This post is the last installment in the emotional ability series I have been writing for you, beginning with this post back in February (if you'd like to review).
Today I'd like to share a framework with you that may help you understand how to put that first foot forward in your emotional ability journey and see it through to the end.
If you are beginning in a place where your emotions (and therefore your life) are painful and bewildering to you, then your first priority is to give yourself the gift of emotional safety. Learn and choose that first. Stop sharing (deeper) emotions with unsafe people who don't know how to support you because of where they are stuck in their journey. Seek safe people. That may be a professional third party (perhaps a therapist or a clergy member, as examples), or a close family member or friend (pets count!), or perhaps a new group of people with common interests or struggles that 'get' you.
Become safe for yourself. In quiet, personal moments allow any emotion that wishes to arise without repressing it--whether that is a giggle or a sob or a growl. Learn to release judgment against yourself for simply feeling something. Validate your own emotions (don't wait for someon. Yes, you may need to learn how to healthily express a feeling (next step in the framework). But for simply experiencing a given emotion? Allow your self room and permission to look at it, hold it in the body as needed. Then allow it to move out of the skin--gently or tempestuously. Be compassionate toward yourself as an emotional being.
Also notice if you are having to suffer other people's emotions, especially on a chronic basis, that are not safe for you. Create a strategy that will allow you to be protected from that person(s) and their emotion. Get help if you need it. Strengthen your boundary. Physically leave their presence, perhaps.
Be willing to examine whether or not other people are safe around you and your emotions. Be honest about that. Perhaps just this simple awareness at this point will help you begin to make some new choices.
Meanwhile, as you experience more safety and relaxation during an emotional experience, you can move into the second step of the framework, which is emotional proficiency. Here is where you are going to do a lot of work (and you might like to refer to the various posts in the emotional ability series for ideas of what needs to be done). Over time, baby step by baby step, get some skills with emotions. Install some new beliefs. Install some new thought statements (which trigger emotion). Release the old ones. Understand and heal your triggers (emotional reactions). Get a tool kit, especially for those common situations you find yourself in--for example, if you are often angry, get an anger tool kit. If you are often afraid, get a fear tool kit. If you would like to feel more acceptance toward yourself and others, create and employ a tool kit for that. The main proficiency is how you will choose to express an emotion once it arises. Another important one is how to use and share emotion to deepen intimacy in your relationships (rather than being divisive).
Over time, as you gain more emotional knowledge, and practice what you know, you will eventually begin to enjoy emotional thriving. In this stage, your skills are more second nature. You feel free and relaxed throughout the day for the most part and do not have to second guess or consciously handle yourself and others and our emotions; it just comes naturally. You feel alive and are grateful for all the flavors of that life. You have plenty of room to cry and to laugh and to scream and everything in between. And you have room to allow others' around you to do the same.
I do hope this emotional ability series has helped you to understand that you can do something about your emotions if they are currently a source of pain or overwhelm for you. There are steps you can take, things you can practice. You are responsible for your own emotional state.
If we haven't been emotionally proficient in our life--instead confused, overwhelmed, hurt, numb--we probably have no idea what the value of even having emotion and feeling is. Can we just skip this? Ha ha.
There are three important gifts emotions give to us. If we understand these principles, we can live with them in mind.
Emotions and feelings are messages to you. Feelings are a barometer of what is going on inside of you and outside of you. Emotions are a language. If we did not have feelings, then we wouldn't have a taste of what the energy is within us and around us. Feelings are that signal and comprehension of energy (along with our 'five senses'). The messages of feelings give you an opportunity to respond. Many of us respond blindly based on old programming. But we can heal and become more conscious and deliberate.
When we feel something--like inadequacy--we have an opportunity to respond to ourselves. It's a signal that we need our own support and our own nurturing. It's a message that we need to have experiences of accomplishment and acknowledgement. We can have gut feelings about a lot of things that we need to pay attention to. If we feel exhausted, that's information to let us know that there is an issue that needs to be addressed in our body. When we feel calm and relaxed, then we are in a message of being in a peaceful union state with the universe--with the energy and other beings surrounding us as well as our own self. So you can see that feelings light our path in this world and in some cases even keep us alive and help us survive. I know that even my hate and my anger at one time was exactly what kept me upright and walking through some unbearable times. Otherwise, I would have constantly been in the corner in the fetal position.
