Let Yourself Feel

Judging our  feelings

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this epidemic of anxiety. So many of my friends feel perpetually stressed, are always striving, can’t quite relax, aren’t sleeping. I too am pretty susceptible to this. We read so much more about it nowadays – how it’s the fault of our iPhones, or the pressure of social media, or of increasingly high standards at work. And I think these are all definitely factors. But more and more I think anxiety comes from hiding from your feelings. Or at least it does for me.

I think I judge emotions like sadness and anger as being ‘the bad ones.’ I don’t like being there and so when I do catch myself on the edge of them, my instinct is to distract myself. I run as fast as I can into being busy, checking facebook, talking about anything else, doing anything that I can to avoid those hard feelings. But that distraction just leads to more anxiousness. It’s like somehow, somewhere I know that they’re chasing me so I am trying to make sure they don’t catch up.

I know I’ve found myself with a wall to wall full diary and when I do make time for myself I am so wired, I can’t even think about meditating or doing yoga or anything like that. Instead I find personal admin to do, or watch telly to numb my brain. I keep on the track running (but not actually running because that would risk my emotions coming up), because I worry what will happen if I stop.

It’s pretty common I think. Whether we’re aware that’s what we’re doing is another matter. But somewhere underneath all of our surfaces lie the real emotions that drive us. And for some of us it’s been so long since we let them out that the idea of seeing them can be terrifying.

Letting go and experiencing

But when I do allow those feelings; when I embrace sadness and have a good cry, or I allow myself to be angry (still working on that one) and have a shout or a scream or punch a pillow the release I feel is proper and full. It allows me to actually relax rather than just staying on top of something. When I allow myself to experience it, I am no longer running away from the feeling. Instead I look it in the face and I say ‘hi, I see you, I get it, I feel it.’ And really it’s not so bad. I often feel a sense of release, and then a sense of shame or shock that I actually did it, but then it passes. And I can get on with my life.

Sadness, anger, loneliness, worry are all ok feelings. It’s when we judge them or try and push them away that we give them power to grow bigger and stronger and have a hold over to us. For a really long time I gave them absolute control over my life. Now I feel like I can at least be aware of that, and sometimes I can act to stop myself in my tracks.

This isn’t always easy. And it can be really annoying when you know that facing it is the ‘right thing to do’ but you just really don’t want to. You can’t manage it, or you feel it might overwhelm you. Sometimes I have this fantasy that if I really allow myself to be so sad, it will eat me up and I’ll just sit in a room crying forever. Of course this isn’t true, when I actually face my feelings it tends to last for a really short time and then I am over it… rather than when I let it fester and my anxiety hangs around for days.

Lifelong process

All of this stuff is stuff I will be learning for the rest of my life. There is no magic cure. But doing Insight I and having the support of my Insight I buddies and our community massively helped me with this. I am better able to communicate my worries to my partner without feeling totally overwhelmed. I can ask for what I need. I can (shock! horror!) get angry sometimes, and when I do I actually feel quite powerful. I’m a work in progress, we all are, but I am happier with myself and I feel freer than I ever have. And I am thankful to Insight for that.

Woman sitting on a chair laughingJo Hunter is the Co-Founder and CEO of 64 Million Artists. She believes in unlocking the power of creativity in everyone to help them live fuller and happier lives. She lives in London with her partner Ben and they are both a part of the big Insight family.

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How to stay loving in the times of instability & fear

Dear friends,

I have been away from London for almost a month, and upon return at the end of June, I had the clarity of mind to reflect on the past events and the energy I feel back home.


We live in one of the most abundant and diverse places on Earth. People from all over the world are living here, communicating in more than 300 languages. On our street, a few miles away from the Grenfell Tower in West London, we have neighbours from all religious and geographic backgrounds - Muslim, Christian, Hindu; European, African, American, British, South-American, Asian, Indian, you name it... Living in this diverse place and experiencing cross-cultural interactions challenges me and helps me learn to respect the unknown, stretching my comfort zone to surpass the habit of judging. I aim to see beyond my own beliefs as conditioned by my background, family, nationality and faith. Raising my son to see past stereotypes, accepting cultural diversity surrounding us is a top priority for me.

I grew up in a small town in communist Bulgaria, where people are still being discriminated by the colour of their skin or by their sexual orientation, risking their safety. I used to spend my summer vacations in my grandmother's village with friends from Turkish and Roma minorities, and it was natural for me to hear her speak different languages with her neighbours. She grew up with them in this small village, and it was her way to connect with them and their culture, and show her respect. Our doors were always open and we have celebrated Christmas and Easter together, and always enjoyed the sweet delights on Ramadan.


