Day 78/79 – I am not my emotions.
I don’t know about you, but I take my emotions VERY PERSONALLY…
I’m a wonderful person when I’m up.
I’m a terrible person when I’m down.
I’m a wonderful person when I’m calm and peaceful.
I’m a terrible person when I’m angry.
I’m a wonderful person when I’m helpful and giving to others.
I’m a terrible person when I’m selfish and mean.
I’m wonderful, I’m terrible. I’m wonderful, I’m terrible. Up and down. Round and round. The circle of life and emotions.
When did I learn to take things so personally? Was it when I was told as a child that if I was good and didn’t make a fuss I’d get a treat of candy or toys? Was it when I was told as a child to stop kicking and screaming or everyone would think I was a ‘horrible little girl’?
Who’s to say? But somewhere down the line I’ve put two and two together and ended up with five. It’s amazing the things you’ll believe when you’re a kid.
Why do we have to be so judgemental of ourselves? Why do we have to make a decision about who we are as a person depending on the emotions that arise in us on a certain day? Nothing is so black and white – that’s why there’s a spectrum of color. Emotions rise up for different reasons: external factors, learnt behavior, the stories we tell ourselves in our minds about what we believe is ‘reality’.
I found out today that the emotions I live by the most is fear. Fair enough. Simple realization until that realization immediately manifested itself in the form of a scorpion running up behind my zafu to sting me on the leg. My chest suddenly constricted and I found it hard to breathe. I even had to open my eyes to ‘make sure’ that there was no scorpion behind me. Only then could I sit back, close my eyes and recognize the strength and power my emotions have over my thoughts and body. That was the real eye opener.
I also connected with the fact that I have an aversion to negative feelings and a desire to constantly feel good. Sitting for 30 minutes 5 times today really brought up the juice of practice, especially because I was feeling generally low and couldn’t escape the gnawing anxiety that was hiding behind my smile!
The most important thing I learned from today’s audio retreat was that it’s much easier to sit back, observe emotions and realize that they do not define you, than I would have believed. I felt overpowering calm when I stopped identifying myself with what I was feeling. I felt low and anxious, but I also felt at peace and at home in my body not having to judge the emotional state I was in.
I don’t know if I’ll feel this calm and at peace tomorrow when I get back in my car to get to work in the morning and loony drivers cut me off, but hopefully some residual memory of the feeling of sitting back in myself and watching my emotions will remain.
If that doesn’t happen then there’ll always be a cushion waiting for me at home. That’s all I can do – take a seat, observe, label and identify that I’m only as much my emotions as I let yourself be.