It’s not our emotions to a specific event that hook us, so go ahead and feel them.

A client of mine recently shared her reluctance to feel her emotions because she is afraid she won’t be able to pull herself out of them.

But what we get hooked on is the emotions around the story that follows.

The primary emotion around the actual honest event – which doesn’t have an addictive quality but rather a healing one – then gets stuck; it has nowhere to move but into our tissues and our energy centers, blocking the natural flow and creating dis-ease. We then replay the stories, which aren’t events at all. We replay them, experiencing the secondary, addictive emotions over and over again. We hook ourselves and others with those stories, creating the perfect drama to craft our false identities and stories of the world around us.

A child gets hit by another child for a toy. It hurts. She cries literally until it stops hurting. It’s not long actually, if you’ve ever witnessed this on a playground. When she’s done, the two children often go back to playing together, and the incident is over; all is forgiven.

Then one day, when the child gets old enough, she stops crying when she gets hit, but she still hurts. She builds an elaborate story of name-calling, blame, shame, and justification around it, and she begins to carry the weight that comes with imposing a somewhat permanent quality on the other person as well as about herself and the world around her, guaranteed to impact how she experiences future events with the continuous replay of her imagined past “truths”.

We do it all day. And we pass this sort of storytelling on to our children. Let’s break this cycle, for ourselves and for them.

So instead, go ahead and feel the emotions to the actual event, in real time. This doesn’t mean to react and lash out. It means to feel it through honestly. Stop the storytelling on its tracks. Because then you can move through the hurt, the sadness, the frustrations, and the fear, giving you a real chance at clarity, at relationships with yourself and with others, and at a more joyful life.

Consider how much of you you keep to yourself

Consider how much you don’t share.

And how much that must dictate how you show up and how treat yourself and others.

What’s kept internally for ceaseless rumination grows much worse than the actual truth. In fact, one has to question if those stories are true at all. Consider the level of suffering this might cause.

When you find yourself not approving of, or feeling triggered by, the way others show up, offer them the same consideration. Everyone has a story. Everyone is too afraid to be vulnerable.

Everyone with their own stories in their own head, real communication replaced by assumptive treatment that contains some mixture of bravado, passive aggression, avoidance, and armoring creates a lot of hurt when it’s quite likely we all really truly like each other more than we can ever imagine.

My set-up to conquer lethargy.

I have a deep desire to get out of my own way, act on my plans, and be of service to others…
Unchecked, I will tend towards procrastination through naps, Netflix, nestling in, and noshing. It feels satisfying in the moment, but wow, the existential anxiety, depression, and lethargy that eventually follows. By contrast, I know others with more nervous energies who need to move at all cost until they burn out, and then others who have cultivated strong, seemingly unbreakable habits of disciplined balance and creativity.

Inspired by the latter, I find it essential to set my life up for daily, accountable, and varied connection (meaning, not just one person, one way. I’ve shared the multiple ways below). The quality of connections I set up are key to shifting away from my tendencies to activating the more active and purposeful side of me. They are (or should I say, I am) a work in progress, and the more of these that are in place, the better off I am.

  • I begin every morning with meditation.
  • I surround myself with those that are purposefully active. They are my sources of inspiration and support.
  • I surround myself with those that care about my evolution.
  • I stay away from crab mentality.
  • To me, friends aren’t afraid to call me out, but also they love me. I don’t expect for them to have perfect communication because who does. But I can sort through my own ego because I know they genuinely care about me. I trust them.
  • I am careful how much time I spend with those that aren’t authentic, because it compromises my authenticity.
  • The rest of the list is assuming I am keeping good company. 
  • I let my needs, goals and desires be known. I share what I am working on, what I need, or what I lack in skill or resources. It’s pleasantly surprising who ends up hearing them, how much I can learn, and what comes back to me in support of my overall success. I work on being more coachable.
  • I accept help. This is an incredibly connective act, and it supports mutual elevation. 
  • I find gratitude for who I have in my life. Daily. It doesn’t have to be a daily exhaustive list of everyone. One day I focus on some and on other days, others.
  • I schedule the purposeful connections that keep me accountable: I teach what I want to master, I blog what I want to affirm in my life and through which I can serve, I schedule meetings with conscious and intentional people, and I consider every day how I can be of service to others. If my ego insists on having a self-pity party, I set a timer for that. If I have to involve someone else in it, I make sure I turn on the “I feel” switch instead of the blame, shame, or justification switch.
  • I choose to remember what it feels like not to be doing these things because I have determined that my soul is worth honoring. Egos can be forgetful: they like to remember the feeling-good part of addictive behaviors, forgetting their sequential and guaranteed downward spiral. This memory reminds me of how important it is to stay connected. 
  • I make sure I eat whole, unprocessed foods, and that I eat light meals so that I can remain clear and light.
  • I pre-forgive and post-forgive any future backwards steps because I know they will come.

