The past few weeks have been an emotional time for a lot of people I know (myself included). If you've been feeling it, then congratulations, you are attuned to your heart and the energetics that have been playing out in our realities.

But before delving into the heart, it may be a good idea to discuss the context of emotion in general. In case you haven’t noticed, emotion in our society gets a pretty bad wrap. It’s not okay to be “emotional”, any emotions that aren’t deemed “positive” need to be squelched as quickly as possible, and don’t even think about actually processing any of those “bad” emotions unless you want to invite them into your experience permanently. If you're a man, good luck - the restrictions are all the more amplified. So where does that leave us? Mostly in the space of denial, suppression, numbing, escapism, and repeating the patterns of unhealed wounds that we are not allowed to address.

It is true that emotions, especially difficult ones, can be messy, inconvenient and downright unpleasant at times. Here is where a broader understanding of emotion is necessary. Your emotions serve one of the most vital roles on your journey through life. That role is to show you, at any given time, whether you are in alignment with your higher self of not. They are the roadmap to your authentic self and your first line of defense when it comes to self-care. When you ignore or deny them and continue to dismiss their intelligence, it creates disharmony within your being which eventually results in illness and/or disease, not to mention a pretty unpleasant reality.

We have been taught to value our minds over our emotions, however, the mind can tell you any story you want it to. It can argue both sides, it can rationalize any point of view. The heart, however, cannot lie. Your emotional state will always reveal what is most true for you.

Since most of us don’t have much resistance to positive emotion, for the sake of discussion, we’ll focus on the not so fun side of the spectrum. If we understand that everything that has been provided within ourselves is here to help us on our journey, then our emotions are part of the same medicine. Painful emotions, everything from apathy to frustration to rage are showing us where we are out of alignment with what is good for us. This usually translates to being out of alignment with ourselves, our relationships, or our circumstances. Similar to the way physical pain calls our attention to where our bodies need healing, emotional discomfort shows us where our spirits need healing.

This is not new information for most of us, but the challenges come when it’s time to “deal” with these emotions. The first being, we don’t want to and are taught not to. There is so much social conditioning around the suppression of negative emotion. We’ve never been taught, nor do we allow ourselves the space to process difficult feelings and let that energy move out of our bodies.

Secondly, instead of moving into the discomfort of negative emotions (which, let's not kid ourselves, takes an immense amount of bravery), we avoid, numb, suppress, drink, shop, eat, and bury our heads in our phones. What is important to understand about painful emotions is that they do not dissipate when untended to, rather they transmute and take up physical space in our bodies. This knowledge, backed by Eastern medicine, is why the suppression of emotions like anger, which compound over time into rage, is energetically responsible for some of the most debilitating diseases in our world today, including cancer. When you think about the immense pressure we live under every day, the traumas we endure without healing, and the overall stress that accumulates in our lives, it makes perfect sense that these types of conditions continue to be on the rise.

So, what to do… firstly, do not dismiss your emotions, sit with them, feel them, work through them, either by yourself or with someone. Sounds simple but this is incredibly difficult given our current social and emotional climate around feelings. Also, don't buy into the pressure of denying how you feel - worrying that it will result in some horrible outcome. Only by doing the work will you overcome whatever is holding you back from your greatness. Build a community of people around you who are committed to authentic expression, these are the people who will be able to hold space for you to do the same. Understand that these feelings are coming up to help redirect you down a path that will ultimately be best for you. It can be a messy journey, but you will be happier, healthier and more alive in the end. Lastly, be kind to yourself. Feelings don't come up for no reason. They are here to serve you. Your ability to address, process and transmute them speak to your courage and emotional fortitude. Be brave.