My friend and I were enjoying the sinfully delicious Death by Chocolate when she suddenly burst out,’Can you guess what that dear husband of mine said today?‘.
‘What?’ I raised a curious eyebrow. Their arguments were legendary.

He said,’I don't have a drop of common sense in my whole body.’

He said,’I don't have a drop of common sense in my whole body.’

‘And to cap it, he ...he...,’ she suddenly stopped and visibly swallowed her anger.

‘What did he say,’ I encouraged her

‘Oh forget it. Why spoil this yummy ice cream’. We got back to enjoying the multi-layered chocolaty icecream laced with some crazy jokes.

Later in the evening, I watched a soap depicting the ideal bahu. I watched her smiling through every insult, intent on pleasing her in laws. She had skillfully donned the mask of a perfect bahu and could allow herself to experience any feelings. I thought of how we constantly suppress our emotions. It is supposed to be unmannerly to shout and get angry. It is immature to cry, if you are hurt. Giving vent to your frustration is just not done. You can never be afraid, of course as you are all grown up. What is accepted is a silly smile , with a oh let it go. Its only a small thing, not worth making a fuss about. I have better things to do. We put on a brave face, smother our anger, disappointment, tears, fear deep into our bodies and go about our business.

But what happens to all these bottled emotions? They settle deep inside our bodies I call them ‘squatters’.

You know, when you buy a piece of land and don’t guard it, squatters come and occupy the land and soon there is a busy buzzing colony of them? This is exactly what happens with the unexpressed emotions that we unceremoniously shove out of sight. They don’t disappear. They make their home in our energy bodies. They insidiously accumulate, grow and multiply. One fine day they reveal themselves as a dreaded disease, divorce, financial failure, depression, et al.

All the pent up emotions: anger, sadness, desperation, betrayal, fear result in isolation, a shutting out of social interaction, living sterilely, secure within a one-man fortress. And this increasingly fosters rigid belief systems, ( men are like that- women are like this; marriage is for fools, etc, etc), more barriers and limitations till life becomes a very narrow band of experience. There is more misery, less joy; more justifications, less acceptance; more criticism, less laughter.

They also generate negative thoughts and judgments. All the ’I cants’, ‘X is a mean person’, I had rather die than talk to Y’, ‘ Invite M to my son;s wedding? Over my dead body!’ Most of the stories and drama of our lives stem from our unexperienced, unacknowledged emotions. We appear to have no control over the way these squatters proliferate and show up in our lives. Often we are shocked by our own behaviour, our extreme reactions. Constant thoughts of revenge, regrets of the past, replaying old incidents, these could be both positive and negative, anger against someone, fear of someone or something, constant worry, anxiety, negative perception of life, constant bickering with your spouse, maid, parent, colleague, boss. A prevailing sense of dissatisfaction. The question, what’s so great about this life. a lack of energy and vitality are all signs of being overrun by squatters.

So what is the solution? Evict these squatters from our energy system, of course! Put up bold sign boards reading, NO SQUATTING RIGHTS! And go about rooting them out. Make a commitment to FEEL your emotions fully and let them go. Live each moment fully, every emotion fully. Be Present in your own life.

Recapitulation as a method of releasing repressed emotions is highly recommended. Michael Brown’s The Presence Process is also superbly effective. The goal is to experience all the textures, all flavors and colors of all of life. To be fully, vibrantly alive in joy. To be aware.