Are you a bottler?
A woman on a retreat to Mexico I led recently called herself as a “bottler” when referring to how her emotions get stuck inside until it just becomes too much. Uff, I can feel the tension in my own body with this image in mind.
Many of us who struggle with anxiety tend to carry the weight of the world within our bodies. And some of us are also empaths who feel the pain and suffering of those around us on top of our own worries and fears.
Our emotions can become heavy when we lack an outlet for our sadness, anger, or helplessness. We worry. We develop headaches and stomach aches. We lose sleep. We feel depressed. Sometimes we feel like. We. Just. Can’t.
Our emotions can become oppressive if they are not processed in some way.
Earlier this week, I was triggered by an article concerning loss and abandonment issues. Feelings of anxiousness in my body seemed to linger. I’m in the midst of organizing a retreat to Peru and I remembered this little-known visualization for releasing heavy energy that comes from the Andean region.
One of things I learned when I lived in Ecuador is that in the Andean Cosmovision, rather than “negative or positive energy”, the tradition teaches that there is heavy energy (hucha) and light energy (sami).
I like this because even unpleasant feelings are not bad or negative. It’s important to remember that sadness, anger, worry, and so forth are all human emotions. But sometimes we get stuck in them.
This simple visualization, which has been adapted from Salka Wind, is called a “Hucha Meditation” and it’s a way to let go of hucha. If you have access to the outdoors, this is lovely to do sitting on the earth. But I’ve also taught this 10 stories up in a Chicago high-rise.
1. Sit on the ground and as upright as you can with a vertical spine. Rest in the natural rhythm of your breath as you notice how your energy feels, what it feels like to be you right now and where heaviness is sitting.
2. With intention, bring your awareness to the base of your spine. Imagine this area opening up, and as it does, visualize your hucha begin to flow down into the Pachamama (mother earth). Pachamama accepts our hucha and recycles it into refined energy.
3. After visualizing your hucha flowing out of the base of your spine, visualize light coming in through the crown of your head and flowing down into your body to replace the heaviness.
4. Feel heaviness leave your body and lightness flow in to take its place. Continue until you have a sense that the heavy emotion is released.
5. If there are places where the hucha seems stuck, be patient. Keep up your intent of letting the hucha go. When your hucha has left, give thanks to mother earth. Pause and notice how you feel.
This meditation is based in the Andean Cosmovision principle of ‘ayni‘ (reciprocity) where to receive is always balanced by giving in return, and to give is always balanced by receiving in return.
It is helpful for self-care and before working with other people so you don’t give them your hucha.