Throughout the ages, alchemists sought to transform lead into gold. In the same way, we all have the natural ability to turn our moments of confusion or emotional turmoil into insightful clarity. Emotional alchemy is a way to radically change our unconscious reactions into conscious responses. Recognising your negative repetitive patterns is key – change your patterns, change your destiny. Emotional Alchemy and self-transformation is for people serious about changing themselves… and the World!
You encounter life with your attention, and you probably recall being told countless times to “pay attention” to one thing or another. Attention is awareness, mindfulness, and watchful consciousness. Your attention is energy. Treat your energy like you would your money. Budget it, save it, and find ways to increase it. Invest it where you know you will get a return. You have the freedom to place your attention anywhere you choose, the freedom to develop or ignore your attention — it is all up to you.
To know yourself, you must have command of your attention, you must learn to treasure and value it, and most importantly, you must figure out how to properly use it. When you place value on your energy like you would any other form of currency, you will be surprised at how much changes in your reality. Energy is our true currency. Money is just symbolic for an exchange of energy. This is why you “pay” attention.
“A major contributor to the genesis of many diseases… is an overload of stress induced by unconscious beliefs. If we would heal, it is essential to begin the painfully incremental task of reversing the biology of belief we adopted very early in life.”
Your body is the greatest instrument you will ever own. It is a sending and receiving centre of information. As within, so without – like everything else in life, your body is a mirror of all your thoughts and beliefs. Your body is always talking to you, if you will only take the time to listen. Every cell within your body responds to every single thought you think and every word you speak. Your body is your best and most incredible guide. It constantly tells you, in the form of pain or sensations, what’s working for you and what’s not. Continued pain is a signal to the body that there’s something wrong. There is always a price to pay when you don’t listen to your messenger.
Even though these words are often used interchangeably, feelings and emotions are not the same. To keep it simple, feelings are the physical sensations we experience in our body and emotions are the labels we give those sensations in our mind. To her lover, a beautiful woman is a delight; to a monk she’s a distraction; to a mosquito, she’s a good meal. It’s all about perspective. Each person on this planet has a different perspective of the world because the way we perceive things is based on our programming and our subconscious mind.
“Learn to read symptoms not only as problems to be overcome but as messages to be heeded.”
Body-Mind and the Vagus Nerve
The Vagus Nerve System is the longest cranial nerve in the body, extending from the mid-brain all the way down the mid-line into the abdomen. Proper functioning of the vagus nerve is vital to both physical and mental well being. The vagus nerve provides a bidirectional link between gut and brain and connects all major organs (excluding the thyroid and adrenal glands). Believe it or not, the vagus nerve even plays a role in neurogenesis or the birth of new neurons. It not only regulates the gut but also affects the cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, and endocrine systems. The vagus nerve innervates the liver, lung, spleen, kidneys and gut. The Vegus Nerve is responsible for the physical sensations we call feelings.
Vagus means “wandering.” This wandering nerve branches out through the whole thoracic region connecting to every vital organ. The primary function of the vagus nerve is to send signals from the vital organs back to the brain so the brain can monitor and regulate them. 80-90% of the fibres in the vagus nerve are afferent nerves – meaning they carry information from the organs to the brain. 10-20% of the fibres are efferent nerves – meaning they carry information to the organs from the brain. This suggests that along with monitoring of the vital organs and homeostatic regulation functions, the vagus nerve is also an important part of an information highway between the mind-and-body
“Don’t allow your mind to tell your heart what to do. The mind gives up easily”
Feeling the Feels
A “feeling” is a physiological sensation we experience that develops somewhere along the mid-line. We may experience a tightness in the chest, clenching of the teeth, butterflies in the stomach, a lump in the throat, tension in the neck and shoulders, or some other sensation. So, a feeling in this sense is a communication coming from the body to the mind. When that physical sensation reaches our awareness (in the mind) it is supposed to trigger a database search as if asking the question, “What is that?” The pre-frontal cortex (the thinking brain) does that search and consults the amygdala in the feeling brain, (the limbic system). It then chooses an answer in the form of an emotional label. When the feeling is assigned a label, it becomes an emotion.