Emotional messages may or may not be accurate or true. We have to learn to listen to ourselves and become familiar with ourselves. Feeling like every one is against us may not be accurate, but it's still a message and an opportunity. Knowing that we are feeling that way gives us a chance to love ourselves and to challenge our thinking and to move to a clearer place, releasing old hurts and stories in our past that installed that life view. And if we realize that there may be quite a few people actually against us, we can also take the time to decide and commit to who we are going to be no matter the obstacles.
Emotions facilitate communication and intimacy between beings. We are responsible for our own emotional state. Other people don't 'make us' feel a given way (unless we are getting signals that something is 'not right' about a person, i.e. our safety or boundary is at stake). Since other people are not responsible for our emotions, it's not okay to dump our emotions and (harmful) emotional expressions all over them. That's like taking all the dirty laundry and used snack dishes and the lint from our bedroom and hauling it to the next person's bedroom and dumping it all over their floor and saying, "I just didn't feel like cleaning up or dealing with this. So here you go, you can have it." A safe, healthy person (whether a professional, friend, or family member) may support us or guide us in our emotions (and we can let them, we can reveal our feelings with a safe person), but ultimately it's up to us. But if someone is just not ready to handle our weight because they are trying to keep their own head above water, don't expect blood from a turnip. That's not helpful to you or them.
Emotions are signals about the state of (energy of) the relationships we are in. When emotions arise within the relationship, again, it's an opportunity to respond. In a healthy relationship, there ought to be room to identify the emotion(s) and let the other person know what's going on with you (and be ready to receive the same from them in a relatively good attitude). (If you're not in a healthy relationship, that's another story.) Then, depending on the level of the relationship but for example if it is your partner, if both of you are healthy enough then hopefully you can both consciously and compassionately deal with each others' emotions, find the response, find the solution, support each other. It's not an opportunity to harm or blame--but an opportunity to heal and to strengthen the bond. In this case, the relationship is 'unit' instead of a twosome, so the emotions that arise are an indication of the state of that unit, although you certainly bring your own stuff to it. For example, if your experience in the relationship is: I feel invisible . . . then it is an opportunity for a healthy and willing partner to do actions to include you and/or you need to address the inaccuracy of your feeling and your own belief system based on past situations that don't reflect the current one and/or maybe it's time to tell the truth to yourself about the unhealthiness of that relationship (if the 'invisible' is accurate, chronic, and incurable).
Emotions are often meant to be shared. Which brings me to the third gift of emotion.
Emotions and feelings are the flavor of life. Emotions are how we know we are alive. Emotions are the experience. Everything here on this planet are just props to produce emotions and therefore the experience of life. Imagine the parent-child bond. Imagine the group feeling at a concert. Imagine the determination of activists to set things right. (These are shared emotions.) Falling in love, basking in nature, grieving with others. Everything we do is the quest for an emotional experience--our search for love, our search for money, our addictions, our search for excellence, our exploration of the world, our playing of games, our healthy and unhealthy choices. It's all so we can feel. Do you remember the angel Seth who gave up immortality and power so he could love Maggie? That's the story of all of us. We came here so we could know what strawberry ice cream tastes like, so we could know what it was like to be sweating tired but feeling proud of ourselves, so we could know what it's like to cry when saying good-bye, so we would know what it's like to fail and then find the strength inside us to rise again, so we would know what it's like to blow on a dandelion and giggle as the seeds float away. The ultimate version of eternity--the reality the aeons of gods (us!) invented for their own enjoyment--because the other version of eternity--without the emotion--is a bit boring if nothing else.
What messages did you receive today?
Within the universe, there are two grand principles.
There is that which is dynamic. That which moves.
There is that which is stable. That which stays still.
Both principles are required, and fused with one another, in order to give rise to Life.
Emotions are a form of movement.
When we have our emotions 'stay still', we are introducing imbalance into our being.
Another way to put this is that emotions are meant to be expressed. They must. Emotions move into or arise from our body--and they must leave. That is the whole point of having an emotion.
Much of what can be termed emotional problems, pain, sickness, etc--is a result of a misunderstanding of this dynamic function of emotion. The need of emotions to move, to move through. Instead, we felt an emotion (say, anger . . .) long about 1981 and pretty much decided to feel that emotion for the next 30 years. It's been installed. That puppy is going nowhere.
That's a big reason why things feel so wonky in our bodies and our lives. We work so hard not to feel certain emotions, especially intense ones such as jealousy or fear (etc), because we want to be such good girls and boys. But I suggest moving your attention from the point at which the emotion initializes--allow it to come, it's okay--and instead ask yourself what is happening at the expression point of that emotion.