 

 

In our quest to feel whole again

We shop.
We eat too much chocolate.
We drink.
We do drugs.
We scroll through social media.
We gossip, and we judge.
We control.
We abandon.
We lose or gain too much weight.
We make lots of money.
We renounce money.
We look to friends and lovers to fill the gaping hole.
We seek new ones because the existing ones stop measuring up.
We seek to feel more alive by doing things we wouldn’t do if we actually felt more alive. 

At the end, these only serve to deplete our energy and our self-worth. Only to find out at the end, when we take a good look at what we’ve really got and who we really are, we are already whole. We just didn’t believe it.

Taming the part of you that has been socialized to take you down.

The more practiced we become in conquering ourselves, the easier it becomes to conquer our enslavement to the world’s demands. The easier it becomes to let go the hooks. The clearer we become as the fog lifts. The taller we stand because we’ve conquered.

Life is more on our terms, yet we aren’t demanding. We simply choose through a lens that elevates our self worth and that of others. We start to get what that means, and they take notice. So they dance with you differently. And your reality changes.

My son loves this word: metacognition. It is thinking about your own thinking. Observing your own thoughts. There is someone in you thinking, and someone else in you observing your thoughts. Use metacognition. Let the observer in you catch those circular arguments that the thinker in you sees in such linear terms. Rather than defending their legitimacy, choose to break them like the bad habits that they are and make different choices. Not for the sake of different but for the sake of what is true. 

Rather than second guessing yourself, second guess the constructs that you have accepted long ago.

Become the greatness that you are made of, because you are all that. And when we truly know that, it comes out, not in bravado, but in humility and in radiance.

 

Requisite Variety

I once had a much narrower range of people that I thought I could work, or get along with, even amongst the yogic community. It felt too hard to be around those who: “didn’t get it”, wasn’t on the same page as me, had what seemed to be different thoughts and values as me, chose a different lifestyle, and so on.

And I also thought I wasn’t judgmental.

Eventually, I insulated myself with a small group of friends, and yes it was good. And cozy. And perhaps just what I needed at the time.

But.

Then I opened up my metaphorical doors to see what happened.

This is not to say that I didn’t discriminate. After all, my time is valuable.

It challenged me. Or should I say, it still challenges me.

Opening up those doors asks that I apply my yogic lessons of seeing God in all. It then asks that I express the most authentically honest part of me for that situation or person.

Just because you’re a yogi doesn’t mean you don’t show anger. Just don’t carry it around with you like a broken victim out of control and turn it into your story.
Just because you’re a yogi doesn’t mean you are suppose to transcend sadness and heartbreak. Feel them through.
Just because you’re a yogi doesn’t mean you don’t communicate urgency. Urgency isn’t the same as impatience.
And just because you’re a yogi doesn’t mean you don’t sometimes yell. Because sometimes that gets the job done. Just don’t go down the name-calling, accusing, digging-up-the-past route.

Opening the doors presented me with more mirrors with which to look at myself. It continues to reveal blind spots and nudge me to see where I need to shift my lens, and where I need to evolve. This is not the same as absolving others their responsibility. It means I get to take responsibility for my own experiences in life and grow from them. It means that because of them, I get to experience real connection and joy.

It’s not as comfortable as insulation, but it sure is expansive, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.