While having our own life experiences and going through difficulty, we collect emotional baggage. We tend to carry it around with us. We live with this baggage and it weighs us down. It’s as if we’re carrying around rocks in a backpack. Letting go of this baggage is important. Not just for our own mental health but also because after we let some of it go, we’ve made room for more positive emotions and experiences to enter into our life.
The process I am introducing is called The Sedona Method.
Hale Dwoskin is the author of, The Sedona Method: Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace, and Emotional Well-being. His book was published in 2007 and he has taught workshops on the subject of letting go for many years. I emailed his office and got permission to share his list and the basic process.
First, go through the list of the nine emotional states (below), list the category and the emotions below it that resonate with you now. I recommend copying the list and working from your own hard copy.
Go through all of the categories in this way until you have finished the list. It’s important to be honest with yourself. The more work you put into the process, the more rewards you will reap from it afterwards.
Nine Emotional States
APATHY: bored, can’t win, careless, cold, cut-off, dead, defeated, depressed, demoralized, desolate, despair, discouraged, disillusioned, doomed, drained, failure, forgetful, futile, giving up, hardened, hopeless, humorless, I can’t, I don’t care, I don’t count, inattentive, indecisive, indifferent, invisible, It’s too late, lazy, let it wait, listless, loser, lost, negative, numb, overwhelmed, powerless, resigned, shock, spaced out, stoned, stuck, too tired, unfeeling, unfocused, useless, vague, wasted, what’s the use, why try, worthless.
GRIEF: abandoned, abused, accused, anguished, ashamed, betrayed, blue, cheated, despair, disappointed, distraught, embarrassed, forgotten, guilty, heartbroken, heartache, heartsick, helpless, hurt, if only, ignored, inadequate, inconsolable, It’s not fair, left out, longing, loss, melancholy, misunderstood, mourning, neglected, nobody cares, nobody loves me, nostalgia, passed over, pity, poor me, regret, rejected, remorse, sadness, sorrow, tearful, tormented, torn, tortured, unhappy, unloved, unwanted, vulnerable, why me, wounded.
FEAR: anxious, apprehensive, cautious, clammy, cowardice, defensive, distrust, doubt, dread, embarrassed, evasive, foreboding, frantic, hesitant, horrified, hysterical, inhibited, insecure, irrational, nausea, nervous, panic, paralyzed, paranoid, scared, secretive, shaky, shy, skeptical, stage fright, superstitious, suspicious, tense, terrified, threatened, timid, trapped, uncertain, uneasy, vulnerable, want to escape, wary, worry.
LUST: abandon, anticipation, callous, can’t wait, compulsive, craving, demanding, devious, driven, envy, exploitive, fixated, frenzy, frustrated, gluttonous, greedy, hoarding, hunger, I want, impatient, lascivious, lecherous, manipulative, miserly, must have it, never enough, never satisfied, oblivious, obsessed, overindulgent, possessive, predatory, pushy, reckless, ruthless, scheming, selfish, voracious, wanton, wicked.
ANGER: abrasive, aggressive, annoyed, argumentative, belligerent, boiling, brooding, caustic, defiant, demanding, destructive, disgust, explosive, fierce, frustrated, fuming, furious, harsh, hatred, hostility, impatience, indignant, irate, jealous, livid, mad, mean, merciless, murderous, outraged, petulant, pushy, rebellious, resentment, resistant, revolted, rude, savage, simmering, sizzling, smoldering, spiteful, steely, stern, stewing, stubborn, sullen, vengeful, vicious, violent, volcanic, wicked, willful.
PRIDE: above reproach, aloof, arrogant, bigoted, boastful, bored, clever, closed, complacent, conceited, contemptuous, cool, critical, disdain, dogmatic, false dignity, false humility, false virtue, gloating, haughty, holier than thou, hypocritical, icy, isolated, judgmental, know-it-all, narrow-minded, never wrong, opinionated, overbearing, patronizing, pious, prejudice, presumptuous, righteous, rigid, self-absorbed, self-satisfied, selfish, smug, snobbish, special, spoiled, stoic, stubborn, stuck-up, superior, uncompromising, unfeeling, unforgiving, unyielding, vain.
COURAGEOUSNESS: adventurous, alert, alive, assured, aware, centered, certain, cheerful, clarity, compassion, competent, confident, creative, daring, decisive, dynamic, eager, enthusiastic, exhilaration, explorative, flexible, focused, giving, happy, honorable, humor, I can, independent, initiative, integrity, invincible, loving, lucid, motivated, non-resistant, open, optimistic, perspective, positive, purposeful, receptive, resilient, resourceful, secure, self-sufficient, sharp, spontaneous, strong, supportive, tireless, vigorous, visionary, willing, zest.
ACCEPTANCE: abundance, appreciative, balance, beautiful, belonging, childlike, compassion, considerate, delight, elated, embracing, empathy, enriched, everything’s okay. friendly, fullness, gentle, glowing, gracious, harmonious, harmony, intuitive, I have, in tune, joyful, loving, magnanimous, mellow, naturalness, nothing to change, open, playful, radiant, receptive, secure, soft, tender, understanding, warm, well-being, wonder.
PEACE: Ageless, awareness, being, boundless, calm, centered, complete, eternal, free, fulfilled, glowing, I am, light, oneness, perfection, pure, quiet, serenity, space, still, timeless, tranquility, unlimited, whole.
Next, there are four questions to ask yourself with each emotion you have listed. The process will take some time, but it’s worth it!
- Can I welcome this feeling? (by asking yourself this question, it gives you the opportunity to really feel the emotion. It helps to close your eyes. This is an important step. It sounds strange to welcome a feeling you may not like but trust the process). Answer either a yes or no.
- Could I let it go? (Is it possible to release this feeling?) Either a yes or no answer is acceptable.
- Will I? (Will you release it?) Answer yes or no.
- When? (Answer, NOW. Immediately feel the emotion drop from you like you are dropping a pencil out of your hand. Another way is to let it go with a big breath in then out).
After you complete one, check it off the list and go to the next. Ask and answer the four questions for each emotion you listed.
When all the questions are answered for each emotion, you’re done! You may feel a little empty for a while afterwards. This only means that the process worked. Remember to be kind to yourself. Trust that you will fill up with more positive emotions.
It seems strange to let go of the more positive feelings, but trust the process. The darker feelings will be released and the desirable ones will be strengthened.
This exercise can be done with another person asking you the questions or by doing it solo. (If you are using a partner, make sure your partner asks the question Can You welcome this feeling, rather than Can I. However, when doing the process solo, it gives you more privacy and it makes it easier to be honest.
The process should be done when that heavy or depressing feeling comes or you start feeling angry or ornery. Each time the process is done, it lets go of another layer.
This process has been the most important key for me being able to achieve happiness and joy after trauma. The results have truly been amazing. I am sharing it because I want the same for you. Our lives are meant to be joyful.
I welcome your questions or comments on how The Sedona Method has worked for you.