FIRE INSIDE: Surviving, Transmuting and Journeying Beyond the Bullsh*t
“What would you say is your level of mastery over your self in scenarios where intense emotions (energies) are at play? Are you consciously sensing and directing or unconsciously sensing and being directed (sometimes literally being dragged around in your own body) by intense emotional energies--anger, rage, fear, hatred, anxiety, shame, indignation? Are you bottling it all up and not directing the energies at all? Are you feeding powerful, potentially destructive energies and propelling them toward more destruction (of you and/or of others) or are you dealing from your most grounded and balanced self, making quality choices as you transmute those same powerful energies, directing them toward progress--your own and that of others? Who or what is in control of you?”
Well folks, I've been away from the blog for a bit. It was apropos this morning that as I got up and slowly got focused to begin my grounding and writing hours, I opened my Instagram feed and found as the first read, a post from Maimouna Youssef, also known as singer/songwriter/emcee, MumuFresh. I've been listening for the past couple of weeks to the August Greene album and NPR Tiny Desk Concert on which she is featured. This morning on Instagram Mumu was venting about the "anti-womb and anti-life" entertainment industry. She was celebrating the accomplishments of newly expectant mama Cardi B (whose latest album was "certified gold" in sales less than 24 hours after its release). She compared Cardi B with Ms. Lauryn Hill who is currently touring the country off of her debut album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" (1998) and living what appears to be her best life (in 2018) after becoming pregnant during that first album's release (which incidentally sold 10m+ hard copies), birthing 5 more children, being incarcerated and undoubtedly journeying through many more growth opportunities along the way. Mumu bemoaned the way the music industry and society as a whole has historically penalized women for being mothers, citing pregnancy and motherhood as career suicide rather than enrichment:
"As a creative person [especially a creative professional], the best thing you can do for your creativity is have experiences that deepen your perspective on life and grow you as a person..." -Maimouna "Mumu Fresh" Youssef
I whole-heartedly agree. I can certainly attest to the fact that just about everything I have created and offered beyond myself into this world has been birthed from my experiences (triumphs, travailing and neutrality)--in love, in marriage, in parenting, in friendships, in personal growth, in faith, in health crises, in observing and noticing myself and the world around me. Of course it seems the best and most ideal thing for "brand momentum" is to steadily and regularly produce--content, products, services. But...I'm not much for strictly adhering to rules, and I wonder what this expectation of constant engagement is doing for our collective well-being. This could be a whole write-up on the necessity of “white space.” Let’s dog-ear that. Perhaps the next post will circle back to it. My last post was along similar lines.
In short: I'm here now, in and for this moment, back from some concentrated "perspective deepening," ongoing personal growth and inevitable creative labor time.
I published a book in February of this year—available now in both ebook and print form. Have you checked for it? I'm working on publishing the next few. ...More on that in a bit.
In the mean time, I want to talk about intense "negative" emotions--rage, fear, anger, hatred, anxiety, grief, indignation, disgust, sadness, devastation, betrayal, resentment, shame.
I’m hoaning in on what we tend to view as "negative emotions,” however, I like to refer to them more broadly as "intense energies.” What most people understand to be "positive emotions” (joy, happiness, excitement) can also be "intense." No? To me, they're all energies--forceful, impacting, able to be sensed, collected, transmuted and direct.
I've noticed my own journeying and the journeying of individuals I've coached. Also, I simply look out broadly and feel into this world. When it comes to practical knowledge about what to do that is quality when intense negative emotions (energies) are present, it generally seems we could all benefit from steady guidance and continued practice. What do I mean when I speak of doing what is "quality"?
