Conflict Resolution, Part 2
When we verbalize our emotions, we are using linear descriptions to express a non-linear aspect of our life. Emotions are "energy in motion"; not a linear description. To access and authentically express your emotions in a healthy way, I offer a very powerful technique that I occasionally use in support of couples in my counseling practice. Sit facing each other about 5' apart. Whichever of you is feeling the most intensely will start this process by holding a drum between your legs and drumming what you feel. No words are spoken as they can actually distance us from this very visceral expression. Although, I encourage you to non-verbally vocalize what you are feeling, as it will assist you in even more effectively expressing your emotions. While one of you is drumming what you feel, the other says nothing, just listens and opens in an empathic way to what is being expressed. This technique requires no drumming experience or technical ability whatsoever. In fact, it's best to let go of technique all together. Let go of anything linear; rhythmical patterns, tempo, and words. This will allow you to better let go of "thinking" your way through this emotional exercise and to more fully express your emotions. "Drum out" your feelings as long as you need.
Now it's the other persons turn. Repeat this same process. Take turns, back and forth until you feel "done". When you both feel complete, talk about what each of you felt while the other drummed.
As I mentioned in last weeks blog, although there are myriad variations of emotion, they boil down to 4 basics, making them much easier to identify. These 4 are sad, mad, glad, and scared. By remembering these, we can have a basic navigation of this inner watery realm of emotion.
We often confuse emotions with action words. We say things like " I feel betrayed" or "I feel abandoned" or "I feel alone". Betrayal, abandonment, and being alone are actions, not feelings. These terms imply that we have been victimized. They also imply that the person we are in conflict with is the perpetrator.
Here's a list of descriptive variations of emotions, for more accurate identification and communication.
Sad Mad Scared Glad
sorrowful resentful afraid happy
melancholy irritated fearful content
gloomy enraged frightened satisfied
heavy-hearted furious timid rapturous
mournful annoyed nervous enthusiastic
dull indignant anxious inspired
discouraged bitter apprehensive vivacious
somber angry terrified exhilarated
dismal infuriated horrified joyous
Here are more variations, so that you may never again be at a loss for words.
Confident Doubtful Interested
secure skeptical fascinated
resolute suspicious curious
certain hesitant engrossed
bold indecisive intrigued
determined perplexed concerned
After witnessing your partner express their feelings, tell them what you now realize about them:
1) Do you recognize experiencing the same feelings they expressed in your own life?
2) What needs do you see they were attempting to get met as the conflict started?
3) How do you attempt to get these same needs met in your own life?
4) Tell them what needs you were attempting to get met when the conflict started.
As we recognize the needs of another in ourselves, our love and compassion deepens. We see that everyone has the same feelings and needs. We see ourselves in everyone and everyone in us. We see that it is through our humanity that we experience our Divinity, or Oneness with all Beings. We are motivated less by fear (based on the belief that we are separate). We live more out of being inspired by Love.
It's been said that in essence, there is only one choice; whether to be motivated by fear or inspired by Love. As we develop our "loving muscles" we choose fear less and less. Eventually we no longer choose fear. Once we have chosen love enough, we'll no longer choose fear. We no longer consider fear as an option. At this point, we experience the 'choice-less choice' of choosing only Love."
beyond change, beyond imagination,
beyond differences and duality.
Once you have begun to get into that state and can stay there…you will see your own Self in everyone around you.
Then the flow of love from within you will be constant and unbroken." –Swami Muktananda