How big is your “cup”?

emotions rope bottoming

When people come to me to talk about about their “issues” in rope bottoming, it is often about emotions: feeling deeply, allowing and containing “difficult” emotions and so on… something i would summarize as a topic of “capacity”.

We all have “cups” of how much we can feel. They vary in size…depending on our past positive and negative experiences, habits, social or religious conditioning, inexperience with certain kinds of feelings (“I shouldn’t feel this”), or simply lack of practice: our bodies may not be trained to feel and stay with whatever it is we are feeling.

When the emotional stimuli reach the limit of what we can handle, we start to check out of the experience: we get distracted, we tense up, we resist – we do something to put off feeling. We want to stop feeling because it is too much for us, and sometimes because we are convinced that it is too much for others…

Interestingly enough, we have limited “cups” not only for discomfort, but also for pleasure. When we fall asleep on the massage table, this is also a way to check out of a very pleasant experience.

We can increase our emotional strength and capacity, which means that we will actually feel more and be able to handle more emotional discomfort without flipping out. If this is something you like to play with and you are looking for ways to increase your capacity, this can be helpful:

  • Relaxation: relaxed body holds more. The first step would be to notice, what your body is doing to stop the feeling: holding the breath, tensing the muscles, – then acknowledge it and allow for another possibility: exhaling with the sound, staying soft a little loger…
  • Sensitization: increased awareness of what is happening. It is the opposite vector of increasing impact… when you sensitize yourself, you can feel much more, even in the smallest gesture…
  • Practice! Commit to the practice of staying with whatever it is you are feeling, in and out of the ropes… All sensations are useful sensations to be intimate with for the sake of fuller capacity.

Practice is a key. Feeling pleasure or discomfort requires that we create pathways through the experience. Our bodies (our ANS) can be “trained” to integrate the vibrations and settle back to the “quiet mode” after they are discharged – just as any muscle can be trained through practice.

But don’t force yourself to take more than you can handle! Keep an “inquiry” mindset, staying curious about what your body is feeling in the moment, rather than caught up in thoughts of what might happen if we let our emotions out.

Little by little, we can grow in our ability to stay connected to ourselves and feel what is happening in the present moment, both in discomfort and in pleasure. We can become more resilient <3