I see processing as mental digesting that can take place consciously and subconsciously. Like our bodies need to process the food we feed to it so do our minds and our energy bodies (if you believe in such things 🙂 ) All those inputs, sensory experiences and emotional atmospheres and states that come into our system every day, they need to be digested, some of it we need to keep and some we need to dispose of.
Just like with foods there will be many individual differences between what we eat and how our bodies react to it. I for instance have a lot of food sensitivities and need to watch out for what I put into my body if I want to avoid aches, pains, exhaustion and an upset stomach. I need to eat mindfully and as few artificial and processed foods as possible. And I need peaceful time to digest sometimes even lying down. But I know people who can eat anything and their stomach and body seem perfectly able to digest it, take what it needs and dispose what it does not.
The processing our minds need to do is dependent on what we have taken in as well as how our non-physical digestion system works. A lot of my processing seems to happen semi-consciously which is a bit annoying at times because it can interrupt activities I am busy with or take energy out of me. Also it seems like my system struggles to dispose of things so I store up a lot of energy, emotions and thoughts and get mentally and energetically constipated.
I have spent some years learning how to rest and nurture myself and now it seems I am beginning to look at how I can aid my own internal processing. Just like I would look after my stomach when it seems upset with things I have consumed or the way I have eaten them, by resting after a meal, going for a walk, rubbing my stomach or eating or drinking something to aid digestion, there are things I can do to look after my mental digestion system. Doodling can help me digest in the here and now (rather than afterwards) when I am attending meetings or listening to speeches etc. I have recently found out that gardening really seems to help me digest dilemmas, conflicts and sadness as it both grounds and nurtures me. For some years now I have used watching football and rugby to digest emotions, especially aggression, and watching TV (certain non-overwhelming and familiar series) seems to support me in not getting caught up in inner distressing narratives as I process. Bodywork like massages, body awareness therapy and gentle yoga helps me work through deeper layers and release things I am holding on to.
I sometimes get the sense that my nervous system experiences mini-traumas on a daily basis which can store up in my body and create an unease – especially in my limbs. It can feel like a restlessness or like bugs crawling around in my bones and under my skin. My partner and I have discovered (through my massage therapist) that if he shakes me gently while I am lying down and focussing on relaxing my body it can release that sense of painful energy being stored up.
Walking has always been my favourite way of processing; walking alone, rhythmically, neither too fast nor too slowly and adjusting my breathing to my movements. Thoughts will start flowing differently and different states of consciousness will arise and fall away again.
Different ways of processing will suit us in different situations and different stages of life and I think we need to keep trying new things as well as being honest with our selves about whether old habits still work or if we are just doing them because they feel safe.