Hi beautiful friends,
I like to growl. What do you do when things go wrong, someone hurts you, you jack things up, and worse happens in life? I growl to release the stress of frustrations, because the energies we don’t let out, get locked in our bodies, progressively making us more anxious, depressed, sleepless, tense, achy, or irritable than we need to be. Is there, or has there, been anyone in your life who really pushes your buttons? A real life-saver for me came during my worst of those instances.
As evolved, rational humans, it’s unfortunately easy for us to forget we’re also animals. The importance of remembering this is that to be fully whole and healthy, we need to mindfully let our animal selves out of their “cages” so they can express themselves! While after animals have a “moment” they shake it off by howling, crying, trembling, and such, we tend to shove those impulses down. Increasingly, though, studies are showing the harm of this, because it literally puts the issues in our tissues, which, sooner or later, shows up in all manner of less than optimal ways in our bodies and dispositions (like those mentioned above).
A soul-saving revelation for me came like a gift from heaven during the season when the aforementioned person pushed my buttons more vigorously than I’ve ever experienced. At the time I happened to be going to grad school for a Masters in Divinity, and someone shared how more than 40% of the Psalms (a book of poems/songs in the Bible) are laments! In other words, it can be inspired, sacred, and immensely healing to rant and rave in healthy ways! Many times, the authors pray for things like smashed heads, broken teeth, pools of blood, and other quite painful and unseemly things to be visited upon people who’ve wronged them. I don’t read these as examples of what we’re literally to meant to wish for, or heaven forbid, do to others. Instead, the fight response is a healthy part of our animal selves, but since the path to salvation and enlightenment is as nonviolent possible and Love laden, the psalmists model for us a healthy way to get the violence out of our system … write, sing, and/or speak it in healthy, safe, healing, and nonharmful ways!
This is exactly what I did in my times of troubles. You would NOT want to read the raw streams of rage and devastation I wrote in my journal then … and neither would I! The thing is, though, my “verbal” vomiting was essential for keeping me sane, centered, and Loving. There’s something truly freeing and therapeutic about giving voice to our animal aspects! Case in point, as weird as it may seem to Americans, professional mourners/wailers have long been a thing.
Journaling, writing a poem, or penning a song are far from the only ways to healthily get our frustrations, exasperations, sorrows, heartaches, angers, furies, fears, confusions, and such out of our bodies, without harming others or ourselves. The feelings that come up inside us are energy, and energy needs to be moved (i.e. expressed) in beneficial ways, lest it move us in unbeneficial ways instead! This can be as “simple” as talking to someone safe, or, if there is one, even the injurer/injured when you’re both calm and clear … and it goes way beyond that!
One of the best ways to move the energy of emotions is by moving your body, especially with intention. This can be combined with a workout by going for a run, lifting weights, doing Zumba, swimming, practicing yoga, and the list goes on. I’d venture to say this is especially helpful for bigger feelings because you’re releasing/expending more energy. That said, it can also be SUPER helpful to do things like hit and/or throw pillows, jump up and down, kick something that won’t hurt you or be damaged, etc., especially while also audibly expelling the energy via growls, howls, sobs, and/or unfiltered verbal expressions of what’s going on inside you.
On a practical, daily, in the moment level, clearing the ordinary frustrations, stresses, aggravations, etc. we all have, plus the little ways the big hurts and traumas bubble up, with a sigh (or five), lip flutter, growl, silly noise, smack of your fist into your hand, kick of your foot, impromptu dance move, taking a walk around the house/office, and so on are incredible ways to live with greater calm, clarity, and confidence!
Now, giving yourself permission to literally and figuratively (but truthfully) shout, cry, and tremble, like animals do, to release all shapes and sizes of life’s stresses, before they stress your body, is life-changing in and of itself … when you’re ready you can go further down the rabbit hole, especially when it comes to more significant “issues! As I reflect on my journey, I see six somewhat sequential aspects of the process:
Express – Speak/Write (not necessarily with words) and/or physically express and clear what’s inside you.
Process – Ask yourself and reflect on the deepest “why” from your story for your inner response.
Own – What role did you play and lesson did/can you learn?
Forgive – Forgive the “other” (even if it’s life) AND yourself.
Gratitude – Bring to mind and savor something about this you’re grateful for.
Freedom – Realizing this is an ongoing process, ride the wave of your newfound lightness to give and receive more unconditional, life-giving Love!
What do you think? What’s your experience of and thoughts on the therapeutic, restorative, and freeing practice of shouting, crying, and trembling your way to health?
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