The great poet and theologian Rumi, said “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
That’s the gist of Anne Naylor’s post. To find ourselves at an evolutionary point where feelings are neither good nor bad; they just are.
Having feelings and emotions is part of being human. Being dominated and controlled by them is neurosis. We cannot stop feeling and we cannot become different people. But we can allow the emotions and thoughts to exist without bowing down to them.
If we don’t underline and hang on to the negative emotions we actually have the possibility to turn pain and discomfort into something more fulfilling. Grief, the ultimately negative experience, if allowed to exist can teach us about empathy, compassion and letting go.
When I lost my husband I kept thinking that pain and loss could not be all that was left of him. As I allowed my grief all the space it needed without clamming to it and berating myself, I found the wisdom of acceptance.
Loving acceptance of our vulnerability and insecurities bring us emotional freedom. And with that compassion for others.
Can We Be Emotionally Free?
By Anne Naylor
What would life be like without emotional burdens like anxiety, depression, guilt, rage, self-doubt and shame? What does it mean to be “emotionally free”? Is it possible? Is it even desirable?
Part of the tool kit with which we human beings are born are our emotions. They must serve a purpose, or we would not have them. So far, so obvious. What would life be like without love, passion, enthusiasm, joy, excitement, exuberance, compassion, empathy or frustration, anger, resentment, envy, jealousy, greed and fear? Positive emotions serve to move us forward and expand our horizons. Negative emotions can trap us in a miserable downward spiral of hopelessness and despair…Continued
Okay, here is a hard one to learn; we can’t change others but we can change ourselves. Why do I say it is hard? Because we are so attached to proving either our truth, intent or fairness, that we keep coming up with different ways to make our point even if every attempt only brings us frustration and disappointments.
There is nothing wrong with trying to communicate our thoughts and feelings but what becomes a waste is when it is obvious that the recipient is not ready or doesn’t want to see things in a different way. They are stuck in their position and methodology and they are not going to change no matter what we do.
Last night I spent a couple of hours on the phone with a friend of mine who has lost a leg to cancer. Now most of us would crawl into a ball and feel sorry for ourselves. But not her. My friend surfs, skies, and travels all over the country counseling other people that are about to go through what she has gone and it is going through. To all of us that get to watch her live her life we think she’s a warrior. But not her. She apologizes for when from time to time she needs a good cry. And she apologizes when she thinks she doesn’t do as much or she’s not as good as others.
I don’t know where those feelings come from. I imagine for each person there is a different origin. But I understand the feeling as I have also dealt and deal with it in my own life.
So I’m not going to address the reasons but want to talk about, once this type of feeling and behavior is identified, what to do about it. Or better what I have done and do that has worked for me.
1 - Sometimes when we look at ourselves and judge us harshly the sentiments come from feeling less than or inadequate. Those thoughts might be coming from looking at others and their lives and making comparisons based on what we see. When that happens I remind myself: A - I don’t really know the truth about that person’s life and B - Everyone is unique and has a different story. We can’t compare an orange to a car. “Is the car delicious?” “How fast does the orange go?
2 – I go within and I ask what’s really going on. What’s triggering the feeling? My mature side steps outside and talks to my emotional side to find out what is really bothering me.
3 - Who is the person who is actually standing over me and judging? Whose sets of rules am I using for the judgment? I’m sure the answers to these questions will involve many people but not necessarily us.
4 - I remind myself of all the things I have done that others have thanked me for. And I remind myself of the love I have in my life from friends and family and then I know I must be doing something right.
If this sounds like too much trouble or like a therapy session, let me boil it all down. Be your own best friend. You would not let a best friend walk around having an erroneous image of themselves or feeling less then. So do unto you what you would do unto others and tell yourself the truth.
Yesterday I went to see a film with my parents – I’m still in Brazil – about a very prominent medium who died in 2002 at the age of 92, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chico_Xavier).
The film was poorly made but that is not the point of this blog. The point is in a scene – based on an actual televised account by the medium about the episode – the medium is on a plane flying from one state to another when the flight encounters a lot of turbulence. As the plane dips and shakes, the medium starts screaming and praying in fear for his life. That made no sense being that the medium’s entire life had been lived conversing with souls.
