In the emotional wildlands, there must be trust, surrender, holding, receptivity and acceptance. There must be love. The must be deep listening.
As we already discussed in The Brilliancy of Feelings, our feelings are our inner navigation system that leads us through life, which is why it was so important to learn their language. Our feelings are beautiful, just as our emotional world is beautiful. This is the reason why we can experience great depths of connection, emotional bonding, intimacy and true love. This is the reason why we are creative and why we feel alive. This is what makes us human and humane. This is what allows us to have empathy. Lack of feelings leads to disconnection, which leads to sadness and loneliness. Building a beautiful relationship with our feelings is just like any other relationship; it is about acceptance, appreciation and willingness to flow. Healthy relationships are based on emotional intelligence, which is about awareness and vulnerability, which is what true love and deep intimacy are based upon.
Katerina Plotnikova Photography
In truth, all is one. From a zoomed out perspective, all is integrated in the universe. Yet the further we zoom in, we’ll realize that everything is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional.
Just like we are too.
Our physical, thinking, feeling and etheric bodies are all one; they are all our energy expressing itself, yet they are different expressions of the same consciousness.
Our emotional body, or our feeling body, is the truth of who we are on a feeling level. The emotional layer of our energy extends approximately four to eight inches from the physical body. The colour of the layer depends on the emotions; it can be bright or muddy. It is the keeper of our feelings, containing the imprints of the emotional aspect of our memories as well as our current emotional state. It is the bridge between the thinking and the physical self.
The emotional body is unique to each one of us; it is like the unique wildland that only we can explore deep within us.
Everything from childhood and our first breath, to our current emotional state, conscious and unconscious, is stored in the emotional body, which then triggers our emotional responses to situations in our life and ultimately affects our overall wellbeing. All of our thoughts, feelings, words, experiences, actions, behaviours and life experiences create impressions on our consciousness that are attached in our energetic layers where everything is joined and interacts as our whole existence.
The emotional body is our ability to feel and to communicate. When it is not yet structured, as babies we cry and scream if we need something. This emotional layer begins to be structured around the ages of 6-8, and then we begin to express our needs and wants through words, rather than just with emotions. However – if the child has experienced many negative feelings, they will decide not to feel anymore. And if the child has been in any shape or form been neglected in its emotional expressions before that age, they will also not truly express themselves but suppress and oppress their own emotions, mimicking their parents’ behaviour towards them.
According to some yogi beliefs, not everything is stored from this life though. The emotional body functions outside of the third dimensional reality and has no recognition of time. In other words – some emotional responses are brought into this incarnation via the soul and the mental bodies for resolution; it is a kind of past-life memory as explained by the yogis.
Our emotions are also the vehicle of our spiritual bodies.
In many ancient traditions, the first thing to do on our path of inner development is to harmonize our emotions. This is why our inner development is often called “the second birth”. This process of emotional development requires an increase in vitality. This is because emotions are the first place where energy gets stagnant. Once healed and harmonized – the energy field increases and contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of the person. If left unhealed and unresolved, emotions start manifesting in our physical body, which you can read more on that topic in my article Understanding the Link Between Emotions and The Physical Body.
In our modern society, emotions are greatly misunderstood and are not supported. When this happens, we become disconnected from our self.
Many spiritual practitioners are more separated from their emotions than years ago. This is why when people usually start to practice yoga or any kind of system that allows the person to get in touch with their emotions, some may experience crying in the beginning because the emotions are brought to the surface through the exercises. In the Taoist system, the work with emotions is achieved with three levels of practice called “harmonizing the five elements”.
Why is all this important?
When we are disconnected from our self because we are not in integrated with our emotions, balanced within our feeling body, and process our emotions in an unhealthy way or just suppress them, the self becomes fractured and fragmented. When the self is fractured and fragmented – nothing will make sense in our life.
The physical body and the spiritual body are the ones that most often compensate for the emotional body. This leads to physical illness, emotional pain, toxic relationships, confusion, misunderstanding, crisis and even violence. We become disconnected from self. We lose ourselves.
As human beings, our biggest problems in life stem from our inability to deal with our emotions and our inability to feel our feelings. This is not our fault. Since a young age, many people have had our emotional needs unmet; growing up in families who didn’t understand how emotions and feelings worked, and as such didn’t allow their children to express theirs freely. This leads to feelings of unlovability, unworthiness, and suppression of emotions, as well as feeling that our emotional needs don’t matter.
