Swamping: getting real with repressed emotions

Do the holidays bring up s*it for you? Do you get frustrated or angry or depressed or emotional during this time of year? Does Christmas not really feel like all the Facebook posts of smiling faces and exuberant joy? Good. That’s a start to your new beginning: honesty. (and if none of this is true for you, good for you, too!)

We feel emotions. We have emotions. We experience emotions. It doesn’t mean we are any less than, or that we shouldn’t be feeling such emotions. Nope. It simply means we are feeling. We are alive! What we do with these emotions is the important part. Acknowledging and awareness is the first step. If one doesn’t acknowledge s/he has feelings (so called good or so called bad feelings), then one cannot do anything with them. And if you or I are experiencing emotions we no longer want to feel, then there are tools to release them. One such tool I use is called swamping.

Swamping is a way to release the stored energy of an emotion and/or experience. In the past, I have used my yoga mat or my foam roller and beat it against my doorway and thrown it on the floor, sometimes yelling, sometimes crying, sometimes grunting, just being real with what I’m feeling and without judgement, voicing my frustration, anger, hate, disdain, or whatever else arises. With no one around, I let myself be weird. I let myself go (safely of course, but even then, I find the edge, and let go), I let myself be loud, I let myself be all the things that “I’m not supposed” to be, and it is one freeing experience!

Last night, Christmas night, I was so frustrated with having to reconcile my finances (and hear me, it has NOTHING to do with my finances!!! it has everything to do with repressed emotions towards math homework growing up!) I was so frustrated that I was hyperventilating and shaking. I was annoyed at a friend of mine for not responding to me at exactly the time I wanted her to, I was annoyed that I couldn’t be outside and hiking or adventuring or exploring, I was annoyed that I was annoyed, and then I knew, it was time to swamp. I began with writing about my anger, and reading each word, with emotion, out loud, and then scribbling into my journal until the pages tore, then I chucked my pen at the journal, the floor, the dresser, over and over again until it broke and I started envisioning plastic shards flying into my eye, so I stopped and switched to a slipper, but I was throwing it so hard against the floor, that I switched to an already falling apart slipper and let every. Emotion. Rise. Up. And I threw and I growled and I said every thing that felt good: LETTING IT GO! Foam pieces flew across the floor and I threw it again with my left arm, then both, then my right, until, I knew I was done.

My voice horse, my body trembling, I laid back on my bed, and, I just was. I let myself be. I watched thoughts arise. I felt the quiet calm return. I regrouped as a new me. I found peace, on Christmas night.

A meditation practice is a solid foundation to have before attempting to do this alone. Not everyone is ready to face such deeply held emotions, and especially alone. You can begin your meditation practice here. Also, having a good girl friend (or guy if you’re a guy) to talk with after is extremely helpful, someone you can trust, or who you can just be real with as you own your truth, someone who you understand isn’t your savior but a guide to assist your healing. Therapists are also helpful, as are specific events designed to hold a sacred space for you to process: I am offering one in June of 2017. Learn more about it and join me: here. Yoga Nidra’s can also help you access deeply held subconscious patterns and in a more gentle way. Practice and learn more about yoga nidra here.

God wouldn’t have given us emotions if we weren’t supposed to feel them. Holding on to them (subconsciously or consciously) is the problem. You, I, we are not defined by our emotions, we just have them. Let them flow, let them go, and let’s enjoy this wild ride we call life!


Photo by the incredible Tara Huff, on another adventure of emotional heights. Worth every moment, as I step into more and more and greater and greater freedom. Muah!

Anger letters: a tool for healing

On the backs of scrap paper I scribble and rant and punctuate and dot periods with a vengeance. I also write slowly, in small print, crying and pausing to really put into words what is inside. Then, I go back and scribble the same word or words over and over and over again on a fresh, new sheet of paper, next to doodle art, after staring off into space for a long time. I laugh and snort and wipe my nose and without time constraint, all by myself, I release.

This is part of healing. This is the purging of years and years of pent up anger and frustration and pain and sorrow and grief. With the intention to write whatever comes and to burn or shred the letters, I write to a specific person, myself, or to no one in particular and I get real, honest.

These Anger Letters have been hugely valuable to me this past year as I explore depths of myself with love and acceptance. These Anger Letters have allowed me to truthfully, practice non-judgement towards myself, and thus in turn, others. As I write, my logical mind knows that what I am writing is “ridiculous” or hypocritical or mean or selfish or hateful, but I write it anyway because it is true. If I don’t let it out, it will stay inside, festering and growing. Anger will come out eventually. If we don’t allow it to release in healthy ways, it will come out in unhealthy ways (disease, bursts of rage at friends/family/kids/animals, in confusion/frustration, fear, etc.). Anger Letters are a tool for our healing journey. Anger Letters are a way to put voice to what the logical mind tries to silence in the name of “being a good person,” “because it’s the Christian/yogic/Buddhist/etc. thing to do,” or because we think we should be perfect. With each Anger Letter we write we are taking a stand for ourself, a stand for truth, we are facing our past and releasing and forgiving and letting go of blame, hate, shame, etc. If we don’t let that sh*t out, it’s going to rot and diarrhea all over the place. These Anger Letters are a much cleaner option.

How to write an Anger Letter:

  1. pick up a pen or pencil (physically writing is much more kinesthetic: meaning it’s a whole body release)
  2. grab a stack of paper and write and write and write, unfiltered, without making sense (seemingly)
  3. address it to a specific person/yourself/God or just write randomly with no agenda
  4. allow yourself to feel and be free with the understanding that NO one is going to read this
  5. when you’re done, you can burn it in a nice ceremonial cleansing-like experience (although that can be messy, I tried that in the toilet once, it didn’t work so well), shred it, or find some other meaningful way to get rid of it. I like shredding: it still feels cleansing with the noise and slow ripping of the paper and words, but less hazardous.
  6. enjoy and feel the release and freedom. it is intoxicating.

Have you tried writing Anger Letters? Or do you have any other healthy ways to let out anger?

I’d love to hear your experiences on your healing journey as you release anger. Let’s let that sh*t go and dance in freedom together!

Namaste my friend. Shine on.