Now let me make my disclaimer here; I don’t believe people converse with souls that continue to be whom there were in life in heaven. Back to my point; while on live television this medium recounted his experience and laughed at himself and the absurdity of his flying experience. How could have him be afraid of dying? Wasn’t his whole work about letting others know death was just a continuation of life only in a different realm?
The scene crystallized a thought for me which is; we are beings of opposing thoughts and feelings. We may be searching and being on the path of love, gratitude and positivism and have the voices of jealousy, and hate within us. We are not black or white. We are all the colors and finding contentment and a life style that suits us, is about finding balance of all the voices within us. It is hearing the voice of fear but not letting it over take our life. We converse with it but we don’t listen to it.
Chastising ourselves because we have all the colors within us it is not healthy or kind but acknowledging them and striking a balance is.
I am in Brazil visiting my family and have just got off the phone with a childhood friend. The call was mostly about making plans for tomorrow but before we hung up she said: Debinha (that’s how my friends in Brazil call me) please say something. I said “what do you mean?” and she responded “I’m feeling like a dog without an owner.”
What she meant was she didn’t feel like she belonged anywhere. She’s a woman in her forties, who’s not in a relationship, and who lives alone. I told her we are all dogs without owners. What I meant to say was feeling lonely came from within not from being or not in a relationship.
When we are feeling well, we entertain and keep ourselves company. We listen to what we want to do and we follow up on our desires the best way we can. We feel whole and because we are okay with our own selves, we are also okay with others and the world. Being with others is in addition to the way we are already feeling.
When we are not well, we feel lonely and abandoned. So feeling like a dog without an owner in reality has little to do with being with others or not. It really is about ourselves. Just ask how many times have you felt alone in the middle of a large group of people?
I told my childhood friend to stop thinking and get out of the house. “Keep yourself in motion. The more you think how things are not the way you want them to be, the more pity sets in” I said. I know from experience this type of thinking is unhealthy. It is the type where we are the masters of the universe and everything that we consider to be wrong is our fault. It is the thinking that points to our incapacity to find happiness simply because we are no good.
Each one of us has specific reasons why we feel lonely or why we beat ourselves over the head when we are already down on the ground. But one universal solution to this phenomenon is to not indulge in it. “Distract yourself when you start thinking about all the wrong things in your life. Watch TV, go for a walk, call a friend to talk about the funnies but don’t indulge in your pity for yourself” were my parting words to my childhood friend.
Being our own best friend requires a willingness to peel the layers of the onion and look within. It takes a willingness to give ourselves a hand when we need it instead of running out and looking for someone else to do so. It takes realizing only ourselves are a constant companion in our lives. But if we can do that we’ll never feel like a dog without an owner as we are both the dog and the owner.
It’s so easy for people to misunderstand each other.
Although we are all humans, each one of us has a different process to interpret the world; different education and processing mechanism. Often things are said with one intention and are heard with another. Feelings get hurt and relationships are destroyed. That’s when we need to leave our egos aside and reach out. Ask yourself what is more important the relationship or your ego? And what is an ego anyway?
A strong ego doesn’t have to be right every time. A strong ego can even be right but not need to prove its position. A weak ego must prove itself to the world.
When a misunderstanding occurs don’t wait for the other person to reach out. Do it yourself. Strengthen your ego by not having to be right at all costs. You being right will be a secret between you and ego.
I have just read an interesting blog about connecting with others. Here’s the address http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jessica-zucker-phd/pbs-this-emotional-life-t_b_465968.html
Although her presentation is based on the relationship between a baby and the parents, I find the points raised worth while in self-reflection. Write in and let me if it resonates.
Love is a strange thing. It can be the most amazing feeling in the world, or it can really hurt, but in the end love is something most, if not all of us, will face. It does not make you a bad person to desire someone else’s love, even if they do not love you. However, to truly love someone, you must let them be free. It is selfish to blame them for your feelings. While there are many different ways to define love and there are many different ways to love someone (even yourself), here is a general guide to loving.
