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Feelings and Emotions: The Essay, Part Four, Appropriate Expression — 6 Comments

  1. Dear Al,
    What a wonderful essay. You have a really enjoyable style of writing. I’m so happy that I found your page a few years back. I now also have a boyfriend who thinks this is interesting, and so I sometimes read out loud to him while he’s busy doing something else. I think it helps us a lot, to see ourselves and to be able to talk about things we do. I enjoy your page so much that I’m constantly worried that the page is going to disappear and I think a lot more people should hear your message. Have you ever considered publishing a book or something? Anyway, thanks for all of the excellent essays.

  2. Al,
    great read, thanks for posting. Have you read “The Voice of the Heart” by Chip Dodd? Similar principals expressed in both especially the correlation between fear and false anger. An instinctual fear response has been expressed as “flight, fight, or freeze” these behaviors seem to be correlated with some anger responses but I wonder if this is the manifestation of the learned fear response that shadows authentic anger.

  3. Dear Al, I think I’m confused about the efficiency of crying. Are you saying that in order for crying to be effective, you have to experience it for at least 15 minutes? Is your recommendation to cry for as long as possible, for it to be most effective?

    I have another concern that you might be able to help me with. I’m having trouble identifying a feeling I have.I’ve had it most my life. It’s in my diaphragm, or the pit of my stomach. It’s like my gut is being sucked up and inward. I think it’s associated with fear, but maybe it’s also grief. Its difficult to relax and I can’t eat. Right now, I’m fearing that my relationship with my girlfriend is ending. The feeling is tied to the thought of losing her. Do you think this is fear or grief? or a combination of both? I think the answer to my dilemma is to get out and excercise or express myself in some movement, but I was just wondering how it was categorized.

    • Dear Johnny,  Your first question is pretty easy to answer.   I will have to look at my article to see if I can explain it more easily. 

      Think of grieving as a process of pumping out a well that itself fills slowly.  If I have a very efficient pump, the well goes dry quickly.  If I have a small pump, it may take a lot longer.  The grieving process, as I understand and experience it,  is partially like this.   Just leaking one or more tears is a very small pump.  Now dripping tears down your chin is probably 40X faster, but still slow.   Getting your nose to run also is about 200X more powerful than before.  And so forth as I mention in the article.  Let's say I've got 1000 units to grieve.  The small pump means it takes a really long time.  The full bore grieving. The Holding Position, is probably the maximum size pump.  Get's out a lot of grief fast.  It can only work for about 15 minutes at a time, but can work many times a day or daily for weeks.  That 1000 units of grief may take 5 session of full bore grieving, while it make take 10 years of slight eye leaks.    Oh and in the meantime the well  is filling with new things to grieve about.    I wrote this bit to help people move toward efficient grieving, rather than bottling it up.  All the numbers are made up by me,  and this are just my best guesses.  There is not grieve-o-meter that I know of.   Hope this helps.

      I want to be reasonably careful about my response to your second concern.  My greatest concern is that you mix up expressing (Anger, Grief and Joy) with responding appropriately to Fear.  

      My first guess, as you describe it, is that your body, like mine, responds to fear by tightening up your diaphragm.  I am used to having a tightening there be sometimes my first signal that I am scared – that my Lizard is active.  It doesn't sound like grief, but it could be "fear of grieving" or "fear of loss."   The idea that you are fearing your relationship ending sounds right.  Being a profound Clinger myself, my Lizard jumps at the idea that Sandra is leaving.  I may not notice my "terror" until my stomach tightens.  I recall one of my teachers sharing that the first sign a baby is in fear is that their stomachs tighten.  Bummer.

      Exercise is good.  Paying attention to signs your Lizard is panicking and taking care of it are also good.  Expression is not much useful for Fear.  Fear is simply the tool of your Lizard to take care of you so that you don't die.  Reliable Membership is probably an important paper for you.  And the one on the Lizard.      


  4. Dear Friend,
    I am not clear what you want me to write more about, but assuming that you want more on this topic (Appropriate Expressions) I can share a little.
    I find this subject so important that I believe no paper, book or workshop could come close doing it justice – even 5% justice. I believe I am talking about learning to a) feel and appreciate all emotions so that life is a wonderful experience and at the same time b) managing their expression so as not to be destructive or dysfunctionally dysruptive.
    This is a topic for much personal, guided work for some of us. It is also a topic for our friends/partners to firmly help us put a lid on “over-expression.” I spent over a decade in my life learning appropriate expression using Orgone Therapy. Every minute of it, every dollar I spent on it was worth it. I also studied with John Lee, author of Facing the Fire and Flying Boy. I am sure there are many more books that are wondeful. Unfortunately there is also a lot of emotion-negative trash out there, too. Good luck.
    The topic can be looked at from many levels: personal, relationship, family, social, and even anthropologically. If you have a specific question, I'd love to hear it. Thanks for the encouragement.

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