As you observe yourself for the emotions that arise constantly in your life, ask yourself--do I have an expression for this? For example, if insecurity is a big feature of your life, allow it. Don't try to stop the insecurity necessarily. Rather, when insecurity arises, how will you express it? How about finding a 'security stone', a beautiful stone to keep in your pocket? When insecurity arises, hold the stone and let the insecurity move through and out of your body. When you feel restless, how about dancing? When you feel like crying, why don't you take a few minutes alone in your bedroom and allow that? When you feel affronted, how about making a big sound, "BAGAAWWWW!!! NO HE DIDN'T!" and then laughing it off?
We are each responsible for expressing emotions, and responsible for selecting the expressions.
So take some time to observe yourself and name the emotions that like to come and play with you, and ask yourself if you have adequate expression for them, and if not, have fun choosing a corresponding expression to each emotion you often feel.
By the way, if you can't think of any fancy expressions or don't want to, breathing works every time. INHALE . . . EXHALE . . . IN . . . OUT . . . WHOOOOOOO. With every exhale, move the emotion through your mouth and allow it to move on out into the air and dissipate. Another reliable tool for emotional expression is journaling. Another one is art. Even if you aren't an artist, per se, pick up some play dough or some finger paints at the dollar store, and have at it. Also, don't set a time limit necessarily. How long does it take to express an emotion? I have no idea. As long as it needs to!
(By the way, informing another person that they are the ones you 'made' you feel a certain way is not expression, and is not the truth. It's not necessarily okay or safe (for you or them) to dump your emotion on another being. We'll talk about communicating emotion with others in an upcoming blog post.)
And all the emotions from the 80s? Ha ha. Same thing. If you have a painful memory or simply in an emotional rut, maybe set aside a day or an hour and call on your body--hey, all you emotions that I've kept in prison for decades (sorry about that, honeys), today's your day to fly--and then dance, cry, laugh, write, breathe, and pound play dough; and let them find their way out. You'll FEEL them as they come, might not be totally pleasant, but remember they are saying good-bye this time.
I know we have a lot of rules and beliefs in our society and our family culture about emotional expression (or not). But maybe examine what rules are operating with you about that, and instead, begin to believe in 100 percent expression (give yourself permission), 100 percent responsibility for expression, 100 percent safety in expression (for yourself and others), and possibly allow yourself some enjoyment of expression. Even if, say, you are angry, find a way to enjoy the expression of anger. Go to a quiet spot in nature where no one can hear you, and scream your heart out. And it's okay if you enjoyed that!
*goes to find the playdough*
There's no where to go.
There's no where we have to be.
There's no destination.
We're already home.
Our body is our home.
Our body is intelligent and loves us and protects us.
But sometimes it's like a child and needs our love and protection, too.
We're in this together--my body and I.
Our body generates our experience.
Our feelings--arising within the body--are our experience. Our feelings are the way we know what picture we have painted on the canvas of our corner of the universe. If it feels good, we know we painted the right picture. If it feels bad, we messed up. Right? Or, at least that's how we've been trained.
I'll tell you a secret.
Only a few know this one.
It's all good.
It's all light.
It's all love.
It's okay if you don't get that yet. You'll find out soon enough.
Think about all the feelings and emotions you can feel. Jealousy. Anticipation. Listlessness. Craving. Threat. Triumph.
We have been trained that jealousy, listlessness, craving, threat and similar frequencies of emotion make us wrong. That's not right. That's not love. We have to fix that. We have to fix you.
Some of us even learned a double whammy. I know for me, whenever I used to start to feel any sort of happiness or other nice feeling, I immediately cut that short with a deep sense of foreboding and condemnation. Why are you feeling happy right now? You're not perfect!! You have forgotten to do something! You have to work more! How dare you enjoy yourself!
Love and light are states that are meaningless unless they are invested in matter and form--invested in the creation. There is no fruit or experience of love and light if they remain just floaty energetic essences out in the nowhere and everywhere.
Love and light are meant to enter our bodies. And through our bodies, love and light enter the larger world. In real time. In the here and now. In fire, air, water, earth. In crying and in laughter. In skin. The house of stone and light.
I used to believe in enlightenment. But then I realized that with that frame, I was placing my light and joy in the future. Later. Wait. You'll get there. But you have to be more, get more light. Perfect.
Now I realize that the sun rises every morning. Nobody has to do shit for that. And even light can't help itself of busting in on darkness's turn. Moon, stars. Light just can't help itself. And dark doesn't seem to mind at all.
Now I realize I am breathing. I am light. I am love. There isn't anything else that I am. There's no yesterday. There's no tomorrow. My kingdom is at hand. Right now. I am.
