As well as continuing to use The Work to inquire into the stressful thoughts and beliefs that come visiting, for a year or two now, I have also been using The Sedona Method, and because it has become a huge part of my life it seems time to write a post about it. I’ve written before about the difficulties many of us have with feeling our feelings, and I’ve found The Sedona Method to be a great way to allow feelings to pass through.
At its most basic, The Sedona Method is about noticing whatever you are feeling, allowing that, and then being willing to let it go. Just allowing a feeling is often enough to let it automatically release. Small children naturally release their feelings, and the rest of us are also capable of doing so too just as easily and naturally – it’s just that over the years we’ve learned to suppress them instead.
We also have a tendency to identify with our feelings, to the extent that we often say: “I’m angry,” or “I’m sad,” instead of: ‘I feel angry,” and “I feel sad.” This makes it hard to believe we can release ourselves from whatever state we are in, so we try to squash them or get rid of them by expressing. Though there is nothing wrong with either way neither of them actually get rid of emotions. A few years ago it was considered therapeutic to punch pillows to vent suppressed anger. However recent studies indicate that venting anger simply leads to more anger. When we express emotions to someone else and feel relief it’s probably because the other person’s response means we feel safe to release.
It amazes me how often simply accepting whatever I am feeling and to not trying to do anything to change it can completely turn a situation around – particularly with my children. Most of the stress any emotion creates comes from fighting it, from trying not to feel it. The more you want to escape from any feeling the more intense it’s likely to seem. If you aren’t familiar with this then I suggest that when you feel a strong emotion stop for a moment and notice how it feels in your body. Instead of judging it as we usually do, get curious, notice where it hits the body and if it spreads. Notice your thoughts about the feeling, are you telling yourself it is unbearable, that you are wrong for having it or that you have to get rid of it? Notice how that affects the feeling. And notice what happens if you accept it, allow it to be there, and if you decide that it’s okay to let it go.
What I love about the Sedona Method is its gentleness and acceptance. It’s absolutely fine to answer: “No,” to any releasing question. Hale Dwoskin, founder of Sedona Training Associates, says, “No is just as good as yes. It’s just a sound.” It is answering that matters and whether you answer yes or no, the chances are the release will come anyway. This is very similar to taking the approach when the first two questions in The Work that it doesn’t matter whether you say yes or no. “Is is true?” “Do you absolutely know it’s true?” Just answer what seems true in the moment. You can still do inquiry and you can still release.
With The Sedona Method, whenever you ask yourself if you can allow a feeling or let it go, it’s always as best you can, and just for now – just in this moment.
I’ve no doubt that releasing has enhanced my inquiries. These days I release anywhere, any time, whenever I remember and feel the need. When a belief surfaces that seems sticky I get out pen and paper again and do a full inquiry. Sometimes releasing brings beliefs to the surface for inquiry, and sometimes inquiry brings feelings to the surface for release. When I answer question three nowadays (How do you react when you think that thought?) I find it easier to welcome those reactions instead of judging myself for having them.
The two processes have many similarities, particularly when using the Triple Welcoming Process of the Sedona Method, which is my favourite way to release. With that process you:
- Welcome (welcome means to greet in a friendly and polite manner, but if that seems too much of a stretch it’s fine to simply notice) your issue, the feelings, images and thoughts that accompany the issue.
- Then welcome any wanting to do anything about it – either to push it away, get rid of it, or to hold onto it. (Sometimes it can be hard to see where we are holding onto an issue, one major way we do this is by talking about it – whether to others or by replaying it in our minds).
- Finally welcome any sense that it’s personal, is you or about you.
- Often this welcoming is enough for feelings about an issue to dissolve, and if not you can ask:
- “Would I be open to letting it go”, or “Would it be okay if this just dissolved?”
I think the reason I like this process so much is because there is so little pressure to ‘do’ anything. For someone who has spent most of her life thinking she should be pushing and controlling herself, to have a process that is so gentle and works so easily is heaven.
The Sedona Method by Hale Dwoskin is published by Sedona Press
The Sedona forum, where coaches and other releasers will answer questions and make suggestions:
(I find this to be a great place, very loving and friendly.)