In an ideal situation, this body-mind communication results in an accurate interpretation of the feeling followed by a suitable response to that communication – either in the form of an expression (getting it out, releasing it, sharing it with another person) or in the form of taking some sort of appropriate action (e.g., taking a day off if the emotion, say frustration, is related to working too much). Feelings are your guide. Trust your feelings and learn to express them, and do not blame anyone for how you feel. Look to understand any crisis you have been in or will be in. Stored and stuffed emotions take a great toll on the body, and eventually, the old built-up energy will be released in the form of painful physical manifestations.
“Feelings are something you have; not something you are.”
7 Step Feeling the Feels Process
1. Notice the sensation and location in the body. Is it tightness in the chest, clenched teeth, shallow breathing, heart-pounding, sweaty palms… or some other sensation? How would you describe this physical sensation?
2. Communicate with the feeling. Turn your attention inward, focussing on the sensation. Flow acceptance to it. Be curious and ask yourself “What do I need to know about this message?”
3. Listen intuitively. Let go of any need to analyse and theorise about the sensation. This is not about judgement. Simply wait for an intuitive response to come to your attention.
4. Gather information. Use your intuition to gather more information if you feel your answer is incomplete. Keep asking until you feel satisfied.
5. Respond to the message. Make a promise to yourself about a specific response. Something you will do within the next 24-hours to take action on the message you received. (eg: if your message is that you are working too hard, promise yourself that you will take a magnesium bath tonight).
6. Get confirmation. If the feeling fades away, you have given an appropriate response. If the feeling persists it means you have not given an adequate response to the message.
7. Follow up. Make sure you keep your promise to you. This is how you build self-trust and self-worth and a healthy relationship with all parts of yourself.
“Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.”
3 Normal-Dysfunctional Family Rules
In a normal-dysfunctional family, these healthy emotional coping skills were most likely not taught. In fact, one reason many of us find it difficult to answer the question, What are Feelings? is because the unspoken rule in a normal-dysfunctional family is “Don’t Feel.” When certain needs or feelings began to surface, they had to be ignored, disowned, distorted, discounted, repressed or otherwise pushed back out of awareness.
Two more normal-dysfunctional rules we learned to follow are “Don’t Trust” and “Don’t Talk” because the normal-dysfunctional family is not a safe place to do so. These three rules of a normal-dysfunctional family are important for survival, and they are also powerful contributors to the development of frozen feeling-states. These rules are a direct cause of emotional blocks because we cannot obey these rules and learn to cope with feelings in a healthy way.
Healthy emotional coping has to be learned and any learning requires practice. Is it any wonder that we react in child-like ways when triggered into the fight-or-flight mode? Learning to break these rules is a requirement of change. Developing healthy emotional coping skills to provide an alternative to the skills we learned to survive on the battlefield is a major focus of healing and recovery. Accessing the emotional self is like playing music on your inner piano, and you know how to play. The question is: What tunes are you selecting? Whatever you do, every action you take, and most importantly, every emotion you feel ripples out into your reality.
Emotional accessibility – the ability to feel on a very deep level, is one of the key components for managing accelerated energy. Everyone at one time or another, must deal with buried emotions that are tied to unexamined beliefs, which block the energy flow in the body. A person who can feel and know soul-wrenching pain also has the capability to transcend difficulty and experience pure states of joy and ecstacy. People with no emotional accessiblitiy and depth are numb, often completely compartmentalised, or their inner and outer experiences are separated in their minds because of some type of trauma. Their determinations, projections and perceptions of reality are, therefore, quite rigid and fixed in focus. If you do not know how to feel, then you are missing very important gear for playing the game of life.
There are many ways of looking at life, and how you interpret your place in the world depends on what you choose to believe. In order to empower your life, it is imperative that you understand your personal and collective beliefs. You are who you are and where you are because of what you believe about yourself. No matter what you are experiencing, your beliefs form the underlying foundation to create these experiences. Beliefs are usually about power: your power to create. Beliefs can reveal how you manage your energy. Beliefs are decisions and agreements that you make about reality. When you take a good look at your life, you will see the unique results of your own internal programming.
The biggest test with your body is overcoming fear. When the fear centre is employed by habit, the mind cannot think straight and rational thought is paralysed. Projecting feelings offear onto your reality, in the absence of pending danger, distorts the body’s sense of integrity and creates a state of internal havoc that broadcasts fear into the collective consciousness.
“Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.”