And the picture is painted with--defeat, worry, deliciousness, impatience, surrender, giggling, betrayal, warm comfort. I am.
It's all light. It's all love.
Breathe, sweetie . . .
P.S. This is not part of the Emotional Ability Series. But it's the post that wanted to be written today. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There's a crack in my door frame.
Not sure why. This house was brand new in 2009. I think the wood was just weak and split after a while.
The majority of my life is spent at my desk and computer. Thus, there is a certain visual frame of the same things I see every day. The window to outside that let's me see the sunrise, daily sky art, and sunset. My wall with my affirmations and goals I put upon it. The side door including the frame with the crack. Every day I lay my eyes on the crack.
Yesterday I was listening to a call where a woman, a talented healer, was guiding the group through a visualization and energy experience regarding abundance. I was relaxed and following along. But I'm not one whose mind goes totally quiet. There are always some skittles of thoughts.
I was sort of going through and comparing many of the laws, principles, and methods of creation and life that I had encountered from various wise persons. I appreciate everything I have received, but often enough the various teachings don't agree. So I hold certain things in suspension and ponder them and live my life and add my experience into the mix, and eventually I come to a philosophy that works for me. I also know that not everything has to be reconciled. Paradox is the framework of this universe. Yin-yang. We balance the opposing (not agreeing) principles in order to find the narrow way of life where the yin-yang are married.
The woman asked us to imagine how we would like a specific situation to be; to hold that hopeful image in our minds and in our energy and then to act from there. I didn't really do what she asked us to do. I'm tired of wanting things. It's energetically caustic to me. I knew what she meant--because you do need to create energetically before you can create materially. But what if I was just fine right now? Ha ha. (Wow, where is Jenn and what did you do with her???)
But as I listened, my eyes and mind wandered to my crack on the door frame. I realized that I have never intended to fix that crack because out of all the other things in my house and life that need to be fixed, that doesn't even hit the top one thousand. It was just going to always be there. But--what if?--I could visualize that door frame completely smooth and whole? Wow, cool. I could do that. It couldn't hurt. Either nothing would happen. Or something would. So I started to create the imagination of a white, smooth, whole door frame and I superimposed that imagination over the split door frame I have now. It was just for fun.
That little crack spoke to me.
I heard, "Don't you love me?"
Aaaah . . .
I softened immediately.
Why, yes, my dear little crack--I do love you. What would I do if the frame were all smooth and white? Where would you be? My companion for every day.
And I felt then that the most perfect visualization for that door frame was to see it exactly as it was and hold it precious.
I wanted to repair that split in the wood. I wanted to make it perfect.
Such a failing in my eyes and heart, to not be able to see how glorious it was and already perfect.
There is a beautiful man I have known for almost ten years. He has been a constant, gentle friend to me. Lately our connection is becoming even greater. I am curious as to what this passage of us will be. I'm willing for it without trying to pre-design it. We're long distance (including much different time zones), so that means Skype. This week has been a comedy of errors as we have tried to coincide our schedules to even have twenty minutes of conversation. In the (far) past I might have been deeply dismayed and frustrated by this state of things. But I realized that there was a gift in being parted from him.
I miss him.
That's a gift? Isn't it pain?
Yes, it can hurt. But I also find it precious. Missing him is a sign of the value of the relationship. And I am thankful for the great value it has for me. I am thankful to be missing him. I'm thankful that I have someone to be missed. Someone that I know is missing me. I don't need to comfort myself and wipe away that emotion.
I want to feel it fully.
From each progression of my present, my past
continues to be reframed. Even just this week I felt a new serving of peace regarding my memories. And when I felt the love for my door frame crack, I also realized that lately I feel that I can view my childhood and young adulthood without condemnation. Those cracks
. Of course, I'm in a new place. It is
the past. But I don't need to change it any more. I never could, but I sure wished mightily. I wished I could start all over. I wished I could be someone else. I know I messed up in the deepest ways possible.
Well. Or it was simply split wood.
Who would I be if I could get that past all white and smooth? I like this day, this now, this place I've come to, and the road I see and still have ahead of me. This day, this present is worth more than gold to me, and I paid more than that to get here. I paid my blood, sweat, tears. I gave my commitment. I gave my humility. I gave my everything. I gave my life.
Nothing was white and smooth. (It still isn't.) It was broken and alive and real and me. Unutterably precious. Of course I love you, my dear little split past.
