Emotional Recycling: A Holistic Contemporary Healing Method
By now you know we are all about healing and liberation and we use our signature method called Emotional Recycling to get you there. It took us a while to create a sincere and lasting transformative healing approach. Without a doubt, after the years of spiritual bypassing we both did, we finally landed at an approach that changed everything for us. We went to do Primal Therapy at the Arthur Janov Primal Centre in Los Angeles.
Primal Therapy has had its fame in the 80ies when John Lennon and his wife became clients at the centre. They remained impressed and brought it mainstream. However, it was a form of therapy that was pretty much dismissed by the entire psychological faculty, in our understanding for one reason mostly. Arthur Janov, though a brilliant pioneering therapist, basically shouted out loud that his approach is the only approach that works and cognitive therapy et al is basically worthless. He did not exactly make friends with such a statement and it has neither been a very wise one as it cost him the possibility to establish Primal Therapy the way it would have deserved to be.
We did experience a kind of arrogance during our time at the Primal Centre. However, we didn’t care because we found many elements of that therapy to be truly revolutionary and it worked for us in a profound way. Primal Therapy is not for everyone, but it is perfect for healing the psychological Mother Wound. We took those elements and the experience of our own processes and added a couple of missing bits and pieces to create our own healing method called Emotional Recycling.
If you research the definition of recycling, you will find the following explanation: “returning something to a previous state”. One could say to its essence, right? What is the true essence of a human being? It is certainly not fear, frustration, resentment, hopelessness, anger etc.. The true essence of a human being is love. Anytime we feel triggered and therewith disconnected from love, we recycle it back into a state of love. We do that through the allowing of the feelings (the emotions) that created the disconnection in the first place. We will only be able to lay it out here in a shortened version. However, our book will come out in summer 2021 where the entire process is laid out in detail. In the meanwhile, come to our retreats or book us as your therapists to learn it personally and first-hand.
Grief Is The Healing Feeling
As a basis we need to understand that what it takes to overcome the psychological Mother Wound is the proper grieving of a) not having felt loved, validated and seen in our childhood and b) not having had our emotional needs met how and when we needed them to be met. The grief is the core element of true healing. Grief related to not having been loved the way you needed to is something you cannot even imagine how it feels like at this point. You only will, once you can actually feel it. Getting there will take some time and dedication, but once you do, your entire world will change for the better.
First, you will have to overcome a couple of layers to re-access the repressed feelings, express them, grief your unmet needs and finally sew it up with the frequency of pure unconditional love to truly let go of it, so your nervous system can relax and the feeling will no longer subconsciously run the show. Let’s look at the process in a little more detail. As we said, our book will spill it all out in detail for you.
Emotional Recycling – our signature deep healing method – is a holistic approach to shifting from living in defence to living in your essence. It considers the various layers we have to navigate through to safely access the deeper layers of our wounding and heal them in a way that is sustainable, lasting and empowering.
The Twelve Stages Of Emotional Recycling
Stage Number 1 – Triggers
The Mother Wound cannot proactively be addressed as you will have a hard time simply accessing the pain you think you might have. Healing work is layer work and only with a bit of time you will come to the depth of it all. We first need to peel off a couple of layers before we will arrive at the core of our wounding. If we want to have access to feelings in general, we ideally start by being in the ideal feeling zone where we are neither in overload, nor too disconnected (where in either stage access is difficult). To be in the ideal feeling zone we need an entry point. The entry point is always where we are triggered and negatively activated bringing emotional discomfort and upheaval. Those triggers are delivered by life, and mostly by our significant more intimate relationships.
Triggers Are Gold
For many people “getting triggered” has a very negative connotation because triggers often bring painful consequences. When we do not recognize that we are being triggered, and we do not have the tools to process uprising difficult feelings, we tend to lash out on others in an attempt to cope with the pain.
Those act-outs create a lot of disconnection, resentment and they effectively destroy relationships over time. With every unowned trigger (where you lash out on your partner instead of taking responsibility and do the necessary healing work), you are putting one more nail into your relationship coffin. Sooner or later the point of no return will arrive, and you very probably will burry your relationship into the ground.