1. Say it. When you say the words “I Love You”, they should carry with them the desire to show someone that you love them, not what you simply want to feel. When you say it make sure you really mean it and are willing to do anything for that special person.
2. Empathize. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Rather than impose your own expectations or attempt to control them, try to understand how they feel, where they come from, and who they are. Realize how they could also love you back just as well.
3. Love unconditionally. If you cannot love another person without attaching stipulations, then it is not love at all, but deep-seated opportunism (one who makes the most of an advantage, often unmindful of others). If your interest is not in the other person as such, but rather in how that person can enhance your experience of life, then it is not unconditional. If you have no intention of improving that person’s life, or allowing that person to be themselves and accepting them as they are, and not who you want them to be, then you are not striving to love them unconditionally.
4. Expect nothing in return. That doesn’t mean you should allow someone to mistreat or undervalue you. It means that giving love does not guarantee receiving love. Try loving just for the sake of love. Realize that someone may have a different way of showing his or her love for you, do not expect to be loved back in exactly the same way.
5. Realize it can be lost. If you realize that you can lose the one you love, then you have a greater appreciation of what you have. Think how lucky you are to have someone to love. Don’t make an idol of the person you love. This will place them under undue pressure and will likely result in you losing them.
Love is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection and attachment. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure to intense interpersonal attraction. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure (“I loved that meal”) to intense interpersonal attraction (“I love my girlfriend”). This diversity of uses and meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states.
As an abstract concept, love usually refers to a deep, ineffable feeling of tenderly caring for another person. Even this limited conception of love, however, encompasses a wealth of different feelings, from the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love to the nonsexual emotional closeness of familial and platonic love to the profound oneness or devotion of religious love. Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts.
From a scientifically testable frame of reference, love is a type of interpersonal relationship where mutual assumption of good faith results in a state of emergence, i.e. constituents individually perceive the group’s social evolution as both beneficial and greater than what could be achieved by the sum of the relationship’s parts.
Biological sciences such as evolutionary psychology, evolutionary biology, anthropology and neuroscience have begun to explore the nature and function of love. Specific chemical substances such as oxytocin are studied in the context of their roles in producing human experiences and behaviors that are associated with love.
From the perspective of evolutionary psychology the experiences and behaviors associated with love can be investigated in terms of how they have been shaped by human evolution. For example, it has been suggested that human language has been selected during evolution as a type of “mating signal” that allows potential mates to judge reproductive fitness. Miller described evolutionary psychology as a starting place for further research: “Cognitive neuroscience could try to localize courtship adaptations in the brain. Most importantly, we need much better observations concerning real-life human courtship, including the measurable aspects of courtship that influence mate choice, the reproductive (or at least sexual) consequences of individual variation in those aspects, and the social-cognitive and emotional mechanisms of falling in love.” Since Darwin’s time there have been similar speculations about the evolution of human interest in music also as a potential signaling system for attracting and judging the fitness of potential mates. It has been suggested that the human capacity to experience love has been evolved as a signal to potential mates that the partner will be a good parent and be likely to help pass genes to future generations.
I travelled to Brazil to see my dad a few weeks ago. He had some heart complications and so I decided to fly in to help my mom and be by his side.
In the plane, behind and to the right of me a beautiful young blonde sat with her 3-4 year old son.
Before we took off, I heard her on the phone say her husband would be flying down in a couple of days in his private jet. I started to wonder who this woman was. A private jet? Not too many people ever have that experience in their life. I could tell she was Brazilian because of her accent and that just added to my curiosity. What was her life like? Was her husband Brazilian or American? How did they meet? Was he young like her or was he her sugar daddy? My imagination kept creating new scenarios but what I was most struck by was the lovely manner in which she related to her son. They played together and it seemed to me that they were both having fun, real fun.
In the middle of the night when I woke, I saw her son lying on top of her. He was having trouble sleeping so she had him on her trying to comfort him. I know she was really tired but she kept stroking him and speaking to him in a quiet soothing tone.
Eventually the boy fell asleep. I kept looking at them as to me they made a beautiful picture of love.
In this world where we are always trying