Unnamed Emotions

Yesterday I was driving along Bell St to Fairfield. I saw a group of people with a banner and a painted wheely bin, a few people were holding signs and wearing t-shirts with the cause or statement written on them. I strained to see what it was about. I saw the words Manus and Mining. I think they were making a link between concessions made to get Adani mining in Australia, while we treat detainees in Manus in a subhuman way.

Image taken from media: Protesters from the Refugee Action Coalition hold placards during a demonstration outside the offices of the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Sydney, Australia, April 29, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray

I tooted my horn in support. I waved and did the ‘thumbs up’. A couple of them waved back. One person looked at me in disgust, anticipating that I wasn’t in support of their actions. Once he realised, I could see his face change, I was relieved to see he understood I was with him.

The interaction left me emotional. A sudden rush of emotion filled my body. I wanted to weep, instead of trying to understand it, and figure out if I was just proud or maybe feeling guilty for not joining them, I let my emotion be. As the second wave came a few moments later, I struggled to stay in what felt like a weird combination of pride and pain. I got curious about the wisdom it had to offer.

They were expressing their dissatisfaction about government actions by literally taking to the streets. Good on them! In response I felt the pain, I also felt proud of them. I felt the pain of all the people who are pissed off that our government is putting peoples lives in danger and letting dubious companies come extract minerals from our land. It’s infuriating. And as I gave myself permission yesterday, I felt the feeling. I felt the pride and pain in the same emotion.

Our language for emotions is pretty limited, and to describe the feeling isn’t an easy one. But it feels important to try. It feels important to name it however awkwardly, and imperfectly. Have you ever experienced that? Where you struggle to name what you felt? I’m curious if it’s similar or different to my experience.


This post is 24 in 45 posts for 45 years.

Head or Heart?

For years we’re conditioned to trust only our head and distrust our feelings and emotions. “Don’t be so emotional.” “Don’t let your feelings get in the way.” However, we’re also told to follow our hearts. In relationships and even careers. “Do what you love.” “Find someone you can really love.”

Does the head inform the heart or does the heart inform the head? Does heart intelligence have greater meaning? Does using our head make us smarter? I like to think there are many ways of knowing and understanding our inner and outer worlds. Sometimes it feels like just using our head or just using our heart doesn’t utilise the intelligences we have available to us.

Cultivating multiple intelligences and using what our heart knows, our head knows, as well as what our gut knows and what our body knows, to me this is wisdom. I don’t always get an obvious signal from more than one and it can take a more inquisitive approach to dig deeper into what’s really going on under that gut sense or heart flutter, or that recurring image that comes to mind, defying coincidence. But I’ve learned to get curious and pay attention to the messages I get from the different ways of knowing.

I find that the more I can stay open and be curious, the more wise choices I seem to make. I no longer feel the need to decide between head and heart, or even what my body seems to want or my gut sense is. Sometimes when it’s less than obvious it can take time, but the more I focus on and inquire into what’s really going on, I feel more informed by the variety of ways to know what there is to know.

This is day 4 in 45 posts for 45 years.