Connecting Body & Mind with Emotions

Hello, continuing from our last post where we discussed Emotions and the role of Anger, Guilt and Shame. Recently, I have been reflecting on how many of us, even from a young age, find it difficult to embrace those emotions when they occur and either let them take centre stage in our daily lives or push them aside, hoping they will just go away of their own accord. I asked myself these two questions – What practical thing can we do to help in the process of connecting to our emotions, that we would otherwise avoid, with our mind and body? What can we do to help greater awareness and clarity of thinking to our emotions?

Taking a lead from the writings of Jeffrey M Schwartz, MD; Beverly Beyette and Gabor Mate in dealing with obsessive behaviours and emotions – Compassionate Curiosity is at the forefront of being able to listen to our needs and wants from an Adult perspective to the inner child. Without displaying or giving negative responses, validating those emotions and needs, and discussing how (if) these can be met safely.

I remember after explaining how this connection could be achieved, yet it was only when giving a practical demonstration where both myself and the client walked through the physical actions – did the connection of the Mind & Body make sense. Here is a summary of that Demonstration:

Firstly, using two sheets of paper (Preferable A3 or A4 size) placed on the floor – side by side – a few inches apart. Now stand facing the two sheets and carefully stand on one. Whilst on this sheet recall the particular issue/emotion. Be curious and lean in – feel where in the body the emotion is placed.

Secondly, side step to the other sheet – here you are moving body/mind to the Adult Role – now looking back to the first sheet (to the emotion) with Compassionate Curiosity – Listen to what the emotion wants/needs. Remember do not be negative in response (i.e. “just suck it up”; “get on with it”. Listen genuinely and hear what the need is – remember to validate from the Adult Role (not the parent).

After this walkthrough with my client – they were able to make the connection and realised more positive outcomes would have been achieved when looking at past events and dealing with current issues and emotions. Despite the pain in embracing the emotions and allowing ourselves the opportunity to grow.

Sometimes creativity allows greater access and brings much awareness and connection for clients. As a fan of Star Wars and an avid follower of the current series of Book of Boba Fett; Mandalorian. The most recent episode (6) – found its way into the realm of counselling as a therapeutic aid on how to connect with our emotions; wants and needs.

A little background (promise no spoilers). During episode 6 Mandalorian who had taken the parental roll for Grogu, found himself unable to let go, just as many parents find it a struggle with their own children – he was on a journey to see Grogu – with a gift of a chainmail armour – protection – However, a question was raised – who was he doing this for – meeting his needs or Grogu? Whilst Luke Skywalker taking the Adult role towards the child, hearing its needs and wants – giving validation to these and presenting a Choice of either accepting the gift from Mandalorian (attachment issues abound here) – or take the lightsaber – to grow into who he was meant to become. This brings pain which is unavoidable and has to be embraced. There would be pain of loss in letting go for both parties. At the same time releasing Mandalorian from the weight of parental responses of trying to protect and carry the pain for the child needing to grow. Yet, both will not be forgotten.

This helped the client (being a Mandalorian fan themselves) – to connect with their own inner child and listen to their own needs and see a way of communicating with themselves, their family in a more positive way that would help the dynamics of family relations. At the same time bring balance between the parent/adult roles.

Hope you enjoyed this post and if you would like to discuss further, contribute and or share that would be greatly appreciated.

Those interested in further reading:

Gabor Mate, In the Realm of Hungy Ghosts, Close Encounters with Addiction, Vermilion, 2018.

Jeffrey M.Schwartz, MD, Beverly Beyette, Brain Lock, Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior, Harper Perennia, 1997.

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