Have you ever experienced deep, intense emotional pain and wondered how to overcome the pain and suffering?
The following is an excerpt from Scott Stabile’s book Big Love- The Power of Living with a Wide-Open Heart on how to overcome your emotional pain and heal.
We’re all living with emotional pain — often deep pain — and whether or not we do it consciously, many of us bury much of it inside.
Where it feeds freely on our potential for happiness. Where it keeps us from opening up to the breadth of our truth. Where it prevents us from living within the beauty of our freedom. Buried but present. Always present.
Maybe it’s time to dig some of it up?
We all have our reasons for burying our pain, but at the core it comes down to fear. Fear of facing the truth of what we’ve done or endured, the truth of just how dark our darkness is, and the fear that we can’t survive it. That it will destroy us. But it won’t. Whatever it is, we can survive it; we’ve already survived it.
But what if now is the time to do more than simply survive?
What if now is the time to live in a more conscious, deliberate way? What if now is the time to let the healing begin, for real?
Healing isn’t possible within denial and fear.
It’s only possible within openness and honesty, within our willingness to look at the truth of our reality, past and present, and to accept it for what it is without letting it define who we are right now. We are not our struggles, or our heartbreak. We are not the actions we’ve taken, or the assaults we’ve endured. Yes, our experiences influence how we grow and who we grow into. But ultimately, who we are is who we decide to be, because of and despite everything we’ve been through.
What does that work look like?
It looks like whatever it takes to get us to feel, reflect on, and accept whatever we’ve seen, done, or experienced, as well as the reality of our lives in the present. For some, meditation works, or therapy, or yoga, or self-help books, or art. For others, it’s support groups, or ayahuasca journeys, or music, or a combination of several or all these things, and so much more. It comes down to figuring out what works for us and giving our intention and energy
I use writing as a tool to process my pain.
The act of spilling my thoughts and feelings onto a page, whether or not that page is to be seen by others, offers me a powerful and important outlet for my darkness.
I read books, listen to podcasts, and watch talks that inspire me to open up a little more, to dig a little deeper.
I dance my ass off all the time in my apartment to release energy.
I engage in difficult conversations with my partner and family and friends to work through issues and to grow both personally and interpersonally.
I connect with my social media communities, especially on Facebook, to share my experiences in an honest way with others who want to share their stories and work at creating the possibility of healing themselves.
Others who want to dig rather than keep things buried.
I don’t do all these things all the time.
Who wants to have difficult conversations every day? Not me.
Sometimes I just melt into the sofa, lose myself in TV, and shovel chips and ice cream into my mouth. Sometimes I hide, or escape, or numb myself for a bit. But I always resurface and get back to work, because I’m dedicated to my spiritual growth, and to my happiness. I’m dedicated to myself.
Beyond everything else, growth requires dedication. Healing demands commitment. No number of books or podcasts or workshops will make a difference if we’re not committed to healing ourselves. And when we open ourselves to look at our pain for real, our pain will present itself. For real. It’s usually not a very pretty picture.
I continue to learn things about myself that I wish weren’t true. I see new depths to my anger, and envy, and sadness. New proof all the time that I can be much less kind and generous than I desire and a much bigger asshole than I’d ever want to be. The work of awareness and consciousness is a process, and it’s endless.
I’m certain I still haven’t unburied all the pain around my parents’ death, or the pain I carry regarding my relationship with them while they were alive.
I never liked my dad, and though I loved my mom, I resented both my parents for their lack of interest in my life. I wanted them to care more about me. I wanted them to see me. I may never expose all the wounds I’ve got around them, and that’s okay. I’m making progress. I’m opening. I’m growing. This book is another exercise in digging, in sharing my story so that it might support deeper healing for myself, and maybe, if I’m lucky, inspire it in others.
That’s one of the many beautiful benefits of facing your pain: whether or not you intend to, you’re likely to inspire others to look at their own pain more openly and courageously. Along with digging yourself into a more fully realized life, you end up passing out shovels to others, too.
I’ve been digging for a while now, and I’ll continue to dig, because I want to invite any opportunity for deeper healing.
I want to face the full expression of myself, past to present, with acceptance and love. Always more love. I need only to look at how far I’ve come to know it’s possible. I need only to consider my life right now to understand the transformational power of this kind of work. I will continue to explore all the possibilities of my growth, and to live as truthfully as possible. Because I want, more than anything, to be free.
Ah the heart….where to begin?
It’s what drives us gives us energy and hope, connects us to the world, gives our life purpose.
But when your heart has been shut down…maybe repeatedly…you begin to lose trust. And the world becomes a scary and threatening place.
