Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Emotional Leaking - Journal About It and Have a Ceremonial Bonfire

Last time we talked about what Emotional Leaking is, and a bit on how to recognize it.
Today we are going to talk about what to do next.

First. We need to begin to recognize that it is happening.
To be honest, it can more often a subtle ongoing thing, rather than a dramatic emotional vomit.
When we leak, whether a tiny occasional drip, a constant trickle, or a pressurized stream, t's much like that leaking pipe in the bathroom wall that I talked about in the last post and causes damage in our lives. Whether slowly, or suddenly.

But, recognizing is always the first step. Acknowledging it. Accepting that it is happening.
No blaming. No victim mode. Just recognition. Just seeing it.

Try having a little conversation with your Leak:

"Oh. Hey there Leak. I see that you have decided to show up for today's activities. I know that you have a job to do in helping me release pressure, so I do appreciate and thank you for letting me see that there is an issue going on that needs to be addressed. But right now, your behavior is causing more damage than it is fixing the source of the situation, so I am going to ask you to back off a little so that I can clean up the mess and try to find the source, and do some repair work."

Sometimes it requires an immediate apology to someone directly impacted.
A lot of the time it requires more internal work; digging in to get a better understanding of the source of the leak.

In a similar way that it is not always obvious where exactly that pipe leak is coming from because water always runs to the lowest point of release; so do our leaking emotions. In order to find the source, we have to stop the flow, clean up the debris, and follow it backward until we can locate the point of origin.

Some of this we might be able to do through a mindful journaling practice. Just do some emotional vomit on the paper. In a beautiful journal. On scrap paper, a napkin, whatever. But I DO recommend physically writing with a pen(not erasable pencil) on paper, becasue the process of gathering your thoughts in your head, and the emotions in your heart, and collecting them together in your shoulder and releasing them down your arm, through your fingers, and out onto the paper is POWERFUL! It's messy. It's hard. It's painful. It's helpful. It's worth it.

If this feels scary, to put all that hard yucky messy stuff on paper, I suggest that you DO IT ANYWAY. Let the tears flow. Let the words flow. Let the yuck out. It doesn't have to make sense. It can be a list of words and feelings! Doesn't even have to be complete sentences! Doesn't have to be a cohesive story. Just brain DUMP it OUT of your body onto the paper! It might fill pages and pages. It might be a 3x5 card! It doesn't matter, just get it out of your body!

And then burn it!

Have a ceremonial fire, in a fireplace, bonfire pit, or some other safe and contained place; please don't just light it on fire in your living room!

I like to do this outside where we have a bonfire pit in our back yard. It's an additional time of prayer and meditation for me watching the fire consume the paper, the words, the emotions and experiences. I imagine as the fire consumes it, and the pain becomes smoke that the air is lifting it up to my God in Heaven (or however you want to think of your higher power) and I am giving it back to him to turn into something more productive and useful in my life.

Sometimes I will make a duplicate of the original writing before I burn it: photo copy, or maybe I'll write in my "real" journal a summary of the emotional vomit, then in a month, or two, I'll re-read that entry and see what has changed.

I am amazed every single time at how healing and change can happen so softly and gently that I hardly notice it, until I look back and see where I was compared to where I am not, and those journal entries are milepost markers.

Keep working through the hard stuff. The healing is worth it.
And everything you learn about yourself on the other side is extra bonus stuff in living your life well!
As much love as ever,

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