Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tension is . . .

 . . . the energy it takes to keep the truth out of awareness - Gay Hendricks.

I came across this quote many years ago in one of Gay and Kathlyn Hendrick's many books. For several years I followed their work. This quote, in particular, struck home. In some ways it launched my move away from more traditional therapy to the type of work I do now. And, it helped revolutionize my ideas about stress and what causes it.

It served as a turning point for me personally . so simple yet so profound in its impact.

When I feel stressed or tense, I've developed the habit of asking myself, "OK Shelly, what's here now? What's the truth here? What are you not acknowledging or admitting?" At these times I usually find that I'm not liking ... the way it is. I'm thinking that I'm having ... the wrong experience. If I can catch that judgement, take time to simply notice it, I can then notice that there's either a feeling of resistance to the way it is or there's resistance to a feeling that I'm having about the way it is. More often than not, I discover that it's a feeling I don't want to feel.

Recently I was working with a friend who has struggled on and off with anxiety. Anxiety was a familiar feeling for her. I was trying to help her release it (the key word here is trying, but that's another journal entry). We seemed a little stuck. With further probing she said, "I'm frustrated. I'm sick of it." She then said, "That's strange. I noticed when I said that, I felt some relief. Why is that Shelly?"

"Why is that" indeed? As soon as she connected with the truth (the less familiar feeling of frustration), underneath the more familiar feeling of anxiety, the tension released (as did some of the anxiety).

Moral of the story? If you want to feel relief, you must first find the truth. If you're wondering what's true, you must feel for it inside your body. Even if what you uncover are "bad" feelings like fear, sadness, or anger, you should still experience some relief in simply acknowledging what's true. Acknowledged or not, the feelings are in you anyway. Might as well make friends with them.

Love to you and all your friends,


P.S. Due to a technical problem, you may not have received the next post entitled Time to Fire the Man in Me. Check it out!

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