The Shift Network Blog

The Glitch In Your Brain That’s Keeping You Stuck (and how to change it!)
Lee Doyle
By Lee Doyle
Shift Team

Emotional Intelligence, move over…it’s time for some Emotional Liberation.  

Emotional Intelligence (EQ), not long ago considered the answer to Western culture’s great obsession with Intellectual Intelligence, defines our ability to be aware of what we’re feeling. 

EQ is also the great skill of “people-people,” those who get along well with others and don’t shudder at the sight of tears, say, in a business meeting.   

But EQ, no matter how developed, won’t bring you true freedom.  

You know...the simple joie de vivre that makes you want to bound out of bed in the morning, ready to manifest your dreams? 

If this is what you’re wanting in your life, the path there is connecting with your feelings, deeply. 

Raphael, author of the bestseller The One Thing Holding You Back, and Unconditional Bliss, calls this challenging and rewarding process “surfing your emotions.” Through it, you can finally mine the transformative power hidden in your emotions, especially the so-called “negative” ones.    

(Below, discover 2 Simple Steps for Surfing Your Emotions.) 

“Emotions are the nexus between Self and Spirit,” Raphael says. 

So, relying solely on your emotional intelligence is akin to paddling out to catch the perfect wave and when it finally arrives, failing to get on your surfboard. 

You haven’t yet made contact with the means to truly engage with life. Consequently, you miss out on all the excitement, magic and possibilities available to you.  

And you fail to fully access the profound gifts you came here to express and share...

So, why are we just now getting to the bottom of this “surfing your emotions” business, you may ask? Isn’t this something we’ve been doing all along in therapy, workshops and 12-Step groups? 

Connecting with our emotions?

Maybe, maybe not… 

2 Steps to Emotional Surfing:

To experience an emotion, place your attention directly on the sensation it produces in your body.
Keep your attention on that sensation until it either dissipates or changes.

That’s all there is to it. Really. Yet, these two simple steps can be pretty challenging... 

(See below for Raphael’s recommendations if you get stuck on your board, and keep missing the wave…)

The Part of Your Brain That Won’t Let You Feel Fully 

According to  Raphael, an evolutionary glitch in your brain is probably what’s keeping you from surfing the wave of emotion all the way to the shore...

And this prevents your limbic brain from doing what it’s supposed to do: FEEL, and feel, and feel some more, until the feeling is gone. 

After which, you can think. And then... act.  

If you’re like a lot of people, you think, feel, think some more, feel and suffer, think some more — sometimes in ways that creates more suffering for you and others…

Your brain is actually three brains: The Primitive(reptilian), Limbic(emotional), and Neocortex (rational).

The primitive, or reptilian, brain, is keen on one thing: Survival. Fight, flight or freeze is what it knows and does.    

Grief, shame, anger and other challenging emotions are perceived as threats to the primitive part of your brain.  

Which explains why it’s so darn hard to connect fully with the painful feelings. And why, if you’re like me, you tend to freeze when a tough emotion like anger or grief tries to take over...   

That’s because your primitive brain doesn’t discern between a sabertooth tiger about to bite your head off and the fear of emotional abandonment that’s been with you since childhood. 

In both cases, the limbic brain can’t fully do its job, which is to feel, FULLY.       

Once you’re aware of this, you can choose (with your rational brain) to do it all differently… 

You can actually “update” the wiring of your primitive brain so that it doesn’t feel as threatened.  

Then you can start to function –– more of the time –– in a fully expanded, present way.

IF you know how to surf the physical sensations associated with your emotions...

You’re more connected to Spirit (or God, Source, however you define a higher power) and everything feels like it’s happening with more ease.  

When you don’t know how to connect with your emotions, what happens then?  
 
Unfelt feelings lodge in your body and unconscious mind and a battle begins. 

The unfelt feeling acts like a magnet, drawing to your life the people and situations that will cause you to feel that very feeling that your primitive brain blocked.  

It’s the same romantic relationship, over and over; the players change but not the plot.  

It’s the recurring, negative dynamic with a boss or colleague. 

Or, it’s the undercurrent of depression or anxiety you’ve come to believe is “just how life is.”   

(At the end of this blog post, you’ll find a short audio practice, in which Raphael guides you to surf difficult emotions…)  

When these emotions aren’t felt fully, your primitive brain calls in reinforcements, often in the form of addiction or compulsion— sugar, or sex for example. 

Meanwhile, your capacity for joy shrinks. Perhaps, you even become physically ill.  

However, by learning to surf your ever-shifting internal terrain –– following the way energy is taking up residence in different parts of your body –– you can free up the vital life-force energy you need to get up on your surfboard. 

Your primitive brain is no longer running the show…YOU are!

As a result, you liberate stuck emotions and your authentic Self...divine, holy AND whole.  

Surely, this is enough reason to hop out of bed in the morning, excited to see what the day will bring! 


What to do when you get stuck in paddle-mode...

Slow down

Feeling time is different than to-do list time. Emotions require us to sync up to their inner flow rather than press our own timetable upon them.

When we do, they not only dissipate the quickest and easiest, but they also reveal great personal insight without any effort whatsoever.

When we don’t, and instead attempt to think our way through a problem too soon, our powers of analysis become completely unreliable. For that reason it’s helpful to heed the maxim “Feel first, think later.”

Get Microscopic

At first, the internal sensations can seem distant and amorphous. But whenever we  observe them up close, in patient detail, they yield the greatest possible rewards.

Emotions may be hot or cold. They may be heavy or light. They may move throughout your body in waves, swirls, or flashes. They may produce internal imagery or sound. They may pass in an instant, or gradually over time. With practice, all these emotional aspects become much easier to sense.

To help you get started on really connecting with your emotions, here’s a powerful guided audio practice for surfing..all the way to the shore of liberation.  

Surfing Your Emotions: A Guided Practice with Raphael Cushnir 

 

 

 

Inspired to connect FULLY with your emotions so you can experience true freedom? Share your experiences and thoughts below.