I was married and began my adult life almost 26 years ago. My symptoms began immediately. One symptom was my inability to maintain organization and cleanliness in my surroundings--my house. I had full blown hoarding. My hoarding symptom was active until about 2009-2012 (it didn't stop all at once; it was gradual). But even after the symptom was no longer presently active, I still was surrounded by scar tissue from the past. It amounted to boxes and boxes of stuff
So for the past several years (2009 to today) I have been doing what I call clearing.
I take one of those boxes. I open it. And I do the emotion-laden work of looking at the items--throwing them away, giving them away, using them in real time, making a decision to keep a few sentimental items (but not too many! ha ha). It's difficult work for me. I just have to keep plodding along.
I'm on my last box.
There are no words to describe my feelings at this time. 26 years. And now it's over. It was that. And now it's not. It's new and it's this. Me and my house without all the boxes.
My bedroom was the last room to clear. My living room and kitchen have been cleared for at least two years. But my bedroom was the main dumping ground. The trash heap. You can translate that as to the value I gave myself. Less than the garbage because I was underneath all those piles. My bedroom was a place I didn't want to be. No room for me. No peace. No order. Overwhelming. Gross. Nothing pretty.
The bedroom is clear now. The floor (even under the bed!) is empty, clear, peaceful. I can walk about. The light teases in through the drapes and lands on a smoothly made bed with a quilt spread I really like. The shelf is arranged nicely with just a few things. I can sit on the bed and just enjoy being with myself and my thoughts. It's a sanctuary now. There's nothing hiding, lost, clogged, undone. I have never had a bedroom like this. Not in 26 years. And not in 45 years, because my childhood bedroom was--well, it was bad too.
I walk around in my bedroom and I almost don't know what to do. What do I do with this material reality? That I manifested! My God, it took me 45 f*king years, but I manifested this b***!!! Ha ha ha! (I'm laughing out loud and crying at the same time, ha ha ha ha.)
Except thankfully I am aware enough that I do know what to do.
Accept it and smile and love it. My dear precious bedroom with absolutely no cracks in it.
I hear the phrase, "You don't need to be fixed, because you were never broken." I do love that phrase.
I also hear all the teachings about how to create and manifest and that you can have whatever you desire with a few simple methods, such as vibrating at a matching energy state for that which you do desire.
So which is it? Go for what I want? Or is everything fine just the way it is?
There's no use pretending that some things don't need changing. There is absolutely some broken and toxic stuff. In our being, in our reality. We don't have to stay there in a prison. We are free. There is a path out of what we suffer from. We can change and become new. And sometimes we really need to change, as soon as possible. Yes.
But it's all precious, as well. Weakness is as precious as strength. The mess is as precious as the order.
Love it all.
And keep going. Take one more step.
Love yourself enough to accept yourself as you are. Love yourself enough to heal and free yourself from any suffering.
My honor to the incredible YOU.
I invite you to share in the comments. What is one 'broken' thing you choose to love now? What is one thing you are ready to take another step in changing?
I was numb.
I made sure I was numb. That's what I wanted.
I stoned myself in as many ways as I knew how so that I wouldn't have to feel. One of my main methods of getting stoned (stoned = effecting emotional numbness and human isolation) was listening to music.
Yes. I put my headphones on. I didn't connect with my children or my husband. I turned up the volume. And I listened for hours at a time. Looking back, the unrelenting pain and distress was always there, boiling, hurting me. But I pretended they weren't. I could pretend for as long as the music was playing. I could get a drip of euphoria from the music. I had to take the edge off. It was a massive edge . . .
Hours of music? Yes. That's how long it took to numb that much pain. It was a big job.
I didn't connect with myself.
I still wasn't acknowledging how sick I was. I was still condemning myself for the condition of myself and my life. I thought I should know what to do and be able to do it. (All by myself, of course.)
I was trying to go around, over, under the pain. I was trying to run in the opposite direction.
I thought in order to be "good" or "worthy" or even "alive", I had to be "painless". That pain turned me into the wrong. I was wrong.
I was not able to heal, I was not able to be free--until I went through
the pain.I allowed.
When I started taking committed steps to my recovery, I actually did this constantly throughout the day. I allowed the pain to arise and come over me. Oh God.
I allowed it to move, to be, to show me. I allowed it to bring me to my knees, to make me cry, to hurt as much as it needed to hurt. When a memory arose, laden with overwhelming emotion, I let it play out instead of stuffing it back in to the body. I no longer tried to put a binder on my pain or hurry over to happiness (or as I thought--whatever the addiction drip was). I stopped choosing numbness. Without numbness, there was not peace (at first). There was a greater hell waiting for me.
I allowed myself to feel.