We cut ourselves off from each other…fabricate separation….the mine and the yours.
Some of us have good reason.
Most of us have suffered trauma in our lives…sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, neglect, medical intervention, life threatening injuries, car accidents…and the list goes on.
For related reading, check out: What is Trauma? What You Need to Know to Heal
So we become fearful to protect ourselves from the world.
And anxiety and depression show up.
Now the heart is a REALLY big topic.
So I’m going to break it down into some parts, the parts I’ll call “the fluffy feely good stuff” and the “deep hurts” and we can address how to heal the heart, connect with ourselves, and ultimately the world around us.
Now you’ll probably know which of the two categories fit you best.
If not ask yourself; have I suffered any traumas in my life (childhood or adulthood)?
Trauma, PTSD, and Emotional Pain
Here are some examples of events that CAN be traumatic (though not necessarily):
Abandonment by a caregiver
Neglect (emotional or physical)
Violence to you or someone near you
This is not an exhaustive list. To figure out if an event was traumatic for you, you need to visit a doctor or therapist specialized in trauma.
Here are also links to books that changed my life in terms of trauma. I learned A LOT, the first book is sorta technical but will really help you understand trauma. The second is more anecdotal, and I was crying the entire time I read it. Just releasing…hurt.
So trauma is the “deep hurts” category of my heart healing program.
I want everyone to know that addressing the “fluffy feely good stuff” first may help for a while. But the only path to truly healing yourself is by addressing the deeper stuff.
Fluffy Feely Good Stuff: Meditation and Opening the Heart
Now, I love the “fluffy feely good stuff.”
I know it kinda has a silly name but that doesn’t mean it can’t be helpful. And also that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used in conjunction with deeper healing.
The most effective way to center yourself, and get back to what your heart REALLY wants in this life, is through meditation.
Or if that sounds too much like a woo-woo buzzword call it paying attention.
Your heart is constantly telling you things.
I like this. I don’t like this. I feel threatened in this situation.
So what’s the best way to connect with your heart? Listen to it.
Seems easy right.
Well sometimes it is…and sometimes it isn’t.
Let’s explore a quick meditation that we can do (I’m talking 30 seconds) to reconnect with ourselves.
Place one hand on your heart, and one hand on your belly. And just ask yourself. How are you? Really? Take deep breaths as you do this. Listen to that little voice and voila connection with the heart! You don’t always need to take action, sometimes just listening is enough.
I like to think of this as you speaking to your inner child. If, like MANY of us did, you suffered a trauma in your childhood. It’s very possible that nobody paid attention to your emotions when it happened. And as a child, you just learn to ignore the emotions. Right?
It’s like cleaning your room, if your parents never taught you to do it, you probably will grow up to not do it on your own. It’s just how it works.
So our hearts maybe never had the chance to be acknowledged as children. So there’s like this constant hush hush about our true feelings. But if you just listen instead acknowledge you’ve already gone a long way in healing yourself, and staying present with yourself no matter what.
You may have to do an exercise like that one 50 times a day.
The heart and the mind are slightly silly distinctions to make. Because they are so connected that it’s often difficult to separate them.
If you’re interested to know more about trauma you can also read my articles:
How detraumatization saved my life.
And this one about what trauma is and why it matters.
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A question was posted in the Divine Feminine Alchemy Facebook Group about how to overcome deep emotional pain. Several women replied with different techniques they’ve used, and I thought it would be beneficial to share. One woman said she “cried hard to release the toxins, danced to take out the negative energy, swam for grounding, and drew to lay it all out.” Another woman said she smoked a lot of weed, and another said she went to therapy.
During a spiritual awakening, we might experience overwhelm, anxiety, frustration, annoyance, hopelessness, apathy, anger, and eventually resolve. We experience so many different types of emotions that make this journey confusing and exhausting. Ignorance is bliss, but once you’ve begun expanding your consciousness, there’s no turning back. In a world where people blindly buy into illusion, you can’t un-know the truth. The ancients teach that to Know something you must either experience it or learn through imagery. Per ancient technique, our school systems do the exact opposite of educating us. The teach rote memorization and repetition, but the ancients teach that the mind only needs to have an experience once to know something. As your awareness grows, it is perfectly normal to have complete breakdowns. You’re deprogramming yourself, and eliminating truths you’ve held for years. This is a great loss, and your vessel will recognize this. It’s like taking candy away from a preschooler to replace it with kale. We must keep emotional pain in perspective. How we perceive it, is culturally and environmentally specific. A family in rural Peru will not view the death of a loved one the same as a family in rural Kentucky. A woman in Los Angeles will not view rape the same as a woman in Saudi Arabia. As deep as our pain is, someone is always experiencing what we would consider a less painful sensation, and someone is always experiencing what we would consider a more painful sensation. Pain is subjective. We only have our personal experience and environment to use as a gauge. The loss of $10 will register differently for a billionaire, and a person living in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our deepest emotional pain comes a from a combination of attachment and the mind trying to associate a cause to protect ourselves from experiencing further pain.