The dramatic incidents in London and across the world brought me back to this beautiful time of my childhood, where religious holidays were a reason to celebrate living together no matter what your faith or background is - living respectfully, caring about each other, sharing the moments of happiness or sorrow.

I have passed by the Grenfell Tower on my way to Queen's Club tennis final two weeks ago. The view of destroyed lives and the pain of all families was echoing in my heart while watching the game. I was present at a celebration of the human potential and could not stop thinking about the power to create and the power to destroy. Aren't they born in the same place? How can we help each other to be more caring and loving? London has been different after all these painful events, and it is our responsibility to be united in the face of sorrow, and not only.



Being aware that I cannot control the events, my intention is to keep the focus on the positive things around the world and I believe that it takes simple steps. Have you heard the saying that we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with?

Spending time with people I love and care about is my priority. An open-hearted connection is an ultimate aim, which brings me joy. Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending several hours with a group of Insight Seminars Graduates and working on creating photo & video materials for promoting Insight while learning more about ourselves and the world.

You Decide

I am so grateful to be surrounded by the conscious creators, people who want to create a positive difference in the world by working on the issues in their own lives and relationships.

The first step always starts by looking at self:
How can I take care of myself better to be able to take care of others?
How can I change my attitude and intentions?
What can  I do to create a healthier environment for my son?
How can I be a better partner and a human being?

The answers are not always easy and can sometimes bring me deep in situations from the past that have been unhealed. Holding on to pain from the past is life blocking, and I was very excited by the Mental Health initiative launched by the Royal Family, which encourages people to speak up about mental issues to help overcome them. I also found, that talking about my issues is important to keep me healthy, and being vulnerable is a powerful step towards living the life I love.

We are facing times where hatred around the world, high expectations in the workplace, and media supercharged by constant tech connectivity,  is causing us unprecedented levels of anxiety. In the face of sorrow, nothing is more important than our well being.

How do we keep the intention to take care of ourselves to be able to take care of others?

My formula is to surround myself with people who share similar beliefs and values, who care about the world and thrive to live the life they love. The heart connection has no age, no colour, no faith, no nationality. What is your way?


The Insight Seminars UK

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How Insight has inspired me

Getting blessed by Mother Teresa whilst I was volunteering for her was a highlight of my life. What got me to Calcutta was something that happened in an Insight Seminar.

I did my Insight I in 1985 – half a lifetime ago – and on September 30th I will be back in the seminar room again (at one of our old haunts, The Columbia Hotel!) to co-facilitate the new seminar with Ruth Grodek.

I don’t have anything else in my life that has been such a continuous element – not a relationship, not my work, not where I live. All these have changed over the decades. Insight has been the one constant.

It has my heart and somehow I have kept coming back.

I was talking with Galina, the Insight London Director, and wondering why that was, what that magical and compelling element was and she asked me to write about it here.

Back in 1985 I was a bit lost, really. Great social life, work in publishing good but not really satisfying me, relationships a total mess and really no idea of who I was. I didn’t even understand the question. I wasn’t in extremis, but I did have some of that question going through my mind, “Is this it? There has to be more than this.” But through what I can really only describe as the miraculous way Insight works, I started to learn, to grow and to heal. I became accountable for my own quality of life. It really was a transformation – or rather, it enabled me to transform my own life. The life I have now has so much depth and richness to it, elements that were totally beyond me before I did my Insight I.

I have had an amazing life. Not without its bumps or stumbles, but with that sense that it is all unfolding perfectly. Even in the darkest times, there has been hope and a deep belief that I can get through it. And I have.

Directly because of Insight I worked for and was blessed by Mother Teresa in Calcutta. Directly because of Insight I have the career as a coach and facilitator that I have now and which I love. Directly because of Insight I am in the loving and nurturing relationship I am in now. The fantastic circle of friends I have – pretty much all of them came through Insight – people who share my values and way of looking at life.

Mother Teresa, love for insightI am so glad Galina asked me to write this as it is having me look at all the blessings in my life and I can trace most of them back to that day in November 1985 when I trusted my friend who said, “This is really good. You should give it a go.”

So here I am, saying to you – whether you did it years ago or you only just heard about it – Insight is an extraordinarily powerful three days. You should give it a go.

Hope to see you at the seminar.


Warm wishes,
Ginny Fraser
Facilitator, Insight Seminars

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