Imagine approaching a brick building that appears to be a nondescript warehouse and being drawn to explore what’s inside because of the bass of the music you hear pulsating within before you even open the doors. When you cross the threshold, you are compelled to pause because your eyes must adjust to the extreme darkness before you can safely take another step. Once your pupils dilate, you emerge from the vestibule and venture further into the space. You are greeted by a warm smile, by name, or by an authentic embrace. As you look around you see that the darkness is illuminated by diverse light sources including black lights, strobe lights, strips of flickering and color-changing lighting lining the floors, all of which are reflecting off of a centrally mounted disco ball on the ceiling.
Inspiring three-dimensional artwork lines the walls. Each piece is skillfully crafted from repurposed materials such as old license plates and boxing gloves to create murals of sports and hip-hop icons. The sounds shift to a motivational speech set to compelling music. When that track ends, a live DJ begins to spin your favorite music that reminds you of the freedom of your youth, and is accompanied by a live drummer playing on a glow-in-the-dark set with sticks that radiate colorful light.
You may be starting to wonder where this place is, and if it actually exists.
It’s my gym.
When I began to reflect on the things that I miss the most during this time of social distancing, it was the first thing that came to mind. One might think I miss the movement, the music, or the health benefits of regular exercise, and all of those things are true, but when I dig deep, what I really miss is the way that it made me feel.
Looking forward to taking an intense kickboxing class with my favorite instructor on a Saturday morning was often my motivation to make it through when my week was rough and overwhelming. During class I felt powerful, free, exhilarated and inspired. Right after class I felt satiated, accomplished, happy and confident. It was the best medicine for my mental health.
When you think about the things you’ve lost, had to give up, or move on from, what do you miss the most? How did that person, place or thing make you feel?
Everything we’ve ever done, had, or think we want is really more about how we want to feel. Once we acknowledge the loss of the way things were, we can identify how each of those things made us feel. When that is clear and we are aware, we can begin to think of other things that are available to us now, that are within our control, and that can give us those same feeling that we desire.
Here are some strategies that will support you as you focus on your feelings first as a way to cope with grieving what you’ve lost and the fear of missing out on what you want or hoped to have.
Find Your Feeling Focus. Start each day by identifying how you want to feel. Write a word that names the feeling or write an affirmation that starts with “I am…” and states it as if you are already feeling it. For example, last week I wrote,
I am healthy.
I am healed.
I am a healer.
Firmly setting your intention first thing in the morning by thinking about it, writing it, and speaking it out loud will attract aligned experiences that will lead to you manifesting that desired feeling.
List What You’ve Lost.Literally writing a list of what you lost as a result of this very present pandemic will help bring the magnitude of this to your awareness and will assist you in moving through the first stage of grief which is denial. Yesterday I spent some time writing my list and it helped me to connect with and process some of the feelings I’d been holding in that needed to be addressed. Once you’ve written your list, create a new column where you write how each of the things you’ve lost made you feel when you had them. From there, pick one or two of the things you miss the most and use the associated feeling that you identified as a catalyst to brainstorm alternate activities that can evoke those same emotions.
Find Your Safe Space to Share.Recently I’ve observed that it may not be emotionally safe to share your feelings on certain platforms. Since your feelings belong to you, other people may not understand them or have the capacity for the empathy that you need. How other people feel about your feelings is none of your business.
Several mental health professionals have stepped up to facilitate groups, forums and other safe spaces to share. Find a space that feels right for you, even if it is not with another human. Writing in your journal, expressing your emotions through your art, or having conversations with your pets, plants or as a part of your individual spiritual practices are guaranteed to be judgement free.
This week I challenge you to shift to starting with the feeling you want to feel. Once you’ve identified that, engage in activities that align with the feeling that you desire. Everything we want or need is only really ever about how we want to feel. So reverse engineer your ideal experience by starting with the feeling first.
I am allowed to feel my feelings.
I am safe and supported.
I am aware of my feelings and I acknowledge and accept them as they are.
Master Your Mind + Master Your Body + Master Your Money = Manifest a Life You Love Most Sincerely, Monica Marie Jones Your Soul Journey Guide