Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Unprocessed Emotions

I am presently reading a library book by Marianne Williamson, "A course in Weight Loss: 21 Spiritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever"(Hay House: 2010) and of course reading as fast as I can which is why I hate library books. Anyhow, the books talks about a lot of things that we do that can create unhealthy things in our life.

The author is heavily influenced by "A Course in Miracles " which is a self-study curriculum which aims to assist its readers in achieving spiritual transformation. The book describes a non-dualistic philosophy of forgiveness and includes what are meant to be practical lessons and applications for the practice of forgiveness in one's daily life. (Wikipedia) I have never take the course which is supposed to be teachings from Jesus and although I am not a Christian I am not finding this influence to be troublesome- at least not so far.

In the first lesson, Williamson writes about unprocessed emotions especially pain which many of us express in self-medication such as in illegal and legal drugs, alcohol and food. I am reading the book because of my efforts to cut down my tendency for over-weight. I have been lucky in that I have never been caught in the traps of drugs and alcohol. She also mentions other addictions such as sex. I am sure there are others such as obsessive television watching. I know of people who watch hours and hours of television 7/24 which would drive me nuts. I am also sure there are others. I know of one woman who exercises obsessively for hours and hours at a time. The kids call her Granny although she is under 40 years of age but the ravages of exercising is making her old before her time.

For me, unprocessed emotions or pain, anger and fear have been in the form of food. The author states this is a form of self-hate. The more I write in my journal, the more I uncover about the way I think about things in my life. Why is it that the stranger in our lives is our own self? I ate to punish myself because I thought I was a monster because I did not want what my family wanted. I wanted to go to college and not get married. I was the first to gain higher degrees. The minute I wrote that down, I knew it was true and that I did not have to eat to push that truth down anymore. There is so much more but that is one of them. I did not want to become the property of a husband and have to do what he wanted me to do as my mother did. I ate to gain weight as a way of deterring those plans. My father was a photographer and I was fairly decent looking. I gained weight so he would not want to take my picture. That is a recent discovery. It goes on and on.

The author states that we eat to process these emotions but the feelings stays with us. We carry them around with us. That may have worked in my favor as a child and even as a young teenager but it does not bode well for me as a senior. I have to change these habits that keep me from self-love because I don't need them anymore. It was not a waste in the past. I was lucky in that I stumbled on these ways of protecting myself and not on other self-destructive ways such as my brother who was a alcohol and drug addict. Oh yes, I have another habit and that it is called graphology. I write compulsively although my writing has meaning. Some people have to write but there is no meaning to their writing. It is tied into my temporal epilepsy. I take a low level medication for it and it is under control. I have no intention of giving that one up.

Like so many people, I have anger about the past. That is where forgiving comes in. That is a part of the "A Course of Miracles" which is again fine with me. I have written recently about this and finding that it is essential that I forgive and let go. Again, I still need to protect and not condone what was done to me. Writing things down pulls those events and experiences up to the sunlight of consciousness and then they can lose the power they have over the self. I am not saying this anger is not justified for I think it is; but it is time to move on with the information that I gleaned from the experience.

I have mentioned my friend Ted who is now in New York City. He told me that whenever he writes a book about his experiences he is more realistic about what happens, he never lies but digs deeper into his memory. He says he can feel the memories turn into birds that fly away into the sky never to return. He could never have written about what he did in the book that is now being released. He would not have had the courage. He gets letters from people all of the time thanking him for his books. He also gets letters from his relatives threatening to either sue him or kill him. The one time a cousin sued him, Ted won in court. No one has tried since. This last book was about a rape in which happened to him and it was very difficult for him to write. He feels free from it now. For him unprocessed emotions has been in the form of alcohol and drugs. He says he is now free and attends 12-step meetings all of the time and sloshes when he walks because of all of the coffee he drinks.

Ted said he drank and took drugs because he said he was afraid of himself. He thought he would kill people. That is why he took up writing. He started to write thinking he would write stories in which he would kill those he was angry with instead of erupting in actual violence. To warm up, he started to write the memoirs. He showed it to an editor from a publishing company at a 12 step meeting who needed something to compete with other memoirs out on the market and he arranged for a contract. Since then he has an agent which has increased what he gets from the books. Ted says he is one of the very few authors who never had to go through the reject piles.

I write to express unprocessed emotions too. This has become so much easier since the advent of the word processor. As with Ted, I have to write and write down the layers before I get to the deeper ones that have more emotions. Of course, I never considered publishing them until I got this blog. Ted has lived a life that is as varied and exciting as Jack Kerouac's. He even drove across the country in a beat up car and even hitched a ride on a train. He is younger than I am but still has plenty of material that he has not used yet.

I have known a few actors in my life and many of them live on the scripts they are given and I would never want that for myself although they make so much more money than I do. A friend said that this situation is temporary for the computer and graphic programs will be creating actors that can be kept in the computer. I heard one producer say he was always scared in a production of a movie that his main star will die leaving him holding the bag as what happened when Health Ledger died. Writers are used to living their lives inside their heads.

There are artists who draw, paint and create their emotions and this works well with them. It is so much easier than drinking or taking drugs which does not produce a product that can be seen or used by anyone else except a jail term or a car accident and that is not very creative. Once the alcoholic is back among the population, his emotions are still with him unprocessed while writing and artwork, for example, lessen the impact on the conscious mind.

These are the healthy things we can do to process the emotions we have in our bodies and bring sunshine into the darkness of the night. These techniques are for everyone to use and not for those who make a living doing them. Even if one draws stick figures, artwork if that is what works will be something that will help draw off the energy of unprocessed emotions. I know several gentlemen who go out on the lake in a kayak to burn off the emotions and several people I know use bikes. When I am at the gym, I can see people earnestly running on those treadmills with emotions running out behind them. It just depends on who one is.

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