One of a series of exercises and reflections for expanding the benefits of mapping and moving one or more feeling states…
Our old way of managing our internal environment was to highlight some states and diminish others. It can be tempting to engage in this state chasing after you’ve mapped and moved a really uncomfortable feeling. However, that is neither necessary nor desirable if what you want is to enhance the quality of your inner life. Instead, it’s important to reinforce the idea that negative feeling states are actually your allies in the ongoing quest for balance. We need to reinforce this because of the unfortunate pervasiveness of messages to the contrary.
In this exercise you will do this by using your feeling state maps to deliberately revisit your old, reactive states, going in and coming back to the ideal under your own volition. I recommend that you create convenient documentation of your maps using the templates listed on the Mapping and Moving articles or some other method that works for you.
Choose a feeling state shift to work with, and take a few minutes to reacquaint yourself with it. Now use your notes to reactivate the ideal state in your awareness. Sit with it for a little while to appreciate what it makes possible for you. Then deliberately, one sensory parameter at a time, reverse the ideal state back into the reactive state you originally mapped.
Allow yourself to feel the reactive state, knowing you no longer have to fear that state. Let yourself notice the positive intention it always had for you. What was it trying to do for you, back then when it first took this form? Can you see how it was making the best of a challenging situation? What was it preserving for you in choosing to take the reactive form? What can you learn about yourself from that?
Now reverse and shift the feeling state back into the ideal. Recognize that the ideal is just that: a beacon, a direction, an invitation to shape your life in ways that create harmony. It is not an arrival place. You are never “finished” your journey, residing in bliss, but rather you are forever engaging in the ever-changing richness of life.
When we are fully alive, we fear no feeling within us. We welcome all feeling states as essential awareness, helping us orient and engage. And when we are fully open to our feeling experience, we find it is very rare than a situation will ever arise in which the original reactive state will authentically express with the same disabling intensity.
We become far more sensitive to changing conditions around us, and far more responsive. We take action at the slightest indication that things are moving out of balance, that one of our needs is not being adequately met. And when we take action, we restore our balance. There is no need for the extreme states we were consigned to suffer with and attempt to control in the past, when our feeling mind was locked into configurations of past pain.
It’s a good idea to review your cards from time to time. Allow yourself to practice the full range of each path. You might even allow yourself some creative expression. Cultivate the reactive state and write a poem about a particular topic. Now shift to the ideal state and write a new poem about the same topic. What can you learn from the two poems, side by side?
Or explore your states through movement. Bring up the reactive state. Intensify it, and allow it to inform and motivate your dance. Gradually shift the feeling state toward the ideal, allowing your movements to evolve and express the full spectrum of feeling. Return to the reactive, back to the ideal. Let the two states talk to one another through your movement.
And what about visual explorations? What kinds of photographs will you take from the place of the reactive state, versus those you are drawn to in ideal state? How might you capture in a painting the full spectrum of a feeling path, from the most extreme reactive state all the way through the most ideal state?
Have fun with this. The more comfortable you are with the full continuum of states in every path within you, the more comfortable you are with the full continuum of experiences in life. You become free to engage without holding back, without controlling, without hesitation. You become free to show up, fully alive and present for all the wondrous experiences available to you.