Adam Rafferty – Guitar and Spirit

All about music, guitar, spirituality, personal development and being happy

The Benefit of Welcoming Unwanted Feelings

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This has a happy ending…..

Yesterday was a tough day – meaning, very intense work which churned up a lot of emotion, some being negative . The emotions made it harder than it had to be!

I worked a couple days straight on these 2 little You Tube videos and was messing around all day yesterday with file formats. That type of thing is maddening, if you are in the mode of getting it done. Fun if you are in geek mode and someone else is paying for you to learn.

And to match it, I had to rush out to a photo shoot that a good buddy kindly offered me. So, here I found myself getting a knot in my stomach, and another knot. Only later in the day to find out that my web server OS is out of date and I may have to bag either my website or bag the server totally.


Can you see what I am getting at? Let me delve deeper to show you the unwanted feelings that churned up – and these are embarrassingly honest. Remember, they are my experience – but your feelings are YOUR experience and that’s what we are talking about.

So here I am making these vids. In case you don’t know, I have been out there as a jazz guitarist for years (CDs, tours, as a sideman, as a leader) and have recently caught the acoustic bug.

I am enthused but here is the resistance, the little thoughts echoing in my head, and it is just the beginning:

What will my jazz mentor think? (wanting approval)
What will my other band leaders think? (wanting approval)
Will I make less money? (wanting survival)
Will I lose credibility?(wanting approval)
Will fans / everyone think I am selling out?(wanting approval)
Am I dumbing down my music?(wanting approval)
Am I starting something new instead of paying the dues I previously committed to?(wanting control)
Other people go to work and here I am messing with you tube all day?(wanting survival)
Will anyone even care?(wanting approval)
Will my mentors / peers read this blog and think I am a nut? (wanting approval)

During my intense workday, these thoughts (which I am sure are common) crept in here and there. The pressure mounted. Notice how I labeled each emotion as wanting one of 3 things:

wanting control
wanting safety / survival
wanting approval

I was introduced to this idea from studying The Release Technique and the Sedona Method. All the emotional buttons that get pushed come down to these 3 wants. Check it out! And sometimes an issue can have many facets, and feelings and thoughts can get muddled, and make us act in ways in which we later regret.

Or, these little emotions can stop us from having the things we really want. They can make us “get in our own way” and disallow the receiving of what is coming to us naturally.

Here’s the crux: the more we push against those unwanted feelings, the more we have them!

Our brains don’t hear “”don’t”.

When we say or think:

Don’t spill the milk.
Don’t waste time.
There shouldn’t be violence.
Don’t chew with your mouth open.

The brain hears, or better yet – is led to envision:

Spill the milk.
Waste time.
Violence is.
Chew with your mouth open.

The brain sees images, not words.

The Sedona Method says “Can you welcome the feeling” as the first step. This is huge. Just think – when you really feel that resistance, and now that you know resisting or putting a “don’t” in front will amplify it, you are actually better off welcoming the feeling.

By welcoming you instantly offer the opposite of resistance, and that is the first step towards dropping the feeling. Upside down, but ingenious!

It takes some courageousness to in that moment welcome an unwanted emotion.

Here goes:

Thought: “Geez I hope the people in my life approve of my new artistic direction.” (Wanting approval, envisioning their disapproval.)

Can I welcome the feeling of wanting approval? Can I allow it to just be here? Can I allow everything to be as it is?

Could I let go of the feeling of wanting approval?
Would I?

And I notice a slightly improved emotion. By not fighting back, I am not creating more of the emotion. A feeling of lightness dawns, and that’s the bad emotion evaporating. Hence the name “Release Technique”.

This simple idea and technique has changed my life dramatically.

We all (except for an enlightened few) have scenarios in which emotions get stirred up, and more often react instead of “release”.

I encourage you to check it out, since your life is seen out of your own eyeballs and felt in your own body and mind.


Author: Adam Rafferty

Adam Rafferty. Fingerstyle Guitarist. Recording and Concert Artist. Meditator. Philosopher. Lover of Groove.

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