"My heart hurts! My heart hurts!" I used to chant out loud, for most of the day.
"Oh heavenly Father, please help me!" Another chant that escaped my lips hundreds of times a day. Another one (one I still use): "Breathe, Jenni, Breathe!"
How long did this last? Years. Years of a million of these prayers: "Oh heavenly Father, please help me!" My children got used to a mother that was always chanting under her breath while doing everything else in the day.
In addition to the challenge of allowing pain, there was also an underlying sense of relief at being able to acknowledge myself as I was. There was the relief of telling the truth and letting myself be. Of letting all the pain speak all the things it had to say. Of it saying hello and then good-bye in release.
Eventually came quieter days. There came the moments when something like happiness actually showed up at my door. A real smile connected to my real body.
Hmmmm. Well, what's this?
Maybe you'll be surprised and maybe you won't.
I had to numb it. At first. Push it away. Not this.
Happiness? What the hell? Now? After all this time? Wow, I felt really betrayed by happiness. For taking so long and then showing up quite unannounced and uninvited.
But being a more aware person by that point, it didn't take long for me to choose again.
You're allowed. Welcome. Come on in. As you wish. Here I am.
Even now, I do this work. Lately, I've really been noticing that I try to transform my unwanted (up to now) emotions into something else. If I feel bad, I try to meditate that out of me, right?
I can do that. I do have a choice.
But lately, I've been trying something new. I've been allowing some more.
Sad? You can be sad, Jenni. It's okay.
Worried? (People say worry is a waste of life!) Well, if you need to worry, Jenni, go ahead. I'm here. Worry.
Totally jazzed because my kitchen is clean today? I don't stamp that down because 'people' (who the heck are these 'people'?) don't get jazzed about a clean kitchen. Jenni, it's okay. Dance in the kitchen because you are the bomb for cleaning it!!
= = = = = = = = =
Emotional ability includes the willingness and ability to recognize, name, and allow our emotions.
A healed person doesn't mean that we have "fixed' ourselves to not experience a certain spectrum of emotion, whether the 'bad' (so-called) or the 'good' (so-called). I've even stopped using the adjectives "negative" and "positive".
Our emotions simply are the flavor of being alive. It's all beautiful. It's all an opportunity.
Recognize that if given emotions aren't allowed, we might have actually put a more acceptable emotional layer on top. Sometimes I call these primary and secondary emotions (although, heaven help us, there could very well be thirdly and fourthly emotions!). Usually our primary emotion is either fear or hurt. We put anger or judgment or people pleasing or numbness on top. Fear and hurt not allowed here. However, sometimes anger is what is not allowed, so we pretend to some sadness or a general malaise. Anger allowed here.
But the emotion for many of us that is least allowed is--happiness. If I can't be happy starting now and perfectly forever, then I won't be happy in any moment. Not allowed. Not for you. (Underlying story: I'm worthless. Also THIS.)
If you've never SPOKEN your emotions to your self, then this is one of the first passages to healing. No one ever healed with a body bottled up with unnamed, unmet emotions.
Let them be loud, long. Give them space, time. Give them acknowledgement, a name, a realization, a story, notice the location(s) in your body. Look at them. Let them move out instead of shoving them back in.
Embrace and hold yourself.
And chant under your breath.
I invite you to share in the comments. What are you really feeling right now?
Emotions are induced. That is, given emotion(s) arise from given stimulus. Or another word for stimulus is trigger. There is no emotion independent from stimulus.
Sometimes, we proactively design our stimulus and therefore our emotional state. For example, we may have a favorite habit of turning on calming music to induce a state of calm within us.
Other times, emotions arise at prolific and unpredictable triggers that are simply a part of life. Someone cuts us off in traffic, voila an emotion is induced.
While non-human things can provide emotional triggers (the smell of apple pie reminds us of Grandma and we smile), often the more challenging emotional situations involve other human beings. These other emotional beings.
"You make me so angry," we say. What we really mean is, "I have a set of beliefs that instruct me how to emotionally react when this particular behavior on another's part is acted out in my presence."
Is that other person responsible for your set of beliefs and your instructions? No. If so, we would be prisoners, at the whim of whatever inducement others wanted to effect in us.
Rather, we are free. Allow no one! to induce your emotional state except you. Keep the responsibility for your emotional state 100 percent within you. Don't give that kind of (massive) power away to other (likely unworthy) beings who probably do not have your welfare in mind (because they are lost in their own triggers and reactions; we've all been there).
If another human being seems to induce an emotional state in us (reaction), it is because we haven't taken the time to examine our beliefs (operating instructions). We are likely still operating from childhood models and training about what emotion goes where for what reason.