“One of the most challenging responsibilities we have to ourselves and/or to our co-humans is to process our most intense, most powerful emotions in a way that does not breed more or greater harm to ourselves and/or to our co-humans. It is work. It involves remaining present for ourselves. It involves letting down guards; abandoning fears, prior conditioning and preconceived notions. It involves vulnerability. It involves letting go and allowing productive, healing flow. It leads to enlightenment and elevation. It is breath and life. It is Spirit. It is Being. It is Love. It is Mercy. It is Truth. It is Power. It is growth.” -@yolonda_j
When our children grossly undermine our directives; when we feel threatened; when people disrespect or diminish our life choices; when it seems our parents or other authority figures are insulting our intelligence; when we've been abandoned or abused; when coworkers are non-cooperative; when people cut us off in traffic; when partners or friends betray our trust or work our last nerve; when we have significant health events that bring all of our other life activities to a screeching halt, indefinitely; when we listen to/read/or view the news; when a loved one transitions from this world; when we see others in pain, in turmoil, struggling or entirely oppressed; when we witness injustice; when we know we've done harm to someone we care about or disappointed our own expectations of ourselves; when we're grieving the life, money, access, time, freedom, relationship, body we once had, we feel--deeply and powerfully.
Some of us have developed calluses and defense mechanisms—for survival! It’s understandable. As result, many of us “don’t feel” much anymore or at least not in the same ways. I don’t think this is always or entirely problematic. I do think there are enough observable instances where this emotional (energetic) desensitization does not serve our progression to signal to us that we might benefit from pausing to take a deeper look at things.
The sensing of energies, or to otherwise say “having feelings,” is not necessarily bad. The emotions, or energies, themselves are not necessarily bad—not even the “negative” ones. It's more what comes both before and after the feelings (sensing of energies) that I want to raise to our awareness.
Who are you when you are not intensely sensing? How would you describe yourself at “zero pull” or a neutral state? Are there words, sensations or images that come to mind? How familiar are you with that state of being? How practiced are you at getting there—getting “home”?
When you do begin to feel an intense emotion or “sense intense energies,” where do you feel it? Is there a part of your body that heats up, tingles, moistens or tightens? Ah, for some of you, I bet there your mind went first to sex. Great! Can you see in that a glimpse into how energy (in the form of emotions), moves similarly in both “positive” and “negative” experiences? When you're angry, you might feel heat behind your ears, tingly in your feet, have tears collect around your eyes or ball up your hand into a tight fist. When you're sexually aroused or at the height of arousal you certainly notice heat all over the body, a flush that radiates out to the extremities; you may cry; there may be perspiration, and of course, the powerful contracting (tightening and releasing) of muscles that is climaxing.
Now back up just a step or two from the act of sex--if that's where your mind went earlier. Stop at the moment you switch from “zero pull” (not aroused) to “intensely sensing” (aroused) by experiencing energy that you have interpreted as being “sexual”—sexual energy. Freeze right there--after zero pull and before the sex. Let’s just look at the intense energy for a bit and bring our awareness to the ways in which it impacts us. What it causes us to say, do or think. Maybe "sexual" arousal is not the first thing you thought about. Maybe you thought about unwanted physical pain/injury or social scenarios like getting up in front of a crowd to speak or perform. The point is to notice the body, the ways in which it responds to intense energy, and what we do with the energy once it is present.
What would you say is your level of mastery over your self in scenarios where intense emotions (energies) are at play? Are you more often consciously sensing and directing or more often unconsciously sensing and being directed (sometimes literally being dragged around in your own body) by intense emotional energies--anger, rage, fear, hatred, anxiety, shame, indignation? Are you bottling it all up and not directing them at all? Are you feeding powerful, potentially destructive energies and propelling them toward more destruction (of you and/or of others) or are you dealing from your most grounded and balanced self, making quality choices as you transmute those same powerful energies, directing them toward progress--your own and that of others? Who or what is in control of you?
To that end, I present my next book: Fire Inside.
I’m offering what I’ve learned, what has helped me and what has helped the individuals I’ve coached through periods of acute emotional trauma, mental and emotional anguish, trigger cycling associated with PTSD, working with intrusive thoughts and destructive energies and journeying onward to whatever is the next journey-place.
If you or someone you know might benefit from this resource, sign up here to be notified when it’s released.
Until then, hold steady, dear ones--breath by breath. x