Emotional Intelligence

I experienced an emotional catharsis yesterday morning that has lead to some interesting reflections and social media dialogue. Where it came from is inconsequential but the expression of the pain really had me present to how alone I feel in my emotions, how I trust very few people to hold the space for my pain, to support me in a way that really works for me.

I thought about what I wanted. And how I could communicate that. I did some writing and some relevant and timely posts came up on Facebook that I reposted, sharing a bit of what I was experiencing which started an interesting conversation. What follows is some of that, as well as a response to a question a friend asked me. I’ve edited it to make it more clear and expand a bit on what I meant.

When I’m having a big emotion, a difficult, painful feeling, I usually feel most comfortable being alone. I’d love to be able to share this stuff more and to feel supported not just in principle but in a way that feels fulfilling, like I’ve really been gotten, understood.

How people typically deal with difficult and painful emotions is often with a response that leaves me feeling pitied, ugh! And we have a terrible compulsion to console. I DO NOT WANT TO BE CONSOLED or PITIED! I’m sure it’s stuff I’ve done to others in response to big emotions but I’m looking at it from what do I really want when I’m upset? And maybe I can start doing that more for others.

I want the strength and courage it takes to express and release this emotion to be acknowledged and I would love to find more people who I trust to hold the space for me to do that. Is that too much to ask?

From Facebook

For me, expressing the pain that came up for me this morning was about honouring an emotion that emerged. It’s taken me years to move from being numb to emotionally reactive (simply reacting to emotions), to emotionally aware (being aware of how I’m feeling-still working on this one!) to being emotionally responsive, where I can choose how I respond to emotions that come up, especially if I feel safe to express it and let it go. I’ve been getting better at being aware and letting go, it’s an ongoing journey. But that’s just me, on my own, dealing with my own stuff in the safety of my own holding and self love. I want to be able to share these emotions, yet often when I’m around others, I suppress them. I want to feel safe asking for support. That feels unrealistic and fleeting.

We seem to be so focused on being ‘positive’ that we eschew the real raw emotional stuff that comes up and tend to come back with things like 1) “It’s going to be ok.” (Said it myself to others heaps) and I’m not in doubt of that at all, and 2) generally trying to make our friends ‘feel better’ to avoid our own discomfort with big feelings.

I want to be acknowledged for the courage it takes to feel the pain openly, and to feel like it’s ok to express it, to honour it fully. I look forward to the day when our society is more emotionally open and intelligent. Until then, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and honouring my feelings in the best way I can and asking those around me to work with me on creating safety to express stuff as it arises.

I hope this is coherent. If I let my perfectionist self take over, I’d totally rework it and drastically diminish the changes of this being published. So here you go, imperfect as it is.

Day 19: Why do we do what we do?

This morning I woke up to the dogs alerting me to someone at the door. It was my neighbor with my chooks in hand, upside down, by the feet. They seemed quite relaxed, so much so that I thought they were dead at first. I don’t know how they got into their yard. “They were eating my vegetables” he said. I responded “I’m so sorry!” I took them from him, and took them back to their fenced area.

I inspected the fence and found part they may have gotten through but there were already bricks on the other side. He wasn’t taking any chances they’d get in through a second time. The chooks are part of the reason I don’t have veggie garden this year. And after the historic heatwave last week, I’m glad I don’t have one. (Never thought I’d say that!)

I’m also aware of a significant amount of shame I have for not ‘controlling’ my animals. In my ideal world we have no fences and animals roam as they please, no leashes, no boundaries. I didn’t say it was practical, just ideal. Until then, the shame is likely to be present.

Today I sent off two invoices that are drastically overdue, one eleven days after seeing the clients and one nine days after the event. What prevents me from sending out invoices? It’s not a priority, doesn’t seem as important. I know it will go out eventually. Money isn’t the main reason I do my work. Not a reason to get down on myself, but clearly something else at play. Self worth? Not sure, probably in some form. I’m so ready to let go of that shit!

