I grew up telling myself that my feelings were not important — that no one cared how I felt. Taught that even thinking a bad thought was a sin, I believed that my hell was my fault. If it was going to change, I had to figure it out. Admittedly, I chose to be a psych major because I hoped to figured it out.
In my last semester in college, I took a graduate seminar on psychological theories. Between my dyslexia, my last semester impatience, and hangovers, I wasn’t getting it. My chosen thesis topic was the mind and body. I naively thought that would be easy.
Beyond being overwhelmed, I learned how, 2,400 years ago, the Greek Gang of Three — Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates — saw thinking based on analysis, judgment, and knowledge.[i] Then, the Catholic Church, with St. Thomas Aquinas and later, René Descartes — who in 1637 laid down the argument that “I think, therefore I am” — established that we only had a body and a mental mind.
I began to question that maybe the problem was not me, but the model, when I realized all my psych professors except one were worse off than me. Still looking for the solution in books, I began to feel hopeless.
In 1976, it was my Rolfing in Boulder, CO that blew apart the paradigm with my emotional releases from someone pushing on my body. Not only did my emotional, familiar, and somatic world shift, the model I grew up with as a good Catholic dissolved.
It wasn’t that someone sat us down and said that only mental experiences are valid; it was just the water we swam in for centuries. Even today, science, medicine, and psychology still see the world from the place of our mind as the controller. If we fix our heads, all else will be fixed.
The physiology of emotions does not exist. Emotions are aberrant effects of not having the right thought or drug.
Recently, I led a training with two EVRYMAN members for one of the largest tech firms of scientists and engineers. These men — some of the smartest on the planet — ate up the application of our model. A room of geniuses was hungry for authentic connection. They called us in to improve their collaboration and creativity – they got the vulnerable connection we all get with EVRYMAN.
We are all hungry for a new paradigm that allows all parts of ourselves to show up.
Where are you limited by the separation of the mind and body? In other words, how do you invalidate your emotional or somatic experiences? If you are like me, it was is so prevalent that you do not even realize you are doing it.
What do you tell yourself about what your feel in your body or with your emotions? Is your internal dialog saying, “Get over it. It’s not a big deal”?
Now that you have named a few of the voices in your mind, share what was not encouraged to be felt or spoken as you feel the denied emotions. Feel how those little emotions had deeper roots.
Notice as you dive into these self-judgments and commands how hard it can be to share them. Also, notice how others do not feel the charge you have felt. Accept the acceptance you receive in your group that you did not have as a kid. Let some of the charge drain off.