A Healthy Way to Embrace Big Emotions: Take It to the Trees

By Eric Bowers / roadtocompassion.com
Apr 9, 2020
0
A Healthy Way to Embrace Big Emotions: Take It to the Trees

One of the most important things you can do to live a meaningful and rewarding life filled with vitality is to reclaim your emotions. When you reclaim your emotions you rescue yourself from the numb and deadening state of “fine” and from the dependence on alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, and countless other addictions to feel more alive.

Most of us live in a culture cut off from emotions, especially ones like sadness, anger, fear, and joy. This can make it quite difficult to reclaim them. If you open up to someone who is cut off from or not comfortable with emotions, you’re likely to receive judgement, analysis, efforts to cheer you up, or advice, instead of support to simply be with your emotions, feel them, reclaim them as part of your wholeness, and uncover the needs to which they point.

Lately, I’ve been working with reclaiming anger and rage. These are difficult emotions for me to reclaim as they were not emotions that were expressed safely during my childhood. Moreover, though I have several empathy buddies I trust could support me with anger and rage, it’s not always easy to find the appropriate environment to explore those emotions. Therefore, sometimes I take my anger and rage to the trees.

I find that the forest is a wonderful container for anger and rage. In fact, I have yet to find an emotion that the forest was not able to receive. It’s very powerful for me to be physical and loud with my rage, so I find a place in a forest all to myself. Then, I find a very sturdy tree and push against it as hard as I want to as I say or yell all of the words and sounds I need to express. It’s like my inner child is finally getting freed from holding in so much emotional energy while still feeling supported and connected to life. Often, this leads to a grieving process, especially when I connect to my needs, and I then hug the tree as I weep away. I believe this process helps my inner child learn that there is a container big enough for all my emotions and needs.

Sometimes it’s over very quickly; sometimes there are several rounds of pushing with rage or anger, and hugging while weeping. I always feel energized and grateful afterward and love to find different ways to express my gratitude to the forest. Often, a new inspiration or creative idea follows me out of the forest.

This is not the only way to reclaim emotions; it’s just one way that I enjoy. If you feel inspired to try it, I recommend taking it in steps that feel right for you. You may want to push without any sound or words. Maybe you want to start with pushing with irritation or frustration. Or, you might want to try saying some things you never got to say but always wanted to. Maybe this is not at all the right way for you, and what feels good to you is to have a skilled therapist support you. Regardless of how you go about reclaiming emotions, it’s extremely important to do so in a way that feels right and safe for you and that is safe for everyone.

 


 

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Eric Bowers is a CNVC Certified Nonviolent Communication Trainer with extensive training in Interpersonal Neurobiology and Attachment Theory. For over ten years Eric has shared his passion for helping people create successful relationships through his experiential and playful workshops, retreats, courses, and speaking engagements. Eric combines Nonviolent Communication, Interpersonal Neurobiology and Attachment Theory in order to give comprehensive information and skills for building great relationships. Eric offers workshops and keynotes for organizations and conferences.

Find Eric’s blog–Where the Heart Meets the Road–and more about his work at roadtocompassion.com or facebook.com/RoadtoCompassionNVC

Eric is the author of Meet Me in Hard-to-Love Places: The Heart and Science of Relationship Success.

Trending Videos
Developing Skills of the Heart
Films That Inspire Inner Change
Happen Films: Permaculture, Living Simply, Living Joyously
Featured Films

How to Use this Library
 

  • To start browsing, interact with the Explore button to filter content by type and topic. 99% of our 5000 video library is entirely free. Selections stack, so you can combine these options to view Documentaries about Economics, for example.

  • Add videos to our library! Half of our best content was added by members.

  • Have a question, site feature idea, or suggestion? We welcome your feedback!

  • Want to support us and watch some great films in the process? Our $5/mo Patrons get access to a growing number of our favorite documentaries that are unavailable for free.

 


 

Films For Action is a library for people who want to change the world.

 

Our mission is to provide citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more beautiful, just, sustainable, and democratic society.

Films For Action was founded in 2006 by a few friends in Lawrence, Kansas, after realizing how essential healthy media is to a healthy democracy.

Over the last 15 years, we've reviewed and curated over 1,000 free documentaries and 4,000 short films, plus over 150 pay-per-view documentaries, spanning 34 topics related to changing the world.

During this time we've been able to reach tens of millions of people - not by owning a TV network or spending truckloads of cash on advertising, but because millions of awesome people keep sharing 'films for action' with their friends on social media - in particular, our 850,000 supporters on Facebook and 70,000 site members. 

One of the coolest things is, thanks to our patrons, our library is ad-free and 100% supported by member donations. The Pay-Per-View films on our site, of course, help support the filmmakers, and 90-100% of the revenue for PPV films hosted by us goes to the filmmakers. 

To thank our $5/mo patron subscribers, we partner with filmmakers to provide access to a growing number of films that are unavailable for free. With just 29 highly-curated films at the moment, it's basically a mini "Netflix for world changers," but its main function is to support the library as a whole, which is 99% free and always will be.

Want to become a patron? Subscribe here. You can cancel or pause your subscription at any time.

If you'd like to know more, want to help out, or you're a filmmaker or distributor looking to collaborate, drop us a line via our contact page. 

You're also welcome and encouraged to submit videos directly to our library. Just click +Add Video at the top of the site and paste the video URL to get started. We share our favorite submissions with our fans on social media and feature them more prominently on the site.

Cheers,  
Tim Hjersted
Co-Founder & Director
Lawrence, KS