Why do we do what we do? Why do I go to an event where I know quite a few people but subconsciousfeel most comfortable talking to people I met at the same event two years earlier, for most of the first hour I’m there and then the second hour letting go of my social awkwardness to connect with new people and others I’ve seen before, even a friend I haven’t seen in five years!

I hope the hypnotherapy course in February gets me closer to understanding or getting access to understanding the subconscious world at play that has us do what we do despite what we want to do, ought to do or really could do if we didn’t have our own shit in the way.



Day 17: Fourth Forty plus day

Fascinating that the day before my period the universe delivers three separate things to evoke difficult emotions. TMI? Deal with it, I’m feeling fierce now that that I’m bleeding. Grrrr!

Thankfully the cool change has come so I’m starting to cool down but also feeling pretty spent. Four days of forty plus weather is enough.

When I posted this image of the thermometer out back of my place I got a response from a 2014-01-17 16.17.05Canadian friend encouraging me to take care. What else can you do when it’s this hot? It’s a big imperative to take care of yourself, don’t over do it, that’s just a given. It’s a good point tho that this weather really inspires us to be gentle with ourselves, to take care of the things that are important to us (house, pets, garden…) And to help eachother while keeping our own needs at the top of the list. I’m no good to my fur babies and feathers or (human) friends if I’ve got heat stroke.

There was one point today where I found myself feeling drained. I closed the lid on my laptop and just lay on the ground, resting and kept myself cool. My menstrual cycle often really takes it out of me, and helps me remember to take care of myself, and of course honour my emotions. And so, I’m going to bed now.

Day 12 : Mothering myself

Note to Self: Airplane mode on the mobile doesn’t mean the land line won’t ring during meditation. And doesn’t guarantee the saw used in the renos next door won’t add to the challenge of focusing during meditation. And just because a meditation doesn’t have peaceful circumstances, doesn’t mean you won’t have a sweet self loving mental embrace at the end of your meditation. Keep it up regardless of the circumstances.

Yesterday I noticed myself feeling a bit unsettled as I prepared to head out for the evening. It felt a bit like my body was trying to tell me something. I paused for a moment to check in with myself. It didn’t result in anything that helped me understand where the feeling was coming from or what to pay attention to in the time I gave it.

I noticed it come up again when I was looking out for my friend at the event we were going to. A bit of anxiousness, she’d never been there before, she isn’t from here, all the things that contribute to a mild worry. She arrived and it was all good.

When I was on my way home this feeling brought to mind a technique a friend told me about years ago. It was the kind of thing that struck me so intensely that I can still remember where I was when he told me. We were talking about dealing with being upset or having emotions that may respond well to being nurtured.mother child haring

It’s a simple self soothing technique that I have used a fair bit since then, and want to share it with you. It also feels timely given what’s happening astrologically, based on what I heard in Tom Lesher’s recent report. Emotions are expected to be a bit intense this week.

So here’s the thing, it’s very simple, the trick is to be mindful of it when you’re feeling upset. Imagine yourself being held by a mother figure, if your own mother doesn’t do it for you, imagine a universal mother, or the mother aspect of yourself. Conjure any maternal type entity that you can imagine is unconditionally loving and know that her sole purpose in this moment is to hold the space for you to feel what you’re feeling and be loving and nurturing. Imagine being small and held gently and securely in her arms. Imagine receiving the love and care from this being or aspect of yourself and just allow yourself to be with what you feel, that you have permission to simply be exactly how you are in this moment. Give yourself to this fully and when it feels time or occurs naturally, allow it to pass and know that everything is ok. You’re ok, the world is ok and you have nothing to worry about in this moment. Savor it!

Simple, yes. I didn’t say it was easy. When you’re in the thick of an emotional upset this may be the furthest thing from what you can imagine. It may help to go through the process in your mind a few times when you’re not upset and give some neural pathways a chance to form, so there is a better chance of having it come to mind when you are wanting to self soothe in a healthy way. Chocolate, alcohol, tobacco, being busy, retail therapy, these have all been what I’d turn to in the past, and some, I still use on occasion. But thankfully this technique is increasingly useful to me the more I use it. It allows me to be self loving in the most amazing way.