We basically act out for two reasons; a) our brain kicks in to fight back in an attempt to ensure emotional survival. B) When triggered we often react as the 4 or 5 year old who experiences a memory as if it was going on for the first time because the wounding is not healed and the original memory has never been formed (as we described above).
Triggers are gold and worth a million-dollar of therapy precisely for the fact that they get you into feelings very quickly instead of spending too much time only talking about a problem. Click To Tweet
We easily label our triggers as a problem or say that someone is not spiritually very advanced when they still get triggered. We shy away from them or deal with them in a very destructive way. When in fact, you want to shift your perception and see that those symptoms, problems and triggers as a portal. A) They bring you immediately into the ideal feeling zone and b) they are meaningful and brilliantly intelligent in making us aware of what needs addressing and ultimately healing. Triggers are gold and worth a million dollar of therapy precisely for the fact that they get you into feelings very quickly instead of spending too much time only talking about a problem. However, dealing with triggers in a meaningful way needs a bit of practice, yet is one of the most fundamental tools for every successful relationship.
Taking responsibility means to own and navigate our feelings and triggers consciously, where we are fully aware when we react out of proportion due to unintegrated past hurt. Not taking responsibility means to be unaware of what is going on and outsourcing the pain and responsibility by lashing out on our partners and therewith miss to do the real work.
Stage Number 2 – Mental Awareness
In stage number two you become aware that you are in fact being triggered at this very moment. The very next step is you taking a very deep breath and place your hand on your heart to acknowledge it consciously and give it space for a moment. Depending on where you are in that situation you will either have time to follow the process of emotional recycling to investigate the trigger or you make a mental note and park it for later when the situation is more suitable for doing the work.
If it is very strong and you have to put a pin in it, you can regulate yourself efficiently by taking a short break, go into nature for a 10-minute walk and consciously breathe the entire time. Deep long breaths. You can use your voice when you breathe out to let some more energy go of your tense nervous system. You can also go and take a shower or exercise or go for a run to let off steam. The most important thing is that you become aware of the fact that something triggers you very deeply right now, and that you do not react unconsciously to that trigger and hurt someone you love unnecessarily.
If you have time for doing the work, put yourself into a space where you feel safe and comfortable to investigate the trigger and follow the process of emotional recycling.
Stage Number 3 – Opening Up
Once you decided to explore the triggers, and you have supporting circumstances to do so (privacy, time and a suitable place), you start opening yourself up to the trigger. In this stage it can be helpful to ask for support and guidance from source (or whatever you call it, god, spirit, higher wisdom) before you continue the journey. You can give thanks for a healing and growth opportunity and pray for support, guidance and help on the journey. In this way you create a clear intention that you are open and willing to do the work in order to heal. Slow everything down and start breathing in and out consciously without a break in between. Look if there is any resistance despite your best intentions, and if there is, with every out-breath, let go more and more until you feel ready for the next step.
Stage Number 4 – Physical Awareness
As you are sitting there, physically and mentally opening yourself up to a healing experience, you want to start focusing on where and how the feelings or sensations are noticeable in your body. For example, “I notice a really heavy load on my chest” or “I feel like my chest is bursting and I have an intense need to scream”. It can also be that you feel nothing at all, and are blank or numb out of sheer shock from the trigger. There is no wrong answer in this. Carefully scan your body and notice how your body feels, its temperature, does it move, or does it feel frozen? Is there an open or closed sensation in the throat? How is your heartbeat and what is happening in your mind (racing thoughts or complete blank)? Notice every subtle sensation to gather information that will help you move along in the process. Oftentimes we also feel completely numb or stuck, but that is what you start with. You notice that you are numb, so you sit with your numbness and you keep breathing in and out as you go along.
Silvan Tomkins, a research psychologist, argued for the primacy of emotions, saying that our emotions are forms of immediate experience. We are in direct contact with our physical reality when we are experiencing our emotions. Our emotions are forms of energy, physical, and they are expressed in the body before we are consciously aware of them. John Bradshaw concluded that “our emotions are our most fundamental powers” and we cannot agree more with him.
