Our bodies are a treasure on so many levels and in so many ways. They allow us to move through the world and experience life in all its fullness. They also have the impressive ability to hold onto our locked-down emotions until we’re ready to release them.
All of our feelings of grief and loss are felt through the body. These hurts can come for example, as a direct result of someone we dearly loved, passing away. They can also show up as regret for long-held and hoped for dreams, fading away to dust. Either way, the bodily impact is the same.
We feel a sense of heaviness and tightness. There’s often the experience of feeling completely weary or drained. There’s also the visceral sensation of broken-heartedness. Our heart can feel as if it’s been broken into a million pieces. These combined feelings, sensations and emotions, are the way we get to directly experience our pain.
Yet what if there were another function to these intense feelings, sensations and emotions? What if they’re a sign that the grief and loss we’re currently feeling has deeper links? Perhaps there’s something else for us to explore beneath them. For example, is there an older pain or deep hurt that also wishes to be looked at?
Of course it can be that we’re simply missing someone we love, or we’ve abandoned hope and lost faith. The pain we’re feeling now, could just be a natural response. This is true. Yet very often our surface pain links to even deeper fears. For example, fear of abandonment. We may be masking other doubts. Like the doubt that we have the ability to look after ourselves without this person. Or we may doubt our ability to pick ourselves up when life gets too hard.
It could also be that we have a fear of being rejected. This fear of rejection can show up because we now feel less secure about ourselves. We can no longer trust in our physical and emotional environment. These subsidiary fears have been triggered by our current circumstance. They now have an outlet to express, so they are coming up to be felt, processed and released.
These subsidiary emotions are very often planted in our earlier years. But our bodies hold on to these traumas until we find a direct outlet for these buried memories. So when someone we dearly love passes, the hurt can go even deeper. Or if we feel like we’ve lost the love of our life to someone else, the pain is more intense.
This is where the intelligence and wisdom of the body makes itself known. The feelings of heaviness and sense of living a heartbroken existence come from these deeper pains. They reveal our doubt that we can ever rebuild our lives again. They have older stories attached to them. The current pain then becomes the perfect outlet. Not just for our current experience of loss, but also in allowing these subsidiary emotions space to release.
When we’ve previously shied away from feeling old emotions, a big shock or trauma can bypass that resistance. We have no option now, but to feel. We have no choice. Our only other alternative is to go into total shutdown and numbness, which feels like half an existence anyway.
Our body’s intelligence shows us when it’s time to go deeper, past our current emotion and explore a core wound. It’s called a core wound because the pain we experience feels very different. It feels older, familiar, of a different character and intensity. This space has potential for a deeper healing. This deeper healing can only occur however, if that old and very familiar pain is met with presence and love. A conscious ‘meeting’ you might say. One that leads to a sense of deep release and resolution within.
When this deeper healing happens, the body can shiver and twitch in response. Much like an animal in the wild who processes its trauma by shivering and shaking. It’s a sign of release. This comes as we consciously choose to meet and process buried emotions. This shivery, twitchy, feeling is followed by sensations of deep peace. Perhaps not in that exact moment, but definitely over time.
This fully-felt feeling is the signal that the body has released the original trauma. So now we can deal effectively with the current cause of our grief or loss. When this happens, even if tears flow, those tears feel very different to us. They feel cathartic and healing rather than just agonising.
Our sadness may well still be there, but alongside that, there is a sense of completion. Something deep within has shifted and lightened our load. Something within us has experienced a deeper healing. We now get to return however slowly, to a sense of emotional balance.
Grief and loss are deeply distressing emotions to experience. Yet even beneath their intensity, there are gifts available to us. We access them when we’re ready, when we’re fully able to embrace them. Our body knows when the time is right and alerts us. It does this by giving us a feeling that the current pain is attached to pain that is very familiar.
This is also the time therefore, to access outside support to help you process these deep hurts. Find the support or healing modality that works best for you. Trust yourself and trust your body’s wisdom.
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