For most of my life, I was a slave to my emotions. I thought they were something I had no control over. In fact, until quite recently, I believed I had only two choices: express my feelings outright and face the consequences, or squash them down and try to bury them forever. Nobody had taught me otherwise.
My ‘awakening’ came the day I realised that emotions are simply ‘energy in motion’, and that energy is supposed to flow freely through us, rather than define us and take over our lives.
Through Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and the practice of Qi Gong, I discovered that we can, indeed, transform so-called ‘negative’ emotions into ‘positive’ ones, and in doing so change the course of our future.
There could be no greater freedom than the freedom that comes from being the master of our own emotions, since they are what drive our thoughts, reactions, choices and behaviours – most often subconsciously.
But to gain this kind of self-awareness, we need to know ourselves deeply and be willing to live in a way that is truly aligned with who we are at soul level.
Life always teaches us what we most need to learn
Most of us learn our life lessons the long, hard way. Maybe that’s the whole point - we can only arrive at freedom if we’re prepared to take the journey to get there. Without the pain, the disappointments, confusion and struggles each one of us encounters as we navigate our way through life, we would not know what real freedom tastes like when we arrive there…if we arrive there at all.
We may think we’re moving toward a life of greater freedom when we leave an old job to start a new one, or move onto a new relationship after one has ended, or relocate to a new home. The reality is, however, we often end up facing the very same issues and restrictions we’ve encountered before, and being tripped up by those uncomfortably familiar emotions that have plagued us all our lives.
What is the opposite of freedom? I believe it is powerlessness. This often expresses itself through the “poor me” victim mentality. When we are stuck in victimisation, we hand over our freedom. When we wallow in pity, we deny ourselves the freedom of choice; the freedom to see a different perspective, the freedom to think a more positive thought, the freedom to look for the lesson waiting to reveal itself, the freedom to transform resentment into compassion and kindness.
I’ve thought a lot about what freedom is over the years, and I’ve come to the conclusion that, just as “happiness is an inside job”, so is being free.
We need to ‘feel’ before we can ‘heal’
To know the lightness of an open heart and live in alignment with our soul’s deepest yearnings requires that we do the ‘work’ to understand ourselves, with patience and persistence. It’s not easy for anyone to release the emotional baggage they’ve accumulated throughout their lives, but it can be done. And doing so is an act of self-love.
When we clear away old energies, and make room for the new, we evolve into the next best version of ourselves. The alternative is to stay stuck, repeating the same patterns and cycles, going around the hamster wheel.
Thankfully, these days we are blessed with so many holistic therapies and access to different spiritual practices that can guide us. As the consciousness of the planet elevates, more and more people are waking up and taking on the necessary task of uncovering buried emotional energy and healing their past, moving toward true freedom.
I have personally experienced the profound and life-changing shifts that can be made when we acknowledge the extent to which old emotional energy is controlling our lives, and use energy healing techniques to release it.
We don’t need to know what our emotional traumas or blockages relate to in order to heal them. We don’t have to analyse them with our minds, or necessarily talk them through for hours (unless we want to).
Have your emotions, don’t let your emotions have you
We need to realise that while our emotions are an important part of being human, they are not fundamentally who we are. We must shake off the temptation to let our stories, our old emotional traumas, define us. This only keeps us attached to the energy of the past, and it won’t set us free.
As my Qigong teacher and mentor, Lee Holden, says, “Emotions are like the vibrations on the strings of a guitar. They are essential to the song, but they are not the instrument”.
Too often, we become our own prison warden, and our lack of freedom is self-inflicted. We keep ourselves locked up inside our mental/emotional cages, believing that there is no way out, that we are indeed a victim of our circumstances. When, in fact, our subconscious mind is ruling our lives, fuelled by the feelings of a hurt and helpless younger self, who just wants to know they are safe, important and loved.
If we want to be truly free, we can no longer ignore the impact that old emotional energy has on our decision-making, on what and who we attract into our lives, and on the future we are calling to us – basically, more of the same in different guises, unless we do the inner work.
We can only free ourselves by letting go of what is holding us back.
Then we can choose to make a different choice.
That is freedom.
This article was published in the June/July 2018 issue of Connect Magazine, North Queensland.