Weekly Reading Topic for November 28, 2020: UnGratitude Practice
Well, good morning, love! I just opened a Reading for you, my newsletter subscribers and here’s what I heard in answer to the following:
What do my readers most need to hear this weekend? What is the most important message to send to my beloved readers?
The answer was: “ungratitude practice.”
What follows is your weekly reading, dearest one.
Weekly Reading │ UnGratitude Practice
Q: What do we need to know about “walk the line?”
A: An UnGratitude Practice?? Isn’t that … spiritually wrong somehow?
Nope. Here’s why.
When you are in struggle, when you are depressed, when things Are Just Not Working Out for You, when you get one bad break after another, when you are worried about the political climate and the environment and the mental and emotional health of your children and loved ones, it’s normal to feel — to coin a word — ungratitude.
Ungrateful. Hateful. Pessimistic. Beleaguered. All normal feelings in extreme circumstances!!
From our smallest days we are told to keep a stiff upper lip, take it on the chin, turn the other cheek, look for the silver lining, or “think positive.”
That’s not necessarily bad advice, it’s just not always GOOD advice.
When things are really, really sucky, trying to “be positive” might actually backfire. You might put a smile on your face and end up denying reality. You might ignore the suffering of others, or yourself. You might find yourself savaging others for not being able to “man up” and be more positive about THEIR troubles.
It could make you look like, act like … a jerk.
So. Let’s practice UnGratitude, just a little, and see what it gets us. (For those who are wincing right now, just bear with us, it’s just a thought experiment.)
What happens when you acknowledge that things are crap for you right now?
You are listening to yourself. You are validating the reality you are feeling inside, without arguing with whether or not you SHOULD feel that way. You are becoming humble — which means close to the ground — and giving yourself the gift of your own imperfect life without trying to improve it or change it. (For now.)
There’s an old saying that a trouble shared is a trouble halved. By simply sitting down and feeling miserable about miserable things, you are sharing your troubles with YOURSELF. And just that simple act can halve the troubles!
Why? Because by removing the heaviness of unacknowledged troubles, you are able to start to see solutions. Answers. You get insights, ideas, and strategies.
But when you’re just muscling through your pain, pretending that nothing is wrong and you are all #blessed, you can’t get past the troubles. You can’t see the solutions for yourself, and if others offer some, you might not be able to take them.
It’s hard when you carry the weight of the world. Share it with yourself, make yourself a trusted friend and colleague. Then move on from there.
Now, obviously, there are times when you should ALSO share your troubles with a trained professional. So if you don’t feel a little better after doing the exercise below — reach out. There is no shame in getting help. In fact, there may be more shame in NOT getting help once you realize you could use it.
OK … so here’s a great Ungratitude Practice:
Find a quiet place, preferably alone, although you could also work with a friend or family member who understands the importance of letting you express yourself fully before “moving on.”
Settle yourself, feeling the earth under the feet, the pull of gravity on your body. You are safe.
Extend your awareness out all around your body. Become alert to what’s around you. Feel your personal space, which is the space around you that feels like “yours.” Make sure you can feel ALL of it. Extend it a little if it’s too close to you, and fill it up right up to the boundaries. Make sure you can feel your space behind you, and below, and above, as well as the sides and front. This is YOUR space. And only YOU are in it.
Look on the boundaries of that personal space with your mind. Any tears, holes, or gaps? Fill those in with your alert attention.
Now that you have grounded yourself and identified your boundaries and shored them up, let’s use this space to be totally 100% UnGrateful.
Either on paper or out loud, start listing your worries, troubles, cares, fears, and darkest doubts.
Do not censor yourself. If you have something that feels trivial, put it down. If it’s something you’ve never dared admit before, put it down, speak it out loud.
Anything hard, sharp, contemptuous, disgusting, horrible, terrible, awful: put it down or speak it out loud.
[I just did this for myself, and I noticed that mostly I have giant FEELINGS come up. I didn’t really have words or even memories. But man, did I ever have FEELINGS. I found a sense of nausea, rage, and deep grief. So I just thought “grief” and then “ejected” it from my mind. It sort of felt like a mental throwing up!]
What does this do? It purges these things from our minds and puts them on paper, or at least, outside our heads. Byron Katie likes to say that “all war belongs on paper.” I tend to agree, although I find speaking out loud to be really helpful for me, too.
Sharp words and nasty thoughts rattling around in our consciousness have consequences. Your body/mind is soft and filled with precious fluids, and it likes cozy, comforting, nourishing, inspiring ideas.
A fear, a past trauma, a contemptuous feeling … these are like loose nails carried in the body/mind. They tear and puncture and scratch. Left alone, they do damage, some of it permanent.
By letting them out, you do NOT affirm their truth. You relieve yourself of their effect and begin to heal.
[[The body always heals itself. Healing begins IMMEDIATELY after an injury occurs. And it continues until the job is done, even if it takes years. Can we heal everything permanently? No, not always. But the cells work, and work, and work to heal. They never give up on us.]]
Think of this process a little like draining an abscess — if you drain it, you heal it, even though what comes out at first looks disgusting. You don’t want to keep that stuff inside — it’s poison. Let it out.
And as it comes out, as it drains out onto your paper or into the cool air, don’t take any more notice of it than you would that fluid exiting a wound. It’s not important, it’s not good, it’s not true, it’s not worth keeping.
We don’t drain our abscesses and keep the mess for posterity. We don’t wear it as a badge on our heart, as a marker of who we are. We wipe it away, clean the wound, and start the healing process. The fluids are discarded. They’re trash.
Continue to speak or write — or just FEEL the feelings of your upsets and troubles — until you feel a sense of being lighter and freer. Your mind will sort of come to rest, and you will feel better.
Now, get that poison out of your personal space. If you have it written down, ball it up and throw it as far as you can. Then pick it up and throw it in the trash. (Remember, it’s poison, no need to keep it.)
If that doesn’t feel far enough, feel free to take your paper and remove it from the house, or burn it. Just get rid of it as the trash you do NOT want to keep.
If you did this in your mind, imagine a way to clean up your personal space. I just imagined that my emotions were sticky balls of masking tape, and I clumped them all together into one BIG ball, and put it in a t-shirt launcher, the ones they use at ballgames, and launched it out of my personal space. (All the way into outer space.)
But you could use a vacuum cleaner, or a broom, or a fairy wand, or whatever other tool feels fun to use to clean out your personal space.
Repeat this as needed. Multiple times a day, a week, for months. Years.
Anytime you feel filled up with despair, or trauma, or weakness.
Because afterward, you actually FEEL better. And once you feel better, the silver linings aren’t necessary. You will start to see the blue sky.
You won’t need to stiffen your upper lip. There will be a naturally firm, focused quality to your mind already.
You won’t need to “think positive,” because you WILL feel more positive. (Even if just a little.)
When we remove the cause of the bad feelings, the nails in our psyche, we can start to heal.
And once we are on a healing path, we can see the role we play in our lives and the lives of others.
We might see that our thoughts were the issue, not our circumstances.
Or, if our circumstances are still problematic, we can see the ways we might change them or get the help we need. Sometimes the answers are right under our nose, but we don’t notice them until we’ve dumped the poison.
Or, if the problems we’re burdened by are civil, rather than personal, we can see how to serve. How to make things better.
Get Ungrateful this weekend. It’s not fun to see this stuff — I’m the FIRST to admit that — but it’s totally worth the payoff.
Here’s to our healing.
I am always here to serve in any way I can.
Much Love to You,
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