“In the process of letting go you will lose many things from the past, but you will find yourself.”
~ Deepak Chopra
Our past, though we know logically that the events are over, can retain a strong hold on us and can influence our present, making it hard to live in the moment. Holding on to past events can cause stress and prevent us from moving forward into our true life’s purpose. But when emotions are so strong that you feel stuck, what can you do?
Re-experience the Emotions
This may sound like the last thing you want to do, but like the children’s bear hunt story says, “You can’t go over it. You can’t go under it. You’ve got to go through it.” This should not be done on one’s own if the pain is too great. Ask a friend or loved one to be with you as you re-experience the emotions.
Conjure up a clear visualization of your experience. Recall the vivid details, sights, sounds and smells. Experience the incident you’re struggling with again, specifically the strong emotions. What feelings are you experiencing — anger, embarrassment, sadness, humiliation, emptiness? Label each feeling and acknowledge them all, taking time to be very specific.
For some, this is too intense and will take a few tries to accomplish. That’s OK. Go at your own pace. The important thing is that you’re trying to work through it. If the emotions are too much to bear, work with a counselor or therapist. They can help guide you through.
Journal About Your Past Experience
Deepak Chopra offers a process for letting go of the past that is therapeutic, freeing and beautiful. He suggests you follow these five steps:
- Write about what happened. Chopra advises you to recount the experience in the greatest detail possible and write from your own personal perspective.
- Next he suggests that you write about your experience again, but from the perspective of another person involved in the incident. As the other person, share what you see and feel, and give reasons for why you responded the way you did.
- And now you’re going to write about the past experience a third time, this time as a news reporter. And you guessed it, you’re just going to report the facts. As a reporter, you have to be objective and calm – devoid of emotion. Chopra shares that this frees you from the constriction of only your own perspective and allows you to look at the situation objectively.
- Step four is the sharing stage. Take your writing and share your words and the process with a friend, family member, coach or therapist.
- Create a ritual that’s all your own to release your emotions. Burn the written pages, bury them in the backyard or let them go in a way that’s unique to you. Make sure it includes some physical symbol of release to show you’re letting go of the painful memories.
Acknowledge Your Progress
When you’ve worked through the process, don’t forget to celebrate! You’ve set yourself free from the pain and emotions that were holding you back. That’s some wonderful emotional work you’ve accomplished!
Now you can focus on your next life challenge. What’s holding you back? How can I help you live your best life filled with whole-heart wellness? Contact me today for a consultation.
A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach, Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist and board certified Focused Awareness Meditation Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.
This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.