Can you do anything for 90 seconds? I think that most of us
can agree that we could do just about anything in a minute
and a half, no matter how painful.
Dr. Joan Rosenberg recently spoke about disguised grief and its
effects on the body. According to her, unpleasant/difficult/uncomfortable
feelings exist for protection (they aren’t bad or negative), and pleasant ones
exist for connection and creativity.
I have realized for a long time that I retain extra weight because I
don’t want to feel my feelings. Does this even make sense? Let me
explain. I first learned about this in Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal
Your Life. Overweight = deadening the self to feelings.
I did not understand this back in 2007. Now I do. We begin to
feel an unpleasant feeling which typically shows up as anxiety,
and instead of breathing or just allowing the body sensation to
pass through us, we reach for the chips and dip or the sweets.
What makes it so difficult to deal with unpleasant feelings? We use
them as protection, and so if we were to become willing to lean into
them with awareness, we’d feel very vulnerable and exposed to being
And we’ve become used to the comfort of the discomfort. It doesn’t
feel safe or normal to relax in our current body and nervous system.
But learning how to relax in the face of very unpleasant feelings can
allow us to get whatever we want in life.
It’s that big of a deal, not to mention feelings are the essence of
I’ve been reading The Awakened Family and the author, Dr. Shefali,
really laid out a fantastic distinction between feelings and
emotions. I’ve often lumped them into the same category.
She said, “We react with an emotion when we are unable to handle
our feelings. When we feel uncomfortable, we create a smokescreen
of reactivity. For instance, we eat, drink, smoke, blame, guilt, have
tantrums, and so on.
These feel like feelings but are actually the avoidance of true feelings.
When we feel our feelings, we don’t have time to engage in reactive
emotions. We tune in and allow the feelings to speak to us, wash over
us, and transform us. Aware that we are under waves of feeling, we do
the opposite of emoting. We hush up, become still, and allow the
significance of the feelings to grow us up.”
We aren’t taught to do this as kids, are we? Typically our parents placated
us because they weren’t comfortable with their feelings which got triggered
when they saw us suffer.
Per Dr. Rosenberg, we come to know what we feel through body
sensations, like an upset stomach or red face. When a feeling gets
triggered, there is a rush of biochemicals that activate body sensations.
The good news is they flush out of blood stream in 90 seconds.
So if we can ride the feeling for that long, it will pass. It’s like riding an
ocean wave. It will subside and is short-lived. That’s why she says
that if we ride one or more bodily sensation waves for 90 seconds, we can
pursue anything we want in life.
I always told my daughter, Maddie, that she didn’t need to be
scared of her emotions, because they wouldn’t kill her. But what
would kill someone is not being able to feel the feelings. What doesn’t
get processed as emotion, gets physicalized.
It sets up a disease process. So the payoff to feeling the feelings is
huge. And it’s not easy. The mind will want us to avoid this at all costs.
And perhaps one of the most trying times a woman can go through
is a divorce. Talk about not wanting to feel our feelings! Divorce is one
big avoidance opportunity. We get a chance to avoid our deep thoughts
and feelings, our vulnerability, our lives.
But that doesn’t work or do anyone any good. These feelings need to
be dealt with. Let us help you do that.
Register for the Divorcing Mom’s Retreat on 8/28.