Inside each of us is a dark emotional self we are deeply trying to ignore. But the more we ignore her, the more havoc she will wreak.
I recently moved to Barbados to be with my partner, build programs, soak in the sun, and escape spending a snowy winter in quarantine. (Barbados had a strict quarantine in March and has had almost zero COVID since.)
But then the news hit. They are instilling a curfew. On New Year!!
I won’t go into what happened and why, but in a nutshell, like most places numbers are rising.
When I heard the news, a deep feeling of obstinance descended over my body, and I tried to shut it off. If my inner workings were characters in a play, the conversation would go something like this.
INNER EMOTIONAL SELF: I will not! Will not! Go back into lockdown! You cannot make me! No, no, no, no, no!!
INNER LOGICAL SELF: Don’t be ridiculous; you’re on a tropical island. Follow the rules, stay safe, and keep others safe.
INNER EMOTIONAL SELF: I don’t want to!!!!!!
INNER LOGICAL SELF: Shut up and go to your room!!
I know I’m not alone in my obstinance. One quick look at #covid on the internet displays how we have been battling our inner emotional selves to sit still and stay quiet!
But this inner emotional self is our darkness. She brings forward our worst desires, and at times seems untamable. So we lock her away, thinking if we pretend she isn’t there, this part of us will somehow disappear.
We have seen this happen on large scales through the purity movement. Swaths of parents terrified their children will get STD’s or pregnant encouraged their kids to lock up their sexuality until marriage.
Even more, we see it in addictions, where people hide away their destructive tendencies, showing one face to the world and another when they are alone and able to consume.
And I think we are seeing it during this pandemic. People are feeling trapped, scared, and lonely. Their emotional self needs to travel, hug people, go on dates, laugh at a bar, or celebrate Christmas.
But the collective logic is saying that it is selfish, wrong, and we need to stay put.
The more we stuff these desires down, the more havoc they wreak. Underground parties are held with hundreds of people, people lie about their safety steps, rules are bent, and the virus spreads.
Some of us turn on ourselves, numbing our loneliness with sweets, alcohol, or unhealthy take-out only to regret it a little while later.
Our inner emotional self cannot be ignored; she needs to be acknowledged and loved.
Like a child reaching for candy they can’t have, we can either love her in her desire, or we can scold her for wanting something so clearly delicious.
We can honor our darkness, our emotional needs, or we can condemn ourselves for having them.
For the past six years, I have been practicing owning my emotions through embodied movement. Many women’s circles call this work varying different names, but I call it Wailing after the wailing women in the Bible. Growing up, I was taught the god of the Bible condemned these women for expressing their emotions. But have come to learn they were actually being lifted up as leaders in their communities.
Today we see a woman’s emotions as annoying or dangerous, but in truth, they are needed to heal the world.
The basic premise of wailing is a four-step process:
In this process, we welcome our darkness. We give her space to live and breathe, while also not letting her damage other people or ourselves.
In my case, I let my selfish, stubborn, “I don’t want to” self move through my apartment, whine, and cry. I gave myself the temper tantrum I needed.
Let yourself be angry, sad, annoyed, or even stubborn when it comes to this pandemic. Give yourself the temper tantrum you need. You deserve it.
And for those reading this who may need to hear it— Your stubborn, angry, sad, and crazy self is not SINFUL. She is just as perfect as that little girl who from above who wants candy before dinner.
Are you interested in learning more about the process of wailing and how embodying your darkness/inner emotional self, can lead to liberation? Let’s talk https://calendly.com/luriekimmerle/30-minute-consultation