Day 10 : Pretense and Duality

Day nine already! Wow. Kiteboarding didn’t go ahead today, not the right wind conditions. Postponed to next Friday. Gives me a chance to do more of the prep I thought about doing and did a small fraction of. I did a fair bit of stretching this morning. Would have been fine but now I have more time to be more active to be really ready to ride the thermals and minimise the impact on this ageing body. I know, age is no excuse.

This afternoon I noticed feeling annoyed and frustrated. The “I love myself” mantra came to mind. Then I realised I was using it to squash the feeling. I brought myself back to the feeling, and gave myself permission to just feel it. It became a bit clearer, and discovered some anger underneath. Soon I found myself repeating the mantra to myself again. Was I trying to self-sooth or escape or both? I was driving so wasn’t totally focused on my internal processing. It felt important to honour the feeling and allow it to be, as much as I could while driving anyway!

Being objective is also a bit tricky, and I’m starting letting go of the need for things to be one or the other. After doing some DeMartini work I can see that everything has a multiplicity of qualities and nothing is black and white. As much as I tend to want to be creating opportunity for growth in an uplifting way, I also value the challenging stuff. Tho it may not be pleasant to experience, I can see the bigger picture and importance of learning though adversity.

It doesn’t change the fact that in our dualistic culture we like to put things into boxes of ‘good or bad’, ‘right or wrong’, ‘male or female’, ‘gay or straight’, ‘monogamous or polyamorous’. The dualism is breaking down, thankfully, yet we have plenty of collective learning to do in embracing the complexity.

One of the big things for me in the self love challenge is to allow for all the stuff in the middle as much as I want to embody and be and be identified with the ‘good’ stuff. I tend to live in the middle of that list of dualities which can be great for authenticity but has me feeling far outside the ‘norm’ at times. As I get older I care less and less about that and am determined to help bring awareness to the middle ground. I tend to be all about the ‘both and’, not so much the ‘either or’.Authenticity Ducky

At times it feels like my life is full of pretense, in that I want it to appear ‘good’. When in fact there is a whole range of stuff that I am less inclined to be public (or blog) about. As I move through the stages of this self loving journey, I can feel the softening of the edges. Getting more real, more authentic and yes, more vulnerable. All of that is self loving. Pretense can also be about ambition, of course aspiring to be more self loving!

I can see the internal and external duality and it’s interplay. What happens internally, when I am activating the ‘self loving’ mentality, influences the expression, and the action. Even though I was using the “I love myself” mantra to counter my ‘bad’ feeling as I stepped into that way of being, I actually started to feel better!


Day Three: Onions

For the second day, as soon as I woke up, I started the “I love myself” mantra. I was sleepy and wasn’t feeling it so much but at least I was doing it. I’ve given myself permission to repeat it in my head without really feel it, better to get into the habit of just doing it and bring feeling in when it’s present and real.

Tho, as much as I’ve not been a fan in the past, I do think there’s something to be said for “fake it till you make it”. Yesterday my housemate told me she was moving out. We’ve lived together for nearly three years, and she’s a big part of my life, she feels very much like a sister. I understand why she’s leaving but there’s some grief for me. Soon after, making dinner, I was chopping onion.sad onion Tears came, and tho it was onion induced, I actually felt real sadness. Chopping the onion helped me connect to the sadness I hadn’t allowed myself to feel, by inducing the tears. I recommend it, if you’re not releasing the tears you know are there, chop some onions!

The other thing I noticed yesterday is that it’s really easy to do this self loving thing when I’m on my own. And I do enjoy spending time on my own. However, when I’m with someone else, my focus is there, not on the “I love myself” mantra. And maybe that’s ok too.

Also see this post on the Love Warrior Community Blog Challenge Site