Emotion is as natural for humans as breathing.
I don’t make my breathing right or wrong, so why do it with my emotions?
It’s been an interesting week; I have spent more time than I care to remember in my swamp. By swamp I mean a sticky, tangled, mess of uncomfortable emotions within myself. I don’t like my emotional swamp much – a lot of what I experience in the swamp sucks – it hurts. And then I add to my pain by judging myself for feeling this sticky, yucky crap in the first place. I would love to avoid my swamp.
Isn’t life supposed to turn into bliss and pure joy when I open up to more consciousness? Have I failed because I still get triggered after all these years of mindful awareness training? Am I doing this consciousness thing wrong if I still get pissed and sad and scared?
But, wait a minute! All humans emote about their experiences – even beings as aware as Gandhi and Jesus felt emotions. Our bodies are wired to flow with emotion. Emotion is as natural for humans as breathing. I don’t make my breathing right or wrong, so why do it with my emotions?
Every experience I have can trigger emotional reactions, not just the yummy experiences. Where did I get the idea that becoming conscious meant never being triggered, never feeling “yucky” emotions? Isn’t that just a really sneaky way to judge myself and find myself lacking? Just what I need – another way to beat myself up and make myself bad or wrong. NOT!
And what if being more aware in each moment elicits even more emotion within me? All those sensations about this moment that I used to block or ignore are now available to me in my new state of awareness. What if those sensations trigger MORE emotions as I respond to all the new information I am now aware of? Is that somehow wrong?
And isn’t it just another form of judgment to label emotions good or bad, acceptable or repulsive? How is it going to help me to label my emotions as OK and not OK? Can I let go of the idea that some human emotions are a sign of unconsciousness or inferiority?
We are emotional creatures. Trying to stop emotion is like trying to halt the flow of water. Can I allow my emotions to flow without stuffing them? And can I stop judging myself right or wrong for feeling the way I feel in each moment?
What happens if I embrace it all – my grief, my anger, my fear? Can I allow my emotions to be waves washing through me? What happens if I embrace ALL of me – even the parts I don’t like – in every moment?
“It’s not that you won’t be triggered anymore.
It’s that you won’t have a problem being triggered anymore.”
Rules for Trees
1. No holding branches
2. No touching roots.
3. No losing your leaves
4. Keep your tree straight.
Dana Scharein Dague
The trees are like the hair of the world.
The city is like the heart of the world.
The wind is a flute player
playing in the night…
Both poems are from the book Salting the Ocean; 100 Poems by Young Poets. All of the poems in Salting the Ocean were written by kids in grades 1-12.
4am – I wake up to a strange sound… can it be? Yes, it’s raining here! Finally. After a brief stint at the window with Dog Goddess Brigit – the smell of wet pine trees is AMAZING (!) – I return to bed and the land of nod.
7am – I prepare to go on Dawn Joy Patrol. My mission? To Hunt down Joy wherever it may be hiding… But first – what do I wear for this special mission??!
7:30am – After a brief descent into angst and indecision, I have chosen an outfit for Joy Patrol! It consists of groovy, yet functional Safari pants (may be rough out there) and a Bedazzled T-shirt. Oh yes, and a silly grin must be part of every Joy uniform 🙂
8am – My ADD gerbil brain flashes on a photo I found weeks ago of my brother and I reporting for Joy Patrol duty. Today’s Joy Patrol mission is happily sidetracked for 10 minutes while I locate the photo in question. LOL – We were such happy young whippersnappers! Apparently John and I already knew the value of wearing silly glasses and grinning like fiends when you are hunting for joy…
8:15am – Hubby David and I rendezvous at Amante Coffee in north Boulder for provisions. My Soy Bhakti and Brego are exquisite. Hooray for joyful tastebuds!
However, I find the hip Amante crowd to be super serious and unsmiling. When David dares me to whistle, and I comply with a short rendition of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” – people are not amused. The Amante crowd actually appears to be questioning my sanity. Such is the price one pays as a bona fide member of the Joy Patrol. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make…
8:45am – I leave Amante and head out to hunt for joy on a walk with Dog Goddess Brigit. Our search for Dog Joy is stalled by several streets to nowhere and roadblocks (a common occurrence when on the road to Joy):
9am – Brigit and I finally arrive at Wonderland Lake in north Boulder. Despite the rain, Dog Goddess Brigit is quite happy to report for Joy Patrol this morning.
10am Brigit’s full Joy Patrol report is illegible – it must be hard to type with wet paws. Luckily I am here, ready and willing to translate for the Dog Goddess!
The gist of Brigit’s report is as follows: Yucky part of Dog Joy Patrol in the rain? Drippy nose and ears. Favorite part? Stinky MUD everywhere!!!
My report on the dog joy portion of Dawn Joy Patrol? A picture is worth a thousand words…
(No joke… that is really the name of the lake)
Next stop on my personal Joy Patrol? Who can say? I happily go wherever Joy has been rumored to be hiding. Stay tuned…
“The temple bell stops
but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.”
Flowers whisper in the wood
all hope and possibility.
Flowers sing to me,
heart knows the melody.
Flowers smile at me
holy spirit lights each face.
Flowers bloom pure joy
asking, will I join in?