I noticed my inner thigh discomfort increasing as I left the airport after dropping off my 16 year-old son. He was air traveling alone his first time for a week-long trip to a leadership conference across the country. My mind immediately went to analyzing what trigger points in my muscles to massage to relieve the pain when I got home. Then I remembered to consider what I was not feeling emotionally.
What Emotions Would I Expect?
As I opened to feeling my emotions I considered sadness. I might be feeling sad about my son being away from me for a week and fearful for his safety on this first big trip by himself. I let myself feel the emotions as physical sensations in my body as I drove home. As I felt the emotions my focus was more on whole body sensations, especially in my torso and with that the focus on my thigh released as the sensation became less noticeable and went to the background of my awareness. Then I was able to really feel the letting go, which sadness represents, the loss of not having my son at home for a week, to recognize my fear about his welfare during his travels and to let go of taking care of him and trusting that he will learn how to take care of himself without me. I recognized that this is bigger than just this one trip that it’s a continuation of letting him grow up and be more independent.
The Turn Around
“What am I not feeling now?” is a play on the mind-body awareness tool of asking “What am I feeling now?” and Byron Katie’s thought work method which includes considering the opposite thought. Many times I don’t even realize I’ve resisted having an emotion until I feel physical discomfort. Part of me believes I should feel calm, cool and collected at all times. That’s the part that resists even being aware that there is an emotion occurring. By asking what I’m not feeling, it allows me to use my mind, which is very aligned with my logical side, to consider what emotions would be normal or expected in the situation, that I just might be resisting feeling.
Welcoming and Feeling Emotions
My son safely arrived at his destination that day. Along the way he learned that putting the itinerary and boarding passes in his back pocket was not a good idea. The itinerary was lost and will be replaced, but some nice strangers pointed out he had dropped his boarding passes. He will learn what he needs to in his own way. He’s a smart kid and I’m learning to trust, let go, and wish him well on his adventures. In the meantime I’m getting more skilled at welcoming and feeling my emotions knowing that the less I resist, the more I feel, and the richer my life experience is.