I once watched a video between a father and his two-year old child. The child kept on crying, screaming, kicking – and throughout the entire time, the father never let go of holding him gently and staying beside him, in full acceptance. He never said a word, a critique, a judgment; all he did was continue to hold the child and when the child was kicking him, he gave him the space to push away – while still having his arms available with open palms, and sitting beside the child in stillness and peace. This kept going for over thirty minutes; non stop crying, screaming, kicking – and the father just kept holding space for the emotions of the child to flow freely. By doing this, rather than telling the child “stop crying” or “nothing’s wrong” or “why are you acting this way?” – the father is gently teaching the child to accept his emotions, to acknowledge them, and to feel his feelings freely without guilt or shame. This means – that in that moment the child will learn and remember that feelings are like water, they come and go, but we can navigate through them naturally and be okay at the end.
At the end of the video, the child naturally stopped crying and fell into his father’s arms in a loving embrace, having learned to navigate through his own emotions and somewhere in his subconscious is the deep understanding that whatever he feels later on in life – he will be okay. He will grow up accepting himself, with real love and without any suppression, oppression, and shame. He will also know – that he is loved unconditionally.
Obviously – most human beings didn’t grow up in environments of such consciousness because back in the day, people weren’t taught themselves on how crucial emotional wellbeing and emotional intelligence were. Most people grew up in environments where they didn’t express themselves freely and where their emotions were not valued, not accepted nor validated.
The way to remedy this is to heal the emotional body. Without the healing the emotional body, all else will be unhealed and the physical symptoms or unhealthy situations will persist.
It is important to note that the video example is only one moment of this father and child’s life. I can assure you that there were, and will be, many other moments where the interaction didn’t go that way. None of us, no matter how conscious we think we are, can handle prolonged tantrums of crying, screaming and kicking.
Also – this is not an excuse to start blaming parents, caregivers, teachers, friends and whoever else for our own feelings and emotional state of being; it will only perpetuate the conflict and disconnection, within and without. Remember to have compassion and peace towards your parents because we are all children; and we are all humans, outside of our role of parents. This is only meant to give us more understanding about how to handle our own emotions.
By raising our own vibration and by healing our own aspects of self – we automatically heal those of others. This is because everything in life in interconnected, interrelated and interacts with one another – because it is all energy dancing with one another. The best thing we can do in life is focus on our own wellbeing – and by doing this we also influence that of others, and help them too just by our presence and energy.
We need to connect back into ourselves and reintegrate all of our parts.
Reintegration is like reconciliation. To reconcile our connection to life itself – we need to reconcile our within first. This is about acknowledging and accepting all of our parts, feelings and emotions. As we reconcile in, of, and with ourselves, we also acknowledge our divine self, and start to live wholebodily and wholeheartedly.
This is also known as embodiment. Embodiment simply means that we are fully present. Emotion embodiment means to feel our emotions, and feelings, in our body, rather than thinking about them. This makes us more aware, more present, more conscious and more responsive to our true self. And we enter into a better relationship with our full self; with our body, spirit, heart and soul. We learn to listen more deeply and intentionally – as the body becomes the voice itself, whether spoken or not, guiding us forward; we learn to listen to the sound of our life.
Feelings are not the problem – they are the solution. And if we know how to work with them, they will always show us the right way, and lead us out from any woods.
They are our inner guidance and navigation system through life. And when we understand them better, we will also strengthen our intuition and hear our inner voice and inner truth more clearly. In my article on The Brilliancy of Feelings I discuss in detail how to feel our feelings, our emotions and how to understand their messages, with specific examples and steps.
The feeling body, or emotional body, is the bridge between the physical and non-physical experience. It is the bridge between the observer consciousness of the mind and the physical experience based on our consciousness. This means that through our emotional body we are able to experience thought as “real”. Our sense of life is part of our emotional body. Painful feelings, emotional wounds and negative experiences are part of our emotional body – and this is what our interpretation life will be because we will be drawing our conclusions from it. If there are subconscious negative emotions stored – our emotional body will continue to interpret events in this way. This leads to unhappy life. This leads to addictions. This leads to toxic relationships. This leads to violence. This leads to war also.
For whatever unresolved things we have within us – we will continue to create mirrors so that we can resolve them.
What happens is: any emotions that haven’t been expressed, resolved, acknowledged and healed, delve deeply within us – until one day we unconsciously manifest an external experience to happen of a similar emotion – so that the emotion is brought to the surface and we can hopefully at least consider healing it. For example – let’s say you struggle with feelings of abandonment, because of how you felt as a child, with emotionally cold or distant parents. You haven’t healed that within yourself yet or perhaps you are not even aware of that aspect of yourself. One day, you unconsciously start a fight with your partner and even “sabotage” the entire relationship, so that they leave you. Our minds are very clever at how to find reasons for anything. And so you sit there and say, “See, I knew I’d be abandoned”. Self-sabotage isn’t really “sabotage” – you are only trying to validate the old belief systems, perceptions and narratives. Why would you do that? Your body wants to help you heal it. This pain you are experiencing, that’s risen from the inside of you, is deep and cuts right through you. You might think it was because of something in the present moment related to that relationship or person, and in some cases of course it could be – but it usually is deeper than that. Since the wound is now rising on the surface, you have the chance to heal it and deal with it. This is because it is of a similar nature to the old wound, and now that you are feeling “abandonment” again – you have a second change to acknowledge it and move on. If left unhealed – you will continue to manifest situations in your life where you feel abandoned. We replay our old narratives until they are healed.
