The Magic of Working With Difficult Emotions (part 1)

girl-107163_640We all experience challenging emotions at times. It can be all too easy to get caught up in our reactions to these intense and unpleasant feelings.

We might find ourselves getting irritable and taking out our anger on our loved ones. Or we might find ourselves spending a lot of time and energy disconnecting from ourselves in order to avoid feeling what we feel. This article will help you overcome and successfully resolve your feelings.

Imagining Another Way

But what if we could learn to welcome such emotions instead? What if we could learn to experience our difficult emotions as gifts, as opportunities to deepen our self-care and spiritual practice, as potential allies who have much to teach us?

If you are interested in pursuing this approach, here are several steps that you can take to befriend your pain and sorrow, your anger and fear. These steps are presented as a rough outline; feel free to choose your own path, to mix and match elements of them, to skip over or replace some of them or to work through them in whatever order makes sense to you.

Accept that you feel what you feel.

Before we can start to move or transform any emotion, we have to simply be present with it. We have to stop resisting, stop fighting, stop pretending that what’s happening is not happening.

Acceptance is powerful medicine. It’s the best antidote for all the convoluted snarls and tangles we can find ourselves stuck in. For many people (including myself), it’s so easy to start feeling bad because we feel bad.

I often find myself feeling angry or sad that some old familiar pain has resurfaced in my heart. I might start to believe false stories, such as that I’ve always felt this way or that my sorrow is never going to end.

This dynamic can also show up in different ways. For example, you might be scared of the intensity of your own anger. Or you might be ashamed of the depth of your grief. You might be frustrated because your emotional reactions don’t seem to make rational sense.

But you don’t have to beat yourself up for feeling how you feel. You can simply accept that this is where your heart is, in this moment, and trust that, no matter how lost you might feel, you are on a long and winding path towards wholeness.

Ask for help…

friends-204324_640We don’t have to deal with our pain and difficulties alone. We are stronger when we are interconnected, when we draw on the many resources that exist within and around us.

Asking for help can look very different for different people. It can also be quite different for one person at different times in their life. One important strategy is to cultivate a network of emotional support.

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When you have a range of relationships with people that you enjoy and trust, you can often find great comfort and help. It can be challenging for most people to reach out when they’re overwhelmed. Because of this, it’s often a good idea to ask people beforehand if you can contact them for support when you’re having a hard time.

…From all your allies.

As magical practitioners, we have the ability to ask for help from more than human allies. Depending on your tradition and preferences, you might reach out to Gods and Goddesses, to faeries and elemental spirits, to your ancestors and/or to angels and spirit guides.

All of these can be great sources of healing, soothing and spiritual insight.

Some people also cultivate relationships to non-human allies who exist physically in this realm. For example, many magical people use crystals for a variety of emotional balancing purposes. You can also use herbal teas, plant-based remedies and aromatherapy oils in similar ways.

If you have rituals that you are familiar with, performing them during a trying time can be a great way to comfort yourself. Doing something familiar can also help you feel empowered and competent.

A Simple Prayer to Ask for Help

Emotions and Candle Ritual
Emotions Candle Ritual

Here’s a very simple ritual that you can do if you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you need to something quick and easy, or if you simply aren’t sure how to ask for spiritual help. Light a candle. Imagine that your heart is a bud, a tightly closed flower.

Say out loud, “Divine Beings, Spirits of Benevolence and Grace, I ask for help. I ask for support and comfort to enter into my life. I am willing to open and be changed.”

Imagine that the flower of your heart is opening and blossoming. Imagine that your heart is giving off a sweet, alluring scent that draws love and connection towards it. Allow yourself to see any images of support that might appear, like honeybees, to pollinate your heart.

Check back next month to read part 2 of this article, which will explore expressing difficult emotions and gleaning lessons from them!

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