Stage Number 5 – Expression & Exposure Of Feelings
Once we have become aware of the physical sensations, we are asked to consciously dive into our feelings, express them and preferably expose them to someone else (we talk about the why in a moment). It is as if we let the physical sensations speak without filter. This is where the real work begins.
Start by closing your eyes placing your hands where the physical sensations happen. Tune into those sensations and let them express themselves. Once you connect to the sensations, open your mouth and trust the words that are coming out, no matter how weird they might seem. Allow your voice to open up, for sound to come out and you can help it by moving your body into a position that best supports the expression of those feelings. Express without any filter as honestly and as fully as you can. It’s crucial to not censor anything. It is the HOW that is important. How does that feeling and sensation want to be expressed?
A Real Life Example Of One Of Our Clients
Let’s take a real-life example from one of our clients. For the 5th time in a row, Kate’s partner forgot to call letting her know that he will be late. She started to get really triggered as he repeatedly does not follow through with what they have agreed on. She starts to feel as if she is not important enough for him and that he does not care and respect her or her time. Quickly she also starts to feel abandoned and questions whether he truly loves her or not. The entire situation is getting really painful for her and she finds herself in a downward spiral with her mind going crazy with conspiracy theories. Instead of calling him and yelling at him saying “again you didn’t call! you never care for me! Do you actually love me? Don’t tell me bullshit! I don’t believe you sh!t, you are the worst boyfriend, you never ever care!”, she chooses to take responsibility and heal some deeper wounds involving feelings of not being worthy, cared for, abandoned and ultimately loved.
What do your wounds have to say?
In her case her wounds said something like that: “I feel so hopeless wondering why you again have not called me to let me know that you are late! It makes me feel as if you do not care for me! I start doubting whether you actually love me or whether you just don’t ever care. How is it that I am such a low priority for you? Why am I not more important to you? I feel really hopeless because I already told you 5 times and you just keep doing it again and again and again.” With those words come the feelings involved. Tears, shaky voice, hopelessness, desperation or whatever it is we are feeling is part of that expression.
You basically let yourself take you on an intuitive journey of exploration where you remain utterly present in the expression of the feelings. Sit and feel and express and stay with whatever is happening. The most important thing is that you express it in exactly the way you want to express it, without filter and with the feeling behind the words. If you feel anger coming up you can hit a pillow and scream the words, if you feel sadness come up you can cry as you are talking. But stay with it! Stay with for at least 45 minutes and let it shift and change. You simply keep opening yourself up to the experience, observe, express, observe and express. It will shift twist and turn in various ways as we are shedding layer after layer.
Feeling our feelings and expressing them on our own is very difficult, it’s actually almost impossible. We only get reminded of the same loneliness when no one has been there for us validating our experiences and holding a non-judgmental, loving space. That made us feel lonely and unworthy. That was part of early secure love that makes a child feel worthy and gives them a sense of being okay the way we feel and are. Now, when we do our feeling work and an adult is present and holding a safe space for us, without wanting to fix us, without interfering much, just allowing us to be seen in our pain, it does wonders.
No matter how much we actually need someone to witness us in our pain, it is scary as hell in the beginning. To expose ourselves vulnerably is one of the most frighting parts of this work, because we have so much toxic shame about having feelings at all. However, despite exposure being a very scary thing, it’s when this work becomes really powerful. Next to the element of grieving (which we talk about in a moment), exposure is the second most important element for deep and lasting healing.
Stage Number 6 – Deepening Of The Feelings
As you are staying with the expression of your feelings, you will be journeying deeper and deeper. Over time it is very possible that you hear yourself say and feel things that have no longer much to do with the initial situation or sensations. You might also lose any idea of space and time. You are entering a trance- like state more and more where you just let go and let yourself have a full-blown feeling experience. Instead of crying just a few tears and then you stop, you remain present and let yourself be taken deeper, observing the shifts and turns your journey takes.
