09 Nov How to stay clear and focused with your inner work (when you feel pulled in EVERY direction).
When it comes to spiritual and emotional growth, triggers, upsets and dense emotions used to side-swipe me like some kind of football tackle, taking me down for the count at a moments notice, often not emerging for days, weeks (months)! I’d find myself confused, overwhelmed and unable to see my way clear.
But recently something has shifted.
From confusion and overwhelm to clarity and focus, my inner resources have (finally) developed to a point where I can go deep, do the work and come back to normal functioning without getting completely pulled under.
It made me think of all the practices I have explored over the years and ‘work’ I’ve done to get me to this place. If you find yourself getting lost in the haze of confusion, overwhelm in your spiritual practice and falling into the bottomless pit of ‘yeah, but what the hell does it all mean?!’, then you might find something helpful in this post.
Oh, man. I overthink with the best of them. As soon as something significant happens in my spiritual practice I immediately want to slot it into my awareness like a long lost piece of the jigsaw puzzle. But more often than not, messages, vision, and insights we tap into as we’re exploring our inner world, don’t always make immediate sense. They are cryptic, symbolic and elusive at the best of times. Which is reason enough for some of us to throw our hands up in the air and go back to watching Netflix.
Us human’s are meaning making machines. But it’s this exact need to immediately understand something that can get us into a space of confusion and overwhelm when we are healing and growing.
I’ve learnt that you can’t make sense of inner spiritual and emotional experiences with your mind alone. It’s exhausting and a waste of time. And often the magic and meaning gets lost because you’re trying to squeeze it into a neat little box.
So my first tip is to stop trying to make sense of it. Allow it to percolate and settle deep in your psyche first and focus on how it makes you feel. Trust that the insights will arrive at exactly the right time.
By feeling, I mean noticing the physical sensations in your body resulting from an emotion that you are experiencing. Your body has the ability to move and process emotion like nobodies business, therefore a huge part of healing is dropping out of your head and into your body instead.
Using the body as your guide, you can release tension simply by tuning in to the felt sensations in your body. Start by noticing where your emotions are constellating. It might be your solar plexus, your chest, or your throat. Simply hold your focus there. Breathe. Surrender into it. Breathe some more and continue for as long as needed. Repeat often until the charge is gone and you experience a sense of release.
It takes patience and practice, but dropping out of the head and into the body is a much faster and thorough route to healing than thinking will ever be. I’m not gonna lie – it can be incredibly uncomfortable. And at times, you may want to opt-out. It’s useful to remember that that harder something is to feel, the greater the potential for release, so hang in there. Get some support if you need it.
Break it down into smaller parts.
When something big ‘comes up’ in your spiritual and emotional development it can be really confronting. The gap between where you are now and where this growth edge exists seems intimidating and insurmountable. And so it becomes very easy for us to avoid it or forget about it. As the saying goes – what you resist, persists. In other words, it will never really go away until it’s dealt with.
The fire-walking, facing-your-fears-head-on, ala Tony Robbins approach to personal growth might be more your thing and that’s fine. But I believe that your inner process is sacred and unique and needs to be respected. Plus your soul never responds to force.
The best thing to do in this circumstance is to break it down into easier, more digestible parts. Begin to approach your healing edge in small, incremental steps. That’s the whole point behind my guidebook Altars to Self. As a regular monthly practice, my personal Altar becomes the forum through which I gently and progressively move towards a greater healing outcome.
Working this way means that I stay engaged with my growing edge whilst approaching it at my own pace. I’m undertaking personal transformation in a way that nourishes me and cultivates my inner connection and sense of Self-trust. Slow, steady and gentle wins the race.
Give yourself permission to fully release.
Just 4 days ago (as I write) I emerged from a Re-Wilding Women’s Retreat exploring the light and dark faces of the feminine with movement, breath-work and sound. Imagine 20 women in a room clearing personal, collective, ancestral and past-life pain and blockages. Yep. It was DEEP and raw and cathartic. And amazingly beautiful all at the same time.
Yet, here I am on the other side feeling clear and calm. Not a football tackle in sight.
The difference here is that I gave myself full permission to let it all out. To not hold back in any way. I was able to channel anger, rage and sadness and follow it through to the very end, leaving nothing behind. I allowed my emotional expression to completely run its course.
I get it. It’s not always safe or convenient to do this in our everyday life, which is why we hold onto stuff a lot longer than we should. But if you get the opportunity, either when you’re alone in the house, with a trusted friend, facilitator or therapist, then take the opportunity to fully express whatever emotion is bubbling away underneath the surface. Move, dance, thump, scream, curl up in a ball – whatever it is you need to do. Keep going until there’s nothing left. Rest and be kind to yourself afterwards as you integrate.
Work on your energy.
When all else is lost, work on clearing, cleansing and raising the vibration of your energy body. As humans we have an extensive energy field all around us and indeed we ARE energy, so an excellent way to become clearer and work with your healing edge, rather than against it is to actively work on cleansing and clearing your energy body.
In the past I’ve dabbled in this mainly with chakra clearing practices and meditations, but it was never a consistent thing. Lately though, I’ve been working with my cosmic mentor and channelling light through my body daily and I’ve noticed a huge difference in how quickly I’m able to bounce back from challenges and move out of disempowered states. Doesn’t mean that challenges magically disappear, just that I’m able to deal with them a lot more effectively. Like all forms of meditation, it has a cumulative effect. Consistency is essential.
The danger here is relying on energy clearing practices as the be all and end all, excusing you from really dealing with anything in your real life (spiritual bypassing, anyone?). It’s really important to ground yourself regularly, be real about what it is you’re experiencing, value, feel and express your emotions and take tangible steps in reality to create change in your life.
Which leads me to my final suggestion.
Take one small step.
If there’s one thing to remember when you’re feeling confused and overwhelmed, it is this: Just take one step.
Make that appointment. Book a massage. Sign up to a women’s circle or yoga class or some other group activity that you know you need. Hell, make yourself a cup of tea and give yourself permission to just sit and breathe.
The key to cutting through confusion and overwhelm is taking action – but, and here’s the best bit – it doesn’t have to be the biggest boldest step in the world. A simple move in the right direction can lift you out of the fog and into momentum. Often taking the next small step will lead to the next and the next. Honour yourself and move at your own pace and before you know it, you’ll be on the other side, relishing a whole new level of clarity and self-empowerment.
[And just in case your next step might involve a FREE session with me, I’m offering a limited number of Mini Soul-Midwifery Sessions – read below for more details.]
So what do you think? Are any of these tips useful? And do you have any other suggestions for pulling yourself out of confusion into clarity when engaging with your inner work?
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These sessions are for you if:
- You’re either approaching an inner healing edge or emerging from one.
- There’s a lot of emotional and spiritual content stirring within you and you don’t know where to start.
- There’s an inner tension between staying in your comfort zone and expanding into what you know is possible for you.
My intention for these sessions:
- To help bring clarity and focus to your situation.
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