to move safely through the angst and overwhelm of intense emotions?
I’m beginning to think so.
The universe seems to be speaking to me, and lately, in the precise moment I need something, it shows up.
A recent yoga class ended with an instructor anecdote about her son falling and hurting himself. Listening, my brain started to tingle as she recounted how she had scooped him up and soothed him, not by simply holding him and allowing him to feel, but by jumping into the silence with words. As she repeated the phrase and advised that perhaps we shouldn’t be so quick to jump into the silence of feeling and fill it with words, I felt like a cartoon characters with an idea, the light bulb forming above my head.
My yoga and meditation practices have been expanding of late without much obvious emotional change (except my increased patience!), but a while ago I noticed an uncomfortable pressure in my right lower back, directly to the right of my sacrum. It felt like nothing so much as my pelvis needing to crack.
During this particular class, the sequences presented were heavy on twists and hip opening sequences, and as much as I wanted to cry uncle and rest in child’s pose, I fought to focus and breathe through the discomfort.
Then, in the midst of an opening twist sequence, I started to cry. No dainty, dignified tears for me. These tears flowed down my cheeks like salt rivers, dripping off my jawbone and soaking my neck and shirt before I’d even worked up much of a sweat. I wanted to hide, to hang my head and wipe away the wetness, but instead swallowed and kept going, breathing through the certainty that everyone could somehow hear my tears.
I kept crying throughout the class. It seemed as if every time I opened my mouth that day, I cried more. Talking it through with my sister, I realized that the uncomfortable pressure in my back had started two days prior upon awakening from a disturbing dream. I couldn’t remember the dream, just the fear I felt upon waking, my heart pounding as if I had just been chased. I had been trying to decipher what it meant, but I hadn’t allowed myself to settle into the emotions because they were frightening. I felt threatened.
Towards evening, the pressure began to lessen a bit. The light bulb switched on and I realized that by trying to deny the fear and sadness I felt after the dream, I had inadvertently caused all the negative energy to gather in a ball in my lower back. Only when I settled into moving meditation did my unconscious mind take over and allow the energy to ove through my body to release.
So I do think adolscents have this thing right: settling into your emotions, allowing them to swell around you and envelop you, really does seem to be the only way to get through them without being consumed by them. It seems to be the best way to release them so you can move on.
My back seems to think so, anyway.