We have to shine the light of awareness on our own reactions. We are free to design a proactive response. A response that includes the emotional state we wish to maintain or enter due to a given stimulus, or in spite of a given stimulus. Then we practice that response, a little at a time (patience!), until it becomes our new reaction.
I invite you to share in the comments. Has there been a time when you deliberately designed a (new) response to a trigger in your life, and how did that bless you?
"I am soooooo blessed."
I've been saying that a lot lately. Thinking it.
When the thought comes, a warm nectar of security moves from the top of my head down to the tip of my toes. Everything is all right.
It's relatively new that I became willing and took the practice of thinking that. A year at most. Like most new thoughts, I wasn't convinced by it at first. But I remained open and let it in. And now my body likes this thought so much, it introduces it several times a day. Getting addicted even, ha ha.
I lay down at night to it. I wake up in the morning to it. I'm very blessed. It doesn't mean my life is perfect. I still have challenges, even some I have no idea how to handle. But I am equally or more so also surrounded by gifts, supports, helpers, delights.
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I want to share with you today how thoughts and emotions are connected. (This is part of the Emotional Ability Series.)
When you think a thought, there is a corresponding emotion. Try it. Is there any thought that doesn't also have a feeling or contribute to a given experience state of your body, mind, life?
Not all emotions have thoughts, but all thoughts induce emotions and/or states.
The good news is that your thoughts do not know anything independently. Your thoughts cannot tell you the truth. Thoughts can only 'speak' what they were instructed to offer. And the programming and directing 'thought offerings' is from our own responsible selves. Thoughts are infinitely malleable--by us. Me.
When you traverse the journey toward emotional ability, it will necessarily include an increasing ability in thought as well.
Learn to select the thoughts you wish to have. Learn to assign the emotion and state that you wish to have associated with a given thought statement.
Be patient. Don't condemn yourself for 'out of order' thoughts. (Never condemn yourself for any reason, ok?) Simply let your thoughts flow--in (hello) and out (good-bye!). Find and hear the thoughts you choose and nourish them over time.
If your thoughts are particularly challenging to you, then look for a thought teacher. Because I don't want to say that changing and elevating your thoughts is just 'do it' easy and simple. Your thought life might be hard and complex for you. It kind of is for me. Baby steps.
Teach your thoughts that they have emotional options. You may want to sit silently and induce a given state even for a few seconds so that your body knows what you mean (if it hasn't felt that way a lot and is not familiar). Then as you feel the emotion, give it a lovely thought statement that you like. I'm very, very blessed.
By the way, you don't always have to be cheerful or be in a constant state of 'positive thinking'. But when you feel sad (for example), select the thoughts you want to experience in connection with your sadness. (You aren't required to allow past thought modeling and training to bind you in the present.) I used to try to repress sadness and act like it wasn't happening. I thought my religion necessitated this. That if I had faith and gratitude, et cetera, then I wouldn't be feeling sad. I would think, "How can get happy and out of this sadness?" with a side order of, "You got it all wrong, Jenn. You messed up. Because if you hadn't, you'd be happy right now."
I recently replaced all that. Why? Because I wanted to. I wanted to think something else, and I want to feel sad when I need to. Now when I feel sad, I let it all come through and feel it all. I cry. (Kinda having a whole week like that right now . . . I'm so blessed. My sadness blesses me.) And my thought that I have now associated with sadness is, "There, there, honey. That's right. It is sad. I'm here." (I'll let you use this one, too, if you like it.)
That's just one example, using sadness. What about your anger, your excitement, your fear, and more? Have you proactively designed the thoughts you will think in connection with these? What emotions aren't you feeling as much as you'd like, and what thoughts could you install to make those emotions more likely, make room for them? What emotions would you rather not be overwhelmed by, and is there a thought selection that can help ease that?
I invite you to share in the comments. What new thought would you like to have and what emotion do you choose to associate it with?
Beliefs are programs. They are energetic installations in our body (mind-body) that hold instructions for the unfolding of our life, our experience. Our thoughts, emotions, behavior, manifestations, and more all operate and arise from the beliefs that we hold. Indeed, we are constructed from beliefs, because there is no portion of our body that is program-less. Our experience is a direct result of our beliefs (i.e. our experience is programmed). Paradigm is core or fundamental beliefs that describe the world and cosmos we live in, our view of ourselves, and our view of other human beings.
Our beliefs provide us with instructions and template for our emotional behavior and experience.
