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  • Writer's pictureKari Wetherill

Is Guilt Holding You Back?

"There can be no transforming of darkness into light and of apathy into movement without emotion." -Carl Jung

Are you feeling overwhelmed by your life? Do you feel heavy or tight in your body? Are you exhausted or feel like you're in a constant fog, unable to think clearly or make decisions?

Your body carries with it at all times the weight of your mind. If your mind is stuck, so is your body. Your body stores your mental blocks and your mental blocks come from unprocessed emotions. The mind and body are connected. They are like two sides of the same coin and one cannot exist without the other. Any unprocessed emotion is being carried around with you all day, every day. Whether you are consciously aware of it or not does not matter, you will feel the effects. It's as if you are traveling the world with a dozen heavy suitcases. They are weighing you down!

The problem is, you're used to carrying around all of these suitcases so you think that it's normal. You don't know what you don't know. You deal with it and you go on with your life because you are unaware of an existence where you can travel the world freely! Or at the very least only carrying a small handbag. I am here to tell you there is life on the other side of this baggage, and it is quite liberating!

What does this have to do with guilt?

There are many layers to what you've got stored in your body. It took me some time to peel back enough layers to get to the roots that were holding me back and keeping me stuck, both physically and mentally. Eventually, I discovered that one of my root emotions was guilt. I also found out that I carried this guilt right between my shoulder blades in the upper part of my spine. Directly behind my heart.

Now, here's where it gets interesting! Not only is your spine intricately connected to all of your organs, but it is also connected to your brain through the brain stem and messages are sent back and forth. It's not difficult to imagine that any tension in your spine directly affects the function of nearby organs through blockages caused by tight muscles, ligaments and tendons. And if you think of your spinal column as a highway, a knot or tight spot is like a car accident which has now created a traffic jam. The signals cannot get through freely and your body's highway system which it uses to carry information is now backed up.

Becoming aware of your stuck emotions

By simply becoming aware that your emotions are stuck in your body, you have taken a major step toward their release! When you bring your awareness to the matter you put your focus, attention and energy into play. Your focus identifies a problem, your attention realizes there's a problem in need of a solution and your energy can now work to find the solution!

So what's the solution? How do you access your stuck emotions so that you can unravel the knot? As previously stated, your mind and body are connected. Because of this, you have a choice in how you want to access your trapped emotions. You can focus on mentally releasing them or physically releasing them. And if you really want to untie that knot efficiently, you can get at them from both the mental and physical angle!

Accessing and releasing your emotions physically

Any bodywork can access your stuck emotions, especially when there is intention behind the work. Any kind of stretching, massage, yoga, acupuncture, or even dancing, movement, or other rhythmic endeavor can get to these emotions. The key here is intention and focus. When you set the intention, or at least carry the intention in the back of your mind to release your stuck emotions, then go about the physical process of releasing your body, the results are so much more powerful than with bodywork alone.

One of my favorite ways to release bodily and emotional tension on my own is to self explore my body through stretching or massage. I close my eyes and intuitively move into a position and just feel my way into any tightness. When I find the resistance, I just wait there and breathe. You must never force anything. All you do is go to the edge of where there is some discomfort and breathe long and deep. I found that when I really get a good release, I yawn a lot. Sometimes the emotion will come up right then and there, but often times it is more of a time release capsule and the emotion moves into your consciousness a little bit later.

Accessing and releasing your emotions mentally

Again, it is important to set the intention to access your blockages. Then begin the process of self inquiry. Start asking yourself questions. You can do this by writing down questions and answers, exploring your unconscious through visualizations and active imagination, dreamwork interpretation, and meditation. Admittedly, this approach can be challenging by yourself and this is where the guidance of a coach is invaluable.

Because it can be uncomfortable to ask yourself the probing questions of self inquiry, your outer defense mechanism which assists in keeping you comfortable will often times block your query, responding with confusion, vacancy, frustration or some other form of resistance. However, when self inquiry is done successfully, it is a very potent and powerful way to release your stuck emotions.

What to do with the emotion when it arises

Accessing your stuck emotion is a very important step, but what do you do with the emotion when it arises? If you are like most people, you have been conditioned to turn away from your emotions. You have learned to avoid them, cover them up or brush them off, excusing their intrusion. But here's the deal: Your emotions are here for a reason. They have a message for you and by ignoring them or shutting them down, you are creating a traffic jam in your mental and physical system. The only way out is through. If you want to lighten your load and get rid of your baggage all you need to do is sit with your emotion. Allow it to be there without pushing it away and try not to judge it. That is it! It is very simple although I admit it isn't always easy. It takes practice and it really does help to have someone guide you through the process.

It can be uncomfortable to sit with your emotion and just let it be there, but if you have the courage to find your freedom, you will discover that what awaits you on the other side are mental and physical well being. With each blockage that you release, you will gain more clarity, lightness, energy, vitality, health and confidence to name a few. When you begin this process of releasing your stuck emotions and lightening your load, you will begin your journey toward deep happiness and, dare I say bliss.

Access your unconscious and shine the light on unseen boundaries with a complimentary shadow session.

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