To heal anything in life, we need to experience the opposite of it. For example, to heal betrayal we need to experience loyalty, to heal stagnation we need to experience moving, to heal abandonment we need to experience commitment. This starts with giving this to our self through self-love and self-acceptance.
For healing to occur – we need to address the emotions and feelings themselves, and the real cause of them. A lot of people nowadays carry so much shame, thinking of themselves as broken or damaged or that they have to change something, so that they are healed. I find this approach to be quite unhealthy because by desiring to “fix” something, you are already in disapproval of it and in separation from it. This is of course not what “change” means – but I think it is important to use words more kindly when people are feeling in a vulnerable space.
We need to accept and acknowledge feelings while understanding emotions and their unique messages.
The best way to damage ourselves is to continue to think that something is wrong with us, thereby perpetuating these notions of good and bad. Feelings are pure and clear like water. There are no bad feelings. They just are as they are. They are the warm water into which we then add some tea leaves (or thoughts) and the tea we drink is our emotion. In this way – emotions are also purposeful needed, and not necessarily bad, but they can be expressed in unhealthy ways. We need to learn to control them and channel them healthily rather than changing them. To understand emotions properly – we need to understand the cause of the thought that contributed to that notion of feeling, so that we understand its message.
What I propose is the alternative way to “fixing”, which is embracing. Just like in the video that I talked about.
Embrace the wildland that lives within you.
Embrace you feelings and emotions entirely, no matter how painful or shameful they might seem to you. Be present for them. Hold them. Trust them. Trust yourself. Listen to them and what they need you to know.
This process is known as integration.
To be in our body completely, or be embodied, we need to feel all of our feelings and be in acceptance of them. Whether we like them or not, all we need to do is just acknowledge them. The minute we acknowledge them – they will just flow away. Remember: what we resist, persists. Just feel. You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to think and solve anything in that moment. Don’t think about the feeling; just feel the feeling and let it move through you like water. Just focus on the sensation arising in your body.
Observe the sensations and feelings and emotions arising in your body. They will intensify as you focus on them but just continue to breathe mindfully. Tell them,
“I am completely here with you now.”
After we’ve stayed with our emotion completely through it, no matter how uncomfortable it was, we can ask additional questions to learn more about it. Ask yourself:
- How does this feel in my body, where do I feel this, what does it look like? Am I still okay physically? This is our opportunity to bring awareness.
- When did I last experience this same feeling and emotion? Don’t force the answer, stay open and let it flow to you like water.
- When did I first experience this same feeling and emotion? Again – just allow the answers to come and stay open whatever arises within you.
If nothing comes, that’s okay too. Trust the process. And trust that you will receive the exact experience that you need at this time.
Anytime we have a strong emotional reaction to something, it is an indication that something deep from our past has been provoked, or a crossing of our boundaries have been made. Step back from the situation and just stay with your emotion; be present for it and just stay with it. Let it experience itself just as you are experiencing yourself in life. Don’t react emotionally by lashing out at the person and detach mentally from the situation. This allows your attention to stay with the feeling. This is integration. This is healing.
Completely, by my arms that hold you, this world is in perfect balance and all is beautiful, and all is one.
Look at this photo. This is trust. This is how we should hold all of our wild parts that walk their own roads within us. This is how we should explore our wildlands, with hands of empathy, support and tenderness. This is how we should love.
Our feelings are beautiful, just as our emotional world is beautiful. This is how we are able to connect deeply to one another. This is how we feel love and build relationships. This is what makes us creative. This is what makes us human and humane. This is what allows us to have empathy, because without our capacity to feel into others, we’d be narcissists, sociopaths and/or psychopaths. Building a beautiful relationship with our feelings is just like any other relationship; it is about acceptance, appreciation and willingness to flow. Healthy relationships are based on emotional intelligence, which is about awareness and vulnerability, which is what true love and deep intimacy are based upon. Allow yourself to experience yourself fully and wholly, and be grateful for the brilliancy of your feelings; it is how you are capable of loving, of connecting and how you experience yourself and this life wholebodily and wholeheartedly.
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Photography by Katerina Plotnikova.