How do You Access your Inner Landscape?
How do you open the space within? Why would you bother, and why would you want to feel all those difficult emotions? Because staying in touch with your inner landscape is essential for emotional wellbeing, choice and freedom. if you limit the difficult emotions, you also limit the good ones, and who doesnt want to feel joy, appreciation, satisfaction and happiness?
We have a saying in therapy, that the only way out is through!
Some of the ways you can open to yourself are through art, music, yoga, meditation, psychotherapy, shamanic journeying. Here I am going to talk about the how and the why of opening up to your inner landscape, why I think its worth writing about and how you can do it.
I remember my astonishment when I was first invited to reflect on my inner sensations and experience during Gestalt training. This was new to me, I had occasionally had a deep experience of journeying into myself using shamanic practices and guided visualisations, but this was different.
I was being invited to reflect on what was happening for me in the here and now, as I engaged with another person. My own experience was being given privilege! I was encouraged to find out what were the physical manifestations of my emotions and thoughts as I could literally feel them in my body. It did a number of things, first of all, it was permission to bring all of me into the engagement, instead of focussing on the other person. I was invited to remember that I was there too and my experience was also important.
The Opening of a Door
It opened up a whole world of self acknowledgement and experience to which I had firmly banged the door shut many years ago! You see, I lived in my head, and my focus was firmly on other people. Everything around me encouraged this, my profession, my job, my colleagues. I have a strong mind and had taught myself to believe that my mind was me. My body was just some attachment that I dragged around with me, tried to pretty up but mostly ignore.I didn’t subscribe to the belief that I am a body, I HAD a body!
As I dropped into myself I opened a world of intense imagery and feeling, it has guided me ever since and I trust it implicitly. Now I teach my clients how to access this world, because without it we are rudderless on a deep ocean of unconscious process.
Emotions and Your Inner Landscape
Every emotion has a physical manifestation, every thought has a physical tone as it produces feelings. Sometimes the physical sensation is a way into the feeling and can guide you back to the source of the frustration, discomfort or impatience you might be experiencing. These vaguely negative emotional states can arise like clouds out of seemingly nowhere, and they can stick around for a long time, impacting you as long as they stay. Asking you to focus on the body and dive into the physical sensations can seem counter intuitive, you want to NOT feel this way, right?
Why it serves you to Build Awareness- Even of Difficult Emotions
Well here’s the rub, as long as your emotional state stays out of awareness you have no control over changing it. It controls you. As long as it is sitting there on the sidelines of awareness, impacting your every action, you have no control over yourself , your feelings or your actions. By allowing yourself to really dive deeply into the state and be curious about it, you will raise awareness, increase choice, and ultimately, find freedom. Sounds good, huh?! This is Gestalt therapy’s secret weapon. Its all about raising awareness in the here and now, and allowing choice to emerge, instead of being blown across a threatening ocean with no rudder to keep you on course.
You might want to try this simple experiment.
Close your eyes and notice your breath, Notice the thoughts as they arise, you will have little control over this! Now drop your awareness into your belly, your solar plexus, your heart. Notice any physical sensations there. Look for tension in the body and focus there. Use imagery, color, tactile sense to describe to yourself what you find. The first things you might notice are simply expansion or contraction, pain or ease. Be interested in what you find, don’t judge. Its there for a reason and has a lot to tell you!
The need for support.
Accessing your deep inner landscapes requires courage, and it also requires support. This is often the role of therapy, to provide a safe collaborative, reflective process through which you can safely open the space within.
In the process both therapist and client rest in the truth of the matter….that this precious internal emotional place is what truly connects each of us to ourselves and to others. Without access to it Life becomes flat and dull and painful.
Gestalt therapy is a powerful tool for reconnecting you to your heart and to your deeper emotional landscape. Check the website for the various ways you might engage in this proces f transformation. I look forward to working with you.