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Making Space For People to Let Go of Painful Emotions

 
gardener
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In Are We Done Fighting? by Matthew Legge, one way of providing space for people to let go of painful emotions and memories is elegantly demonstrated by the example of Marina Abramovic's performance The Artist is Present. She sits on one side of the table, and someone in the public sits across. They share eye-contact without speaking and many feelings are passed just by being in the presence of another person and sharing a gaze.



In this article about Marina's performance, these were some of the experiences people felt:

Heather Rose wrote:When the man finally left the chair, Levin watched him walk to the back of the atrium and lean his forehead against the wall. Levin wanted to go ask the man what had happened as he sat. How had it felt? But to do so, he realized, would be like asking a stranger what he prayed for...

A hush descended on the atrium. It became evident that the young man was weeping. It wasn’t a dramatic gesture. Tears were running down his face while his glistening angel eyes continued to gaze at the woman. After some time, the woman began to weep in the same silent passive way. The weeping went on as if they could both see they must settle for losing something.



What are other ways to provide space for someone?
 
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Being in the same space can lead to great communication, as long as there is attention and listening.

Giving time is the greatest thing we can give.
 
master pollinator
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Permies has a great feature for this: Private Messages.

As people know, I am extremely frustrated right now because I do not know where to take my farm next with my chronic medical condition, and yet several people responded to me in Private Message. I need to have my bottom belted for not getting back to everyone, but there were several that had incredibly important things to say.

One woman who wanted to stay out of the public, mentioned coming to terms with disability as being the same thing as the grieving process. Considering I am a workaholic, that made a lot of sene, so Private Messages can really be a way to help someone.

Private Messages: Called Mooseages on here.
 
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We all just want to be seen.  Thanks for sharing this.
 
pollinator
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Joe Moon wrote:Giving time is the greatest thing we can give.


This is true. I often say "take all the time you need".

I trained in somatic Experiencing. We let go of emotions, but at embodiment level, and this is more tan emotions actually.

Once in  a practise, we lost time and I was left with barely 10 mns instead of 30... So we just started at once. I had the idea... I said exactly this:

"I know you know this, that we need to take time, but how does it feel if I tell you that though we have Little time, you can take all the time you need?"

She took a deep emotional breath and sighed. Then it was with very little talking but reflecting what was happening, and it felt like waves going up and easily discharged! I saw in the eyes how much everybody was stunned at seeing it! Sometimes we do not even do that much in 1 full hour session!

Letting go is to allow the wave of sympathetic activation to grow and resolve by itself in parasympathetic, without staying stuck in the activation and without dissociating from the intensity. More easily said than done!
 
pollinator
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Just posted about this in the thread on trauma,

https://permies.com/t/122276/Trauma#990575

How do we make space for people to let go of painful emotions in the midst of life?  when is it most functional to stop and give time for feelings, vs. continuing with doing?

In my observation, business meetings (or council meetings or whatever) are places where the emotions start to surface, or start to drive behavior and communications.  That is why they are generally so loathed, and experienced as so mind-numbing.  There is the sensation of potential and of wasted effort, wasted emotional energy, when things could be moving so much more nimbly if only there weren't so much talking and so much head, so much thinking.

The idea that we have to go somewhere to let go of our trauma or emotions is a very individualist idea, and a disposal culture idea.  In other words, the emotion is something to throw away, to process and be rid of.  But what about processing it into something? what about regeneration? what about composting it rather than throwing it in a landfill?  Permaculture principles point out that we're all part of one system, there's no "away" to throw things away in, including painful emotions.

It's true that an animal will hide and twitch after a traumatic incident, to release the excess adrenalin or whatever, but humans, at least in theory, needn't hide from one another.  

I guess it's the message of "your emotions are of secondary importance--go handle the with a therapist and come back to real life when you're done getting rid of your (non-valuable) emotions" that doesn't ring true to me.  

What if we make the space in our everyday? in our business meetings? in integration in our society, in our everyday culture?
 
pollinator
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i do agree with you ^^^^ on processing your emotions, transforming them...rather than get rid of/distance yourself from them.
then again you can get caught a bit by trying to shine up all the shit...trying to put a positive spin on everything. sometimes -shit is just shit and it sucks. !!!

as far as i can see this whole human being thing involves lots of PAIN, trauma, stress, anger, fear...the whole spectrum of negative experiences, especially at this strange time of transition...but not quite there, yet. especially at this time of so many systemic problems we are (hopefully) starting to work out.

for me ART, craftwork, and good friends who want to have deep talks...yeah those are the main ways i process.

a funny thing about about being an artist and a craftsperson...is the more miserable i am, the more art i make!
now i certainly do make art and craftwork when i am cheerful too...but...then again not as much...cause i am busier doing stuff, going out in the world, living it up, or just goofing off.

but yeah...craft work, the repetition of it, the meditative quality of it...and art, the expression and delving deep into a subject, this is my happy place so when i am dealing with a lot i get super productive.
 
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My husband and I will often sit silently just holding hands. They are honestly some of the most connected times I've had with him. Just sitting there, in misery, holding his hand.
 
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