Schemas – Negative Repetitive Patterns
Schemas are unhelpful patterns that we develop when our emotional needs aren’t met as children. Schemas contribute to problematic coping strategies and behaviours when they aren’t addressed. The core emotional needs of a child include:
- A sense of safety and being lovingly attached to others
- A sense of self-identity and autonomy
- The freedom to express how you feel and ask for what you need from others
- The ability to play and be spontaneous
- Safe, age-appropriate limits and boundaries
In addition, four types of negative experiences can also contribute to the development of schemas. These include:
- Unfulfilled Needs. This can happen when you don’t receive affection from caregivers or fail to have other core emotional needs met.
- Traumatisation or Victimisation. This describes a situation when you experienced abuse, trauma, or similar distress.
- Limits too Strict or too Lax. In this situation, caregivers may have been overprotective or overly fearful of your failure. They may not have set proper boundaries for you.
- Selective Identification and Internalisation. This refers to the way you absorb some of your parents’ or primary caregivers’ attitudes and beliefs. You might identify with some of these and internalise others.
“If you believe that the world is conspiring against you, it will just do that.”
We develop creative coping mechanisms to avoid the painful and overwhelming emotions experienced as a result of a schema. Coping styles can be helpful in childhood because they provide a means of survival. However, in adulthood, they can ruin our relationships and sabotage our success. The three main coping styles loosely correlate with the fight, flight, or freeze response:
This involves accepting a schema and giving into it. It usually results in behaviour that reinforces or continues the negative repetitive pattern. For example, if you surrender to a schema that formed as a result of emotional neglect as a child, you may later find yourself in a relationship involving emotional neglect.
This involves attempting to live without triggering the schema. You might avoid activities or situations that could possibly trigger it or make you feel vulnerable. Avoiding your schema may leave you more prone to substance abuse, risky or compulsive behaviour, and other behaviours that provide a distraction.
This involves attempting to fight a schema by acting in complete opposition to it. This may seem like a healthy response to a schema, but overcompensation generally goes too far. It often leads to actions or behaviours that seem aggressive, demanding, insensitive, or excessive in some way. This can take a toll on your relationships with others.
“You can’t change your past. The only thing you can change is your perspective of your past!”
Common Schemas and their Subconscious Beliefs
Masking the symptoms of an illness with medications only glosses over the destructive thinking processes and deep feelings of helplessness and powerlessness, which are at the root of the problem. Unresolved emotional traumas are the real core issues of disease. You have learned to fear your body because you were taught that it can break down for no apparent reason; that it’s unpredictable, unreliable, and untrustworthy. These ideas are examples of limiting beliefs that restrict the flow of life-force energy within the body. Other common subconscious beliefs that may be sabotaging you are:
Core belief is “people I love will leave me”. Oftentimes this can be a reaction to loss during childhood. Being alone stirs sadness and feelings of isolation. Resulting fear and panic are signature emotions. This schema can also be displayed as anxious attachment. In reality, you will be all right on your own and have a wealth inner resources to meet your own needs.
Core belief is “my needs won’t be met” resulting in feeling you will never be understood or cared for. This is displayed as intensely trying to get your needs met, not naming your needs, and emotional distancing. In reality, you want to be nurtured. You have a tendency to distort how you interpret other’s actions, and you must learn to communicate your needs clearly.
Core belief is “it’s always your way, never mine” resulting in feeling that your needs never take priority. Resentment and anger are hallmark emotions. Strategies are overeager to please, avoiding commitment, and an inability to set a balance of what is expected of you. In reality you feel resentment for being controlled. You must learn to name and state own wishes/needs.
Core belief is “people can’t be trusted”. The emotional hallmark is quickness to anger/rage. Coping strategies are suspicion of everyone and avoiding deep intimacy. You tend to idealise a person, and then turn against them. In reality you need to learn to trust yourself to handle whatever is going on in the relationships around you.
Core belief is “I’m not lovable” resulting in feeling flawed or defective in some way. Hallmarks are shame and humiliation. Strategies are rebellion, low self-confidence, distancing, bravado/arrogance. In reality you must challenge the thoughts that amplify your perceived faults and self-doubt, and be more realistic about your strengths.
Core belief: “I don’t belong”, how we feel about our status in a group. Self-fulfilling strategies are staying on the edge of agroup, anxiety in the group, and loneliness.
