Slowing down includes not running from uncomfortable emotions or situations. The bad news is that it can not feel very good. The good news is that it passes. And when it passes, it actually goes away; the charge plays itself out in real time (often, even this last bit for me, much shorter a time than I imagine it will take) and is then done.
When I think back to unfortunate situations I’ve been involved in, often I can very quickly re-establish connection to the energetic signature of the event. That’s a fancy way of saying I connect to the exact same thing I felt whenever the event took place. There is a reason for this: unprocessed emotions STAY EXACTLY WHERE YOU LEFT THEM.
I have a friend in a happy marriage of more than 20 years. They get along really well, but every now and again a certain moment from *when they were dating* comes up. A fight. And as she tells the story she becomes visibly upset. She is still mad at him for that behavior. And she can forget about it, but when she remembers, watch out. It is exactly where she left it. It’s not often that she revisits it, but the problem is she revisits it! Don’t revisit! Process! When she finally goes through the effort of fully processing it, a) she probably won’t remember anymore and b) if she does, it won’t bring her whole body chemistry back to that anger – indeed, she might even laugh.
Processing difficult emotions can happen hundreds of different ways. I intend to do an emotional processing section on this site some day to look at the many resources available to us. My first three suggestions (other than therapy, which, if you find a skillful practitioner, can be wonderful because *healing happens in relationship*) are all googleable: 1) The Work by Byron Katie, 2) Radical Forgiveness worksheets from our friend Colin Tipping, and 3) Tapping, or the Emotional Freedom Technique. All three are free tools and can dramatically reduce the “emotional charge” that drives you directly back to the offending event.
I have old worksheets of each of these modalities. Things that REALLY FREAKED ME OUT when I began doing this. I am so glad I’ve saved the worksheets (and I recommend you do, too) because now I can go through and look at them and see just how well they have worked. Most of these things would evoke tremendous emotions at the time of writing, and as I read them now hold no charge at all. I read it and think, “I am so glad that doesn’t haunt me anymore!”
The distinguishing factor in all of those releases though, is willingness to leave that old emotional charge behind. As evidenced by the simple fact of taking a step to disengage with the identity that is so caught up in the offending thought/emotion/state of being. I’m not sure it matters what strategy you employ – that willingness itself is what snaps open the curtains and lets the light begin to shine in. The rest are just details…