Stage Number 7 – Shift To The Original Pain
If you have been able to stay with your feelings and allow the innocent exploration of them fully, intuitively following them as they shift and turn, chances are that memories come up, or all of a sudden you find yourself talking to mother or father or another person. That is when the feelings shift to earlier or even the original pain. John Bradshaw first talked about Original Pain work and his book Homecoming is a must-read to support your understanding in this work. I suggest you go and buy the book the moment you get off this post because it is an important part of Emotional Recycling. Next to Arthur Janov, John Bradshaw was another pioneer understanding early that “the only way to cure compulsive/addictive disorders is through the deeper feeling work”.
All of a sudden it is not so much about the person connected to the initial trigger anymore. You will also realise why your reaction might have been out of proportion, now that you realise what it was really about. It was not so much about them, but rather about a deeper wound you carry within yourself that is connected to a situation and person from the past. You will also realize that often a certain feeling we initially had was not actually the true core feeling. Anger for example can mask underlying hurt and pain or the other way around. However, be ready for the fact that in the end of a completed session, in one way or another, you will always arrive at feelings of utter grief about not having been loved when and how you needed to be loved – that is the original pain that got triggered and that needs healing.
Stage Number 8 – Shift To The Original Needs
Once we dive into our grief, it very often includes our grief about not having had our (developmental) needs met. Having our needs met was a tremendous sign of love for all of us. When someone reliably demonstrates emotional attunement towards our feelings and needs, is affectionate, caring, loving, present, nurturing and validating, we feel truly loved unconditionally. This form of love is so pure and powerful that it enables us to live life confidently, with an overall positive attitude and energy, resilient, curious, sovereign and we are able to apply our talents and gifts to share with this world.
However, it is precisely the pain around not having had our emotional needs met that leads to so many dysfunctions in our life. Needs are a very important and significant area when it comes to feeling satisfied, in life and relationships. When our needs have not been met, we often become needy as adults with a sense of entitlement where we downright demand our needs to be met by our partners for example. As if they or the world owes us something. That feeling of being owed to is an old childish feeling stemming from hurt that we are projecting into the world and onto our partners since we have not resolved and concluded those feelings and memories connected to it yet.
Entitlement Is An Old Feeling From Childhood
It is right that when you were little, you were owed all of it. You were allowed to have a sense of entitlement as by bringing you into this world your parents actually signed up for serving and providing for you. For a long time, you are way too young to meet your own needs and it was up to them to meet them. However, as an adult that sense of entitlement is no longer valid and part of growing up is learning how to fulfill your own needs apart from hopefully choosing amazing partners who know how to positively meet your emotional needs.
As a result of not having had our needs met in childhood, we tend to develop toxic shame around having needs, and many people never express or even know of their emotional needs because deep down they believe that they are not worthy or deserving. However, understanding your emotional needs is extremely important when it comes to living a fulfilled life and relationships.
Grieving our unmet needs and expressing them as authentically as we can is key in this stage and a big part of our healing journey. That means that you can cry and sob on the floor without getting self-conscious about how pathetic you might sound or how inappropriate it is to beg for a need to be met. However, it is precisely that which brings lasting healing and the less you withhold in the expression, the begging for those needs to be met, the deeper the healing goes.
Stage Number 9 – Grief
Grief is nature’s own healing process and from personal experience we agree with that 100%. It was always when grieving deeply we could literally feel a shift happening in our system. It feels like something old and heavy is leaving and instead an expansive light space becomes available in the area around our heart. The wounded parts in us never had the chance to grieve, and – more importantly – we were never witnessed in our grieving.
Grief is actually the sweetest pain you will ever experience. To be able to grieve is so freeing, the moment you tune into that energy, you start feeling the pain, but at the same time, simultaneously, you start to feel an incredible emotional liberation. That is why The Royal Path is about emotional liberation, because in the process of emotional recycling you will dive into the grief and grief is what will set you free without a doubt.
Concluding The Memory
So once you hit that sweet pain spot – grief – and you do that solidly a couple of times (as a rule of thumb around 5 times) the memory will be fully formed and no longer sabotage and control your life. It will dissipate, the destructive imprint will leave your system for good and replace it with a new understanding. It will no longer act out unconsciously in negative ways.
