A Feelingwork Session in Detail: Receiving Love

Drawing Fearful Fear


J: And then the Fearful Fear… I think… I’ll leave this here so that we can draw the Fear behind the plate. And we’re looking at, this is not metallic, but this has got gray, darker and lighter.

[picking the right color…]

S: And if you were to drop a line from my ear, down through my elbow, that’s about how deep it goes. Like from there to the front.

J: Right. OK. But it starts a little higher?

S: Yes. Up, right underneath my chin.

J: And would you say it’s a…

S: Yeah, like that. … And then just a little further toward my back, like one more row of color. Yeah.

J: All right. And then, should we add some darker ones?

S: Yeah.

J: Does that seem…?

S: Yep, that seems just right.

J: And how much of this dark color?

S: Just about what you’re doing. You’re on the right track. Yeah. That’s enough.

J: All right. This is Fearful Fear. Excellent.

Because Susan has a well-developed sense of feeling, her drawings stay true to her original map descriptions. This drawing is simply about visually capturing what she has already discerned in the mapping process.

Drawing a feeling state provides a reinforcement of the detachment of one’s identity from the feeling. When you can see it in front of you, represented on an outline of (your) body, it becomes more difficult to experience yourself AS the feeling. You naturally find yourself inhabiting a perspective that the feeling is something you have, rather than something you are. This in itself is strongly therapeutic in many cases.

Let’s revisit the idea of feeling being different from emotion. In emotion, various external and internal perceptual signals stimulate the emotional systems of the brain and body to produce a physiological state that prepares the body for an appropriate response. The body has one emotional state, possibly generated by more than one emotional circuit but being forced to integrate as one state by the singular nature of the body as a whole. 

In mapping No! and Fearful Fear, we see in contrast two distinct and different states. This is further evidence that in working with the actual, felt experience of feeling, we are engaging something very different from the body’s emotional circuitry. Keep that in mind as we proceed. What we currently understand about emotion does not map well to what we discover in our investigations of actual feeling states as we experience them.