When you become aware that you’re feeling mean spirited, there are specific things you can do (the sooner the better.) First of all, name it. “I feel mean spirited right now.” Do not say, “I am mean spirited" or "I am a mean spirited person” Shame sets in and you are locked in with nowhere to go from there.
If you say, “I am feeling mean spirited right now” it allows for movement and the possibility of other feelings to enter and co-exist. There’s room for change. Saying “I am a mean spirited person” labels, shames and blocks the possibility for change.
You are not a ‘bad person’ for feeling mean spirited. Are you able to hold the feeling along with compassion towards yourself, without judgement? I know, it's challenging...but possible. Give it a try.
It is also very important to keep it in the present moment. It might sound like this "Right now, I’m feeling mean spirited towards so and so." Simply stay with your feeling. You might say "I’m feeling mean spirited right now...I don’t always feel this way...but right now I do." Can you feel the expanded space created by using these statements?
After you say "I feel mean spirited right now" try to lean into it. Take a few breaths. Create a space to hold it inside of you. Explore it. Inquire into it. Where does it live in your body? What are the felt sensations in your body that come along with it? For example, you might be feeling a band of tension around your forehead or a tight jaw or buzzing in your solar plexus. Try to stay with these sensations and allow them to unfold. Try not to create stories around it or drawing conclusions about it or attach any thoughts or beliefs to it Just feel it as a body experience.
Other feelings may surface. You may feel angry, small, trapped, petty, jealous, nasty, etc. Try not to judge yourself for having them.
Stay with it and other feelings may surface such as hurt, unimportant, alone, pained, unloved, sad, etc. If you continue the process you may shift into acceptance, laughter, peace, joy, and oneness. If you don't reach these feelings that's ok too.
How does your current feeling move, physically? (stomping, punching, scratching) What body shape best describe it? (curled up, gnarled, twisted) What sound does it make? (growl, roar, screech) Draw it in color and form (a red and black volcano) Try creating an abstract or a collage, using your non-dominant hand or both hands at once. These are just a few suggestions. There is no right or wrong response.You can't get it wrong. * It is important that you do not cause harm to yourself or others or you defeat its healing purpose.
If you do a spiritual bypass and ‘skip to the bliss’ you will be robbing yourself of the full experience. The energy and emotionality that you do not feel will be driven deeper into the body. Then you either spend useful energy keeping it suppressed and/or it surfaces later at an unwanted time or place. It may also be stored in your body in ways that create ‘dis-ease.’
This process can be used with any difficult feeling that you are having…fear, resentment, grief, sorrow. Challenging feelings provide a rich field of inquiry. Our capacity to love and experience compassion for ourselves and others are imbedded in these struggles. Well worth the effort. There's gold in them there hills.
If you need some help getting this fertile process off the page and into action, call me. I’d love to help you.