Come on a journey with me as I describe a visualization meditation I did in order to process sadness and anger.
My intention is to show you a specific tool you can use to process emotion, so that you might be able to use it yourself.
This episode is raw, vulnerable and spiritually sacred. Many people from the scriptures had to flee their own family who wouldn’t or couldn’t love them, so why not me?
What follows is close to an episode transcript. I felt that I needed to script this one out in order to deliver it.
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I recently found Brooke Snow and joined her program. One of the requirements is to meditate every day. I’ve done some meditation in the past, but not daily. Brooke gave us some guided meditations and one of them is called the Throwing Rocks meditation.
Join me as we examine a meditation I did where I processed some sadness and anger.
I sit on my purple yoga mat. Today I am sitting with legs crossed.
First we ground. I breathe deep, slow breaths to calm my mind and my body, preparing me to visualize.
In this meditation, I am invited to imagine myself near a body of water.
I find myself at the edge of a small lake where my parents used to bring us. It’s eerily quiet, only the water skimmers and other insects moving. The water is still. It seems to be summer in my imagination, because I feel warm. The sun is shining. Everything is peaceful. There’s a place where everyone parks their cars, right at the water’s edge. There’s a weathered picnic table there. I find myself sitting on the picnic table, with my feet on the bench, facing the water.
Smell: earthy, clean
Hear: insects buzzing, but mostly the silence is all I hear.
Taste: This place reminds me of hot dogs and pork and beans.
Feel: the ridges of the years weathered wood.
Next, I invite the Lord to be with me. And instantly, he is also sitting on the picnic table, in his bright, white robes. He doesn’t say anything, and neither do I. But I can feel his presence.
Next, I’m invited to imagine a pile of rocks nearby. Some of the rocks in my pile are smooth and round, good for skipping. And some are jagged, dirty and heavy.
This meditation is for feeling your feelings. Every time I pick up a rock, I focus on feeling it in my hands and feeling my emotion.
The first rock is smooth and cold. I can barely wrap my small hands completely around it. And I feel sad.
My body rocks with sadness. I allow the tears to flow. I’m here, in my office, on my yoga mat, rocking forward and backward. My hair falls into my face. I cry. A silent, familiar cry.
And then I’m back at the water’s edge.
The Lord is still there on the table. And my Dad is there. I can’t see his face. He is facing the water, but he’s several feet away. He has a cigarette in his right hand that hangs loosely at his side.
And I feel so sad.
Now I bring my hands to my eyes. I’m still rocking.
All of a sudden, I’m throwing. I throw that smooth, cold rock as far as I can into the lake. The lake swallows the rocks with a gulp.
I grab another rock. This time it’s a little larger and jagged, sharp. And I feel a new emotion well up within me: anger.
In my mind’s eye, I yell and I throw.
You left me!
You weren’t there for me!
You weren’t there when we needed you most!
You left me!
I needed you!
You never call!
You don’t care about me!
I yell and I throw those rocks with all the might I can muster in my imagination. My dad doesn’t move. It’s like he can’t hear me.
And then I yell, I loved you!
That’s when the Lord speaks up for the first time, “Hang onto that love! Don’t let that one go.”
So I keep that rock in my hand. It’s a smooth one. It’s small. It fits right into my hand so nicely.
I loved you. I loved you. And you couldn’t love me back.
I want to be angry, but I’m afraid it will displace my love for them. So I revert to feeling sad.
Now my Dad is facing me. And my mom is standing next to him too.
I love you. I love you. And you can’t love me back.
They stand there, looking like children who feel guilty. Their eyes are big and sad.
And then something unexpected happens: They apologize.
I’m sorry, I didn’t know how.
Then the Lord speaks up again: That wasn’t their place.
Understanding and surrender wash over me.
They weren’t here to love me. They weren’t capable.
It’s unfair of me to ask them to do something they couldn’t.
My dad says to me, “You were always the strong one. Stronger than us.”
I feel calm and peaceful again.
Now what, Lord?
The Lord replies, Now take this and teach it to others. There are so many who are like you and need these tools. They need to know how to process their feelings.
I open my eyes and grab for a tissue. I desperately need to wipe and blow my nose.
I know this won’t be the last time I do this meditation, but I can already feel healing happening. I feel lighter. Like after you run a mile.
There’s a part of me that wants to blame my parents. But I know what I’m feeling isn’t about them, and this meditation is simply a projection of my own subconscious. The part of me that needs to let go of the anger. But still hang onto the love.
I don’t understand it all. It seems like if they were my parents, then it should have been their place to love me better. But maybe it’s what I needed to hear to let go of expecting them to give me something they never had in the first place.
It makes me think of Abraham, whose father tried to sacrifice him, and he was only saved by the power of an angel.
I think of Nephi who had to flee from his brothers before they killed him.
I think of Adam and Eve who were cast out of the beautiful Garden of Eden.
I think of Alma who fled his people because he believed Abinadi. He must have had family he left, but the scriptures don’t say for sure.
I think of the Jaredites, who were a mighty nation from one single family. They end up killing each other off until only one of them remains alive.
And of course Jesus Christ. Who left the Father’s presence to do a hard work. Whose own people didn’t believe him or believe in him. They despised him and ultimately killed him.
The scriptures are full of accounts of people whose own families were unable to love them. Why not me?
My coach says the anger I’ve buried is blocking my life force. When I clear it, I will have more capacity for love and joy and creativity and presence— all the things I really want.
I have a feeling God has a great work for me, and I won’t be able to do it if I’m still holding onto anger.
I think next I have some forgiving to do.
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