You will no longer be triggered in that feeling and you will no longer be negatively reactive to it, but rather recognize it and immediately turn it around (recycle them).
As the trigger might still be happening you notice it as a sensation with much less charge. It becomes a nostalgic memory of something you know was once there, and maybe sometimes still is, but has no longer a negative impact on you. You will notice that it is no longer in charge and you will feel empowered and more able to choose how to respond positively to triggers. You will also be able to let go much more easily and turn around possible conflicts-inflicting situations into growth and healing opportunities in your relationships.
Stage Number 10 – Overwriting With New Imprint (Love)
Once we have passed a good part of the grieving stage, we enter into the third most important element in deep healing – love. As our wounds we all carry are imprinted in our nervous system, we want to overwrite that painful imprint with a good one and we do that by imprinting the pure frequency of love. In a way we are sewing up the emotional wound we have just torn open with the pure and powerful frequency of secure love.
A Real Life Example Of One Of Our Clients
He is suffering as there was no room for his fear and heartache.
He tells himself that it is his fault that his parents fight all the time. It is just one of the many ways his parents abandoned him as he was growing up. Not only did he translate his experience into thinking that everything is his fault and that he is not worthy of love, but he also had urgent needs that were never fulfilled. The need to be held, to be reassured, to be soothed, to be validated, to be heard and to be loved ultimately. But mostly, he needed to be held and feel safe in his nightly terror.
In the overwriting stage of Emotional Recycling we add the very things he always longed for, but never got. Which is to be held, so he can relax and feel safe and loved again. The boy needed to hear “This is not your fault. This is also not your responsibility. We are having an argument, but it has nothing to do with you. I am sorry you needed to hear all this shouting. We are alright and we are taking care of it.” The point is that the child wants a do over and, in this stage, we can give exactly that.
So, when in the earlier stages of Emotional Recycling we went into feeling that gut-wrenching loneliness, terror and hopeless of the child lying in bed, screaming “Stop it, just stop it. Please!”, we do not leave it there. Once we have expressed everything we needed to say back then and grieved our pain, and we can feel the expression naturally coming to an end, we are ready to enter the stage of overwriting. With the overwriting we create new imprints, new neural pathways by finally providing the unconditional love and the presence we actually needed when the original pain occurred.
When we´re overwriting old emotions with pure love, we create new imprints and new neural pathways by finally providing the unconditional love and the presence we actually needed when the original pain occurred. Click To Tweet
That’s When Miracles Start To Happen
Whenever we see our clients face to face in our sessions or retreats, we spend at least 10 – 15 minutes with soft music where we lay our hands on them, hug them, hold them and shower them with our undivided loving attention and presence. Of course, that touch is non-sexual, safe and predictable. It is an experience of unconditional pure love. It rebalances the nervous system and creates new important neural pathways and imprints that will heal for good. Love truly heals everything and it is needed for you to heal for good. Of course, that love must be pure. It cannot come with an agenda. The person providing support needs to be clean and empty and have no agenda, but to serve you in your healing.
Only love can mend a broken heart. Love is the one and only true healing agent there is.
When we did our deep feeling therapy, this is what was clearly missing. Adding this element is what allows people to move through the most difficult feelings without getting stuck in them, truly recycling them and overcoming them, because of the element of love and presence in it. And here we differ from conventional therapy where the therapist is asked to keep a clear distance. It is not ethical to get too involved and physical touch is part of that. Maybe they lay a hand on a shoulder once in a while, but in our experience that is not enough. In our understanding, today, we as deep healing facilitator, we need to get involved. We need to feel the client deeply, so we can truly empathize and give what they really long for once they have felt their feelings, so we never skip the stage where they first have to go through the gut-wrenching grief of it all. If we did, it would be bypassing and that is not what we want to support when we aim at truly liberating people from their most sticky patterns, where only addressing the original pain will do. It would just be us putting sugar on sh*t where client-therapist dependency would be promoted and reinforced.