For example, we have some 'if-then' beliefs. "If [THIS] happens, then [THIS] emotion arises." 'If-then' is about stimulus, or triggers. Emotions arise in response to stimulus or triggers (the 'if [THIS]'). Given emotions arise in response to given triggers due to how we were trained or had modeled to us our emotional options.
When I was a teenager and looked forward to being a mother, I imagined how I would act if one of my children dropped and broke a plate. I imagined I would be patient and comfort them and help them realize it was no problem. When I became a young mother, this is not what happened. I was a very angry young mother (due to a variety of factors). When my children dropped things, my reaction was horrible. So my belief was not the first--that was just my wish or opinion. My belief is what I was actually operating from.
In my case, the anger situation was complex and had complex roots. And you are complex also. Even though I am explaining things as if one belief gives rise to one behavior (in this case, emotional behavior), really there are nets and webs of (interconnected) beliefs. Your cellular structure is also programming. So many things may come into play that result in the feelings or emotional experience we end up having in given circumstances (stimulus).
In addition to 'if-then' beliefs, we also have instructions and parameters for what we are allowed to feel, our options for showing and expressing feelings, our sense of what is right/wrong, okay/not okay, whether or not we are responsible for our emotions, and many other considerations relating to our emotions. For example, if we feel fear, what do your beliefs provide as options or as the preferred option for expression? Do you also feel guilt or personal condemnation when you feel fear (i.e. it's not okay to feel fear)?
Examining and healing our beliefs regarding emotions is a process that takes time and therefore patience, as well as that sense of humor I wrote about in an earlier post.
Let's use the example of a feeling of happiness. If you are suffering, likely you do not feel happiness or not very often, and it doesn't stay. Let's assume that (thus far) you have accepted personal responsibility for your experience of happiness, are willing, have gathered some courage, and have considered body energy issues.
Now you are ready to consider your beliefs. Here are some questions to ask yourself. You may want to journal the answers or exploration.
What models have I had for happiness--mother, father, media, religious culture, etc.?
Am I allowed to experience happiness 'at all'? Why or why not?
When is it appropriate for me to experience happiness (under what stimulus)? When is it not appropriate?
Where did I get that template for appropriateness? Is it serving me?
When was the last time I felt happiness? What was the stimulus?
When I do feel happy, am I free to express it? What are my expression options?
When I feel and/or express happiness, what are the consequences?
Am I willing to accept (install) simply waking up every morning as a free and open stimulus opportunity for happiness?
There are, I'm sure, many more questions you could ask yourself, but these will get you started. You will realize that your emotional templates are much more designed than you may have thought they were. Thinking and writing about these questions will, at least, open your awareness. While some beliefs are a little tricky and rooted deep, some beliefs may release and new ones install simply from becoming aware that you do have some options. You don't have to be bound by your old emotional templates that you inherited from your family or that you constructed over time from challenging personal experience. It's time for spring cleaning for your beliefs. Find new models of what other healed persons are believing regarding their emotions, and follow their wisdom and work.
I invite you to share in the comments. After reading this post, did an old emotional belief that no longer serves you come to your awareness? What can be your new model?
In seeking emotional ability, it is important to never lose sight of the reality that emotions and emotional experience arise from and are located within the body. Our body (which is a structure of energy) generates our (life) experience.
So if you desire emotional ability, begin by preparing your body.
The first principle I teach in the Body Recovery Library is that your intelligent body will not allow you to act beyond the fuel it has available. This also applies specifically to emotions (which are acts). (An act is any application upon and/or with energy.)
In order to have emotional ability, there must be enough fuel in order to generate emotions. There must be requirements met for the manufacture of emotions. Emotions are body chemicals.
For example, if you wish to experience a basic sense of happiness--do you have enough fuel to do that (i.e. eating massive, quality food)? Have you provided your body with magnesium and B vitamins, which are necessary for this sensation?
Another important body preparation is to teach or allow your body to be in a state of presence and rest. Part of presence and rest is to heal your adrenal glands.
Another important body preparation is to love, pay attention to, nourish, and detox your liver (which governs the body). A toxic or otherwise unhealed liver contributes to emotional states such as chronic anger and chronic confusion (indecisiveness).
And how about sleep? Yes. I'm a different emotional person when I've had enough sleep than when I'm deprived.
It's important to understand emotions as mainly a body energy consideration, rather than one of personal character. Personal character is essential as well, but often it cannot overcome body energy deficiencies when it comes to emotional experience.
Begin with your body.
I invite you to share in the comments. Have you noticed any time when you have done some self care for your body that has changed the way you feel emotionally?