Mindfulness of Feelings Class Follow-Up
In this weekly follow-up, I’m offering many ways for you to work with the content that was presented in class. Please don’t feel pressured to do it all. Do what feels right to you. Trying to meditate daily might be enough! Some days, having the intention is even enough. But if you want more, I’m offering options to take it deeper.
In this class, we learned about and practiced mindfulness of emotions and feelings. Highlights from the class include:
- We practice mindfulness of feelings/emotions so we can relate with balance instead of reactivity and getting hooked.
- The point is neither to stop nor react to feelings. It’s to touch the feelings that arise with mindful, loving awareness. Then it’s possible to decide how you’ll respond to those feelings skillfully.
- Feelings are not inherently good or bad, although we experience them as positive, negative, or neutral.
- All emotions, even difficult ones, have intelligence and positive intention. They signal us to pay attention to potential threats and benefits. If we push them away, we won’t uncover their wisdom.
- An attitude of respect (“This, too, belongs.”) help us to be mindful of feelings.
- There are two arrows that strike with unpleasant emotions. The first is the feeling itself, and the second is judging ourselves for having the feeling. The second one can be sneaky and hook us!
- Notice where you feel the emotion in your body. Noticing the physical sensations takes you out of your head and allows you to put some space around the feeling and not over-identify with it.
- Working with fear: Notice it, pause, and turn attention to your anchor.
- Long, deep breaths trigger a calming parasympathetic response that soothes the nervous system.
- R.A.I.N. (Recognize, Allow, Investigate, Nurture) can be done as a meditation in which you recall past experiences or in the moment when strong feelings arise. It helps you to access and grow your inner resourcefulness, and I recommend it highly.
- Journaling is another great tool for working mindfully with emotions. You could write with a pen and paper or digitally. Tip: You can have your journal set up as a Google Doc, and whenever something comes up, you can dictate directly into that document via your phone on the fly. This works wonders for me!
Poem: “On Hospitality: A Reply to Rumi”
Welcome all the visitors, you say.
Do not put bars on the windows
Or locks on the door.
Do not close up the chimney flue.
Duct tape and plastic sheeting will not keep the visitors at bay.
They’ll pound on the doors; they’ll break your windows,
They’ll breach the barricades
They’ll storm the beach, swarm in like ants through cracks.
They’ll leak like water through the walls, and creep like mice,
and curl like smoke and crack like ice against the window glass.
Keep them out? It can’t be done, don’t try.
Welcome all the visitors.
Fine – there’s all kinds
of welcoming, however.
I do not have to throw a house party.
I will not post flyers.
There will be no open bar.
No one will get drunk and lock themselves in the bathroom.
No one will break furniture; grind chips into the rug,
throw anyone else in the pool,
or lose an earring in the couch.
I do not have to run a guest house, either.
There will be no crackling fire.
And no easy chairs.
I will not serve tea to the visitors.
I will not dispense
ginger snaps and ask my guests
“Did my mother send you?”
“Why must you plague me?”
“Why not stay awhile longer?”
“Who are you, really?”
If I must welcome – and I am convinced I must –
Let me build a great hall to receive my guests.
Like a Greek temple, let it be open on all sides.
Let it be wide, and bright, and empty.
Let it have a marble floor
Beautiful – and cold, and hard.
Let there be no sofas, no benches, no dark corners
no anterooms and no coat closets.
No walls, not even a ledge to lean against.
I’ll welcome anyone who comes,
I’ll show them my enormous empty hall.
Come in, come in, I’ll say. I’ll even smile,
perhaps make a conversation for awhile.
And if someone settles on the floor, as if to stay,
or circles round and round, as if they’ve lost their way.
I’ll be kind, extend my hand,
and gently show them out again.
– Amy Newell
This Week’s Homework
- Aim for meditating at least 15 minutes/day.
- Experiment with one or more the guided meditations below and any practices you enjoyed from previous weeks.
- Record each meditation session in your Mindfulness Meditation Practice Log or journal. Include what you noticed during your sitting, what challenges or insights arose, and what questions you wish to ask during the next class.
Please remember that any meditation is better than none! If you don’t have time to meditate on a given day, you might try:
- Going to sleep listening to a guided meditation
- Taking a few minutes to imagine yourself in the most beautiful, soothing place
- Pausing to take three conscious breaths periodically throughout the day
- Breathing with your sleeping child
- Outdoors or indoors in front of a window: Feeling the sun on your skin, watching or listening to birds, watching the clouds drift through the sky, gazing at the stars, being mindful of sounds, etc.
- Taking time for gratitude by writing down five things you’re grateful for each day and pausing to savor pleasurable experiences. (Here is a blog post I wrote that might be helpful.)
- Breathing with the Breathe Bubble on Calm.
- If you’re in need of soothing or calming, you might want to check out the Magic Flowers Visual Healing App or filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg’s Netflix series of breathtaking nature videos, including time-lapse flowers.
Questions to Reflect on
- What feelings were and were not allowed in your family?
- What range of emotions are OK for you?
- What’s outside of your comfort zone?
- What are you unwilling to feel?
- How do you experience feelings (mind/thought, heart, body, or a combination)?
Live Guided Meditations
I offer a live, guided meditation session weekly via Zoom through Schuylerville Public Library. Please join me if you’d like on Tuesdays at 7 PM. You can save the link. It remains the same from week to week.
Tuesday evening Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87301609088?pwd=dU0zMko2Z0xnMHZtN2NZS1ZJNTlOQT09
Pre-Recorded Guided Meditations
Choose whatever meditations resonate most.
Mindfulness of Emotions
Susan Meyer (12 min.)
R.A.I.N. of Self-Compassion
Susan Meyer (16 min.)
Mindfulness for Calming and Soothing
Susan Meyer (11 minutes)
The RAIN of Self-Compassion
by Tara Brach (11 min.)
On Insight Timer
The RAIN of Self-Compassion (same meditation as above)
by Tara Brach (11 min.)
I’ve recorded and uploaded more guided meditations that can be accessed when you sign up HERE (scroll down to the bottom) for my newsletter mailing list. Please also refer to the Course Introduction page for additional resources to support your meditation practice.
May your practice be fruitful this week! This is important work you are doing. I look forward to seeing you in the next class. Until then, please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions you may have.
And please take good care of yourself, my friends.
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