Stage Number 11 – Awakening
Once your Emotional Recycling session is ending, you want to reflect on what you have felt in this session, what you have realized or concluded and what insights it gifted you with. The stage of true embodied awakening comes from a bottom-up (body-to-mind) approach, not the other way around (mind-to-body). For lasting healing to happen, your realizations ideally stem from a felt experience, by having re-lived a painful experience with utmost caution and care so it is not overwhelming and re-traumatizing. In this way you come to powerful conclusions because you felt that realization with every fiber of your body. Once we understand something on that level, we have the power to respond in a conscious way, rather than react negatively to our unconscious wounds.
Stage Number 12 – Healing
Through repeated Emotional Recycling sessions healing for good is absolutely possible, as long as we commit to our healing and there with dedicate our time, energy and financial resources to it. Healing for good means to no longer feel those painful triggers so intensely anymore. That will allow you to respond, rather than lash out.
Healing in general means to no longer be controlled by our wounds that unconsciously sabotage our life, relationships and emotional wellbeing. You know you have healed enough, once you are no longer triggered so much. You feel more capable of doing life, you feel uplifted for most of the time and your reality starts to show up in the way you want to. That includes healthy relationships happiness, joy and a feeling of wealth in so many ways.
Important Points To Consider When Doing Emotional Recycling
Choose wisely who you are working with
When you choose a person to do this work with, it is vital to understand that you have to choose that person wisely, as they have to be able to hold a non-judgmental and loving compassionate space. Holding space means to not interfere (unless you are a qualified therapist), but witness with unshakable presence. You have three options to choose from; a qualified therapist (reach out to us), a friend you trust and is advanced in their own healing journey, or your intimate partner (if you practice conscious relating together and he or she is doing her own healing too).
Be mindful though that even in conscious relationships, your partner might get too triggered by what you are expressing and react to that, not only interfering into your process, but possibly create a real mess with it. Furthermore, make sure that you are not becoming each other’s therapists as this might as well cancel your sexual attraction for each other. Absolute best of course is a neutral therapist such as ourselves, who are capable of guiding you into your feelings and helping you through the challenges that arise as you are going deeper. In any case, the therapist you choose has to be someone who has done their own deep healing work, not just cognitive, but deep feeling work.
There is an important thing about time in this. Most conventional therapy sessions last around 60 minutes. But the thing is healing cannot ever be rushed. If we realized one thing in all of this is that our soul needs precisely the time that it needs when it comes to healing – in all of the steps. Whether it is the working through the defenses, through the layers of shame, expressing our feelings or grieving our pain and unmet needs. Especially once we come to the stage where we overwrite our pain with love, we need to stay in it until we feel instinctively that it was enough for new neural pathways to be built. You feel that by a spacious and calm sensation in your chest. A feeling of “I survived these complex feelings and I am feeling a sort of release.”
If you put a time limit on Emotional Recycling sessions, you can simply throw them away. It won’t work. You would not believe how slow we have to go from time to time, and yet we are getting results much faster. If we rushed and pushed, the client would close down and not trust us anymore. We have to absolutely pace the process in order for the client to dare to open up. If we take the love away too fast and the client did not get to the point where he could really relax into being held and actually trust that love is there, we will only reinforce old pattern such as “love does not exist for me and it is not save to trust.”
Self-Care & Rest
After such sessions it is vital to do a lot of self-care which includes a lot of rest. This means to take long warm baths with candles and tea. Cuddling with teddy bears, journaling or taking gentle walks in nature. It means to refrain from social media or numbing activities such as drinking alcohol and eating too much junk food. It also means to not submit yourself to conversations you do not want to have. It also means to respect and communicate your needs and boundaries and to put yourself first for at least the next couple of hours. Self-care has many forms, and as long as you feel good and relaxed, and you are not compromising falsely, you are in the realm of self-care.
Obstacles In The Healing Process
Healing is messy and it takes time to let go of those defence mechanisms and re-create access to our feelings. On the journey you will hit some roadblocks that will be challenging. We have written another post only about that. You find it here.
Congratulations for making it to the end of this long, but important post. If you are ready to do some serious work and you want to become emotionally free from the past, reach out today! We are excited to get to know you.
Aleah Ava & Dan Hart,
Founders of The Royal Path