Stress Relief in 30 Seconds!

In the book, The Sedona Method, by Hale Dwoskin, there are four techniques taught to facilitate letting go.  Since the book was published, Hale developed a fifth way of releasing.  In my words, here is a brief description of each.  For more, please go to, read the book or listen to the audio program.  

1. Choose to Let it Go

This first way of releasing is the one most often associated with the Sedona Method.  It consists of three basic questions, ‘could you let it go?’ ‘would you let it go?’ and ‘when?’
What most of us lose track of when dealing with an emotion is the fact that it is not attached to us and it is not who we are.  The beauty of this release is that it helps us come back to some sense of sanity and remember that we are not our emotions.  The analogy used by Hale Dwoskin is that of gripping tightly to a pen for so long that we forget we are not the pen and at any time, could simply drop it.  Our ability to drop the pen demonstrates our ability to drop a feeling.
This release works best for me with a minor irritation, or when I have enough awareness to realize that I want something that is impossible, like changing the past.  Examples would be letting go of wanting to strangle the driver who took up two parking spots or wanting to change that I ate ice cream yesterday.  
One thing to remember with this release, is that no is a perfectly acceptable answer.  More than anything, you want to be honest with yourself.  Often, you will get the release just by being honest, but even the acknowledgement that you could choose to let it go, will help you to see that you are not at the mercy of the feeling.

2.  Welcome It

The second way of releasing is the easiest to implement and also a basic premise of dance/movement therapy along with many other psychotherapy practices and Buddhism.  It goes hand and hand with the saying ‘what you resist, persists’.  The truth is that we experience many thoughts and many feelings every day.  The only ones that hang around and become problematic are the ones we resist.  Thoughts and feelings move effortlessly if left alone.  Just think about all the thoughts you have driving to work, probably thousands.  By welcoming a thought or a feeling, it will naturally dissolve on its own.  
This release is the simplest to use in the moment.  When sitting in a business meeting or on the phone, you can simply notice a feeling and open internally to it without losing focus or anyone knowing what you are doing.
I’ve had several clients with an aversion to the word welcome; believing that welcoming a feeling gives it permission to hang around forever.  Two things you can do if you have a similar reaction- 1. use a different word, such as allow or notice, or 2. try it and see what happens (almost always, when you truly welcome a feeling, it will move on)
I particularly like the release when it comes to worrying, an experience that often arises hand in hand with resistance.  By allowing yourself to worry (maybe even throwing a worry party) the resistance dissolves and the experience completes.   

3.  Diving In

One of the very common misconceptions about emotions is if you go
deeply into them, they will overtake you and you will be stuck in them forever.  The premise here is if you dive deeply enough into any
emotion, it completely dissolves, revealing a sense of emptiness,
space, or being-ness.  Diving into the very core of emotion,
dissolves it.
From Hale Dwoskin:
“In my experience, every emotion, every problem in fact, has as
much substance as a soap bubble, and when you poke your finger
into a soap bubble, what happens? It just pops. Well, the same
thing is true when you move your awareness into the core of any
emotion, it simply dissolves.
The reason it’s as powerful as it is to dive in is that all our turmoil is
always on the surface. We are a vast ocean of awareness, and
even with a regular ocean, there could be a typhoon or hurricane
on the surface, but you go 20 or 30 feet deep, and it’s calm.
The same thing is true with us. On the surface, we could be going
through an emotional hurricane, but if you go just a little deeper,
you’ll see this calmness, vastness, spaciousness that is really
what’s always here. It’s just we lose touch with it when the turmoil is
boiling on the surface.”
You won’t be seeing this release in my blog posts, as sometimes a facilitator is needed.

4. Holistic Release

This release is based on the premise that everything which arises in awareness, arises in duality.  We cannot have in without out, good without bad, wrong without right.  Most of the time, we go through life trying to hold onto one aspect of something and deny the other exists.  Hale Dwoskin says this is like trying to separate heads and tails when you flip a coin.  In the holistic releasing process, we allow ourselves to go back and forth between two opposite feelings or thoughts until we feel neutral.  With some things this might feel effortless (love your job/hate your job) and we can easily identify with both sides, with other things it might be more challenging (feel as stupid as you do/feel as smart as you do); but if you allow yourself to tap into both sides, even a little bit, you will be surprised at what surfaces and dissolves.  Be sure to take the time you need to feel both sides when you go back and forth and to keep going until it feels neutral.  For some issues, you might just spend 2 or 3 seconds feeling one side, then moving to the other side; for other issues you may need longer.  If it doesn’t neutralize after 10 times back and forth, see if something else came to the surface that needs to be released first.

5.  Triple Welcoming (or the Fifth Way)

Triple welcoming is what I think of as multi-dimensional welcoming (see the 2nd way of releasing).  With this type of release, we welcome all aspects of the issue we are struggling with, the resistance to it or wanting to change it, the feelings and judgments about it, any wanting to figure it out and any other related thoughts or feelings that arise.   We then let all of what we have welcomed dance or spin together, noticing how it is all one spin.  We can then welcome any attachment or aversion to the spin (and you’ll be surprised how often there is an attachment to something you think you hate) and then welcome any sense that the spin is personal or attached to us.  With this release, we start to see that it is only the identification with an energy spin that keeps it alive and keeps us feeling stuck.  
There’s another way that Hale has used The Fifth Way of releasing that I really love.  When I feel stuck in a feeling, I can say to myself ‘so what?’ and with that, I recognize that it is just energy, not who I am, and most often, it just lets go.  

About MSI

Melanie Smithson Institute is dedicated to enriching lives through embodied education and training; using movement, play and releasing to connect with innate wisdom and joy.  

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