Core belief: “I’m not safe” feeling a loss of control, exaggerated fear of catastrophe, worry becoming dysfunctional when it over generalises. Strategies are overly conscientious for safety, hypochondriacs, over preparation, and a constant need for reassurance.
Core belief: “I’m not good enough” feeling of being deficient despite your accomplishments, feeling like a failure underneath it all, deep self-doubt, and anxious sadness.
Core belief: “I have to be perfect to feel loved” resulting in a sense of failing no matter how hard you try, sadness at not being accepted for who you are but only because of how well you do, expecting too much of yourself, focusing only on what’s wrong, self-critical.
Core belief: “I deserve this because I am special”, feeling so special that you are entitled to do whatever you want. This can be “special” for positive or negative reasons. Even though you place yourself above others you still feel inadequate and harbour deep feelings of toxic shame.
“As the transformation of consciousness is played out on the lines of time, your physical body becomes the arena for your healing on all levels.”
— Barbara Marciniak
You Must Feel it to Heal it
How much you genuinely like and accept yourself as a person establishes your value and self-worth. Whenever you feel good about yourself, you excel. You can decree that your body is worthy of your trust. The more you like yourself, the better you do with whatever you pursue. You can learn to trust yourself and follow your impulses, to watch for synchronicities and honour your hunches and feelings.
Feelings are activated by giving yourself permission to feel. Then, as you withhold all judgement, own the fountain of feelings that appear. If you’re afraid of a flood of feelings getting out of control, let go of this fear by acknowledging that your emotions are serving a significant purpose and then release your attachment. Your feelings are very valuable assets for discerning reality and they help you gauge where you stand in accepting responsibility for your creations. When you do not acknowledge how you really feel, stuffing and denying your feelings, you subconsciously project on to others what you do not claim as your own.
Be open to exploring your emotions by taking a risk and welcoming any deep feelings and memories you may have dissociated or compartmentalised or stuffed away. A tremendous amount of energy is used to block emotional memory. As the pressure builds, you will have to make space and unclutter the “stuff” inside. Imagine how good you would feel if, instead of blocking, you simply let them go. Drop the weight of unprocessed emotions and old fearful vibrations stored in and between your cells, bones, muscles, and tissues. Visualise yourself as flexible, organised, spacious, and clear.
“Making a dream into reality begins with what you have, not with what you are waiting on.”
From Pain into Profit
One of the most healing things you can do is channel your pain into something creative. Do not dismiss “dark” emotions just because society has convinced you they are not “proper.” Acknowledge these as a valid part of you and use them to your advantage. How can so-called “darker” emotions like anger fuel and motivate you? How can they inspire you to see you do deserve better? How can they permit you to see all the times you were robbed of the respect you have every right to?
The secret to manifesting your dreams lies in your emotions. Emotion is the charge that empowers your intention for creating what you want in life. The highest-vibration emotion is pure unconditional love. Your emotions broadcast information out into the source field. Complex emotions vibrate at different frequencies. You are constantly creating by the thoughts you think and you charge what you create with your energy in motion. Emotion literally means “energy in motion”. Emotions have the power to amplify or block your signal to the universe. Love and fear are the only true emotions. All other emotions are subsets of fear and love, or a mix of both. Fear and love contain unique vibrations and when blended, form a full spectrum of emotional frequencies.
Love activates and awakens more of your divine potential. The frequencies of love penetrate your DNA deepest, which is why pure love can heal anything. Fear is discordant and creates chaos and disharmony. When you vibrate fear, you draw into your life others who also vibrate fear. When there is no fear, there is no anger or resistance. We’re all beings of energy. When our energy vibrates at a low level, we attract low-level circumstances. And when our energy is in high vibration, we attract positive outcomes. We create our reality whether we are consciously aware of it, or not. If you are not happy with some aspect of your life, then there lies your treasure. It doesn’t matter how many vision boards you make or affirmations you say. Ultimately, it’s all about your energy in motion.
Let’s say you want to create more abundance in your life, but what you feel in your daily life is a sense of scarcity and lack. You think a lot about what you don’t have, and you compare yourself to people who have more. Since what you’re feeling is a sense of lack, you manifest more lack. Every thought and feeling you have sends an energetic message out into the Source Field. As within, so without. As above So below. Change your patterns – change your destiny.
“By healing the parts of ourselves that are frozen in the past, we are able to bring them back into the present – and each time we do this we become less fragmented, and more whole.”