I can relate to this idea of a deep emotional pain because I have had deep attachments to loved ones for as long as I can remember. I dated my first real boyfriend at 15, and we’ve broken up countless times, but I never dated or slept with anyone else. We’re still together to this day. Upon embarking on my consciousness journey, I learned a lot about my experiences in this life and past lives that have shaped my reality. It was a slow process because I had a lot of resistance. I cut out heavier meats and eventually cut out all meat and dairy. I attended a 10-day silent retreat and read about 40 books on different topics related to ancient spirituality. Simultaneously opportunities arose, I met teachers and found friends I could talk to about these things.
After becoming more familiar with the Self (witness & observer) aspect of my being, I unlocked information about my life in Egypt. I had lost my mother & father by age 12, husband/brother by age 15, my daughter, my consort, and the only person I maintained was a step-son who destroyed all of my monuments when I died. I learned that no single person could have the answers I seek. Only my soul can Know my truth. Eventually, I found pieces and nuggets from several different experiences that came together to make my story whole. I suggested she start by reading The 4 Agreements, Stolen Legacy, and Ancient Future, and eliminating all processed foods as they might cause mental cloudiness.
In Ancient Indian tradition, the “reactive” part of the mind generates what is called a “Sankara” or deep wound, and there is a similar concept in the traditions of ancient Kemet. The idea here is that we are born with certain tendencies that attract similar circumstances over and over based on these sankaras. We then justify the root cause of these sankaras with our present life experiences. We say “my dad wasn’t around when I was a kid,” “I’ve always loved animals more than people because they don’t judge me,” or “I was molested.” However, for the cycle to have started, no matter how bad it seems, there must have been a prior experience that set things in motion. If we get into a car accident once, we become more cautious. But after 6 or 7 accidents, we begin to develop a fear of driving. It’s akin to drawing a line across a puddle, versus dropping a huge retaining wall into the puddle & fully interrupting the flow or current. It’s hard to get rid of these old patterns because they’re deeper than anything we can work out within our limited Earthly perspective. No matter if it’s the worst experience you’ve ever had, it’s guaranteed to only have been piled on top of something more painful that you experienced in a past life. To deal with deep emotional pain at the root, we have to learn to identify the Self. The Self is the witness and observer; it can only perceive and does not react. The awareness of any thought, sensation, emotion, etc.
You can begin to heal deep emotional wounds by first monitoring your sensory intake. You have to restrict all the distractions you allow into your awareness. It’s a sort of purging process. You have to remove chemicals in you shower water with filters, maybe even move to a place with more sunlight, and wildlife, stop using sterilizers like bleach and eating GMO foods. Also, try flushing while meditating. Flushing involves sending attention, from head to toe, through the entire body to pick up the slightest tingles, cramps, thoughts, urges, gurgling, etc. Do not scratch, or become irritated because that would be responding; this exercise is all about non-response. Just observe. Don’t even attribute emotions to sensations like, “that hurts” or “I’m hungry.” Flushing daily eventually results in understanding and awareness of the Self separate from the 3-dimensional physical experience.
Getting past emotional pain requires going through the discomfort of dissolving the ego, and ultimately unlocking the DNA. There is an ancient Egptian proverb that says “If you would know yourself, take yourself as a starting point and go back to its source; your beginning will disclose your end.” We have to work from our present life, through our DNA, back through our past lives.
I learned about my past when I began to understand the Self (soul or source energy) separate from the vessel I’m operating through DNA and my environment. There are tendencies that are of our ancestors, and there are tendencies that are of our karmic past. We have to silence the reactive, emotional mind, as even our thoughts are not significant to our essence. They are more of a result of circumstance even though the Western world teaches us they’re the creative energy itself. The creative energy is the witness and observer of all experiences, not the feelings, reactions, thoughts, or anything we can perceive with the five senses. There is an ancient proverb that says “Each truth you learn will be, for you, as new as if it had never been written.” We must trust deep inside that everything we interpret, sense, feel, and innerstand is perfectly suited for our individual journey. The intention to heal is enough in the physical realm, symbolizing healing at a higher level. When we receive hunches, opportunities, etc. we have to act. However, until we unlock the DNA, our worldly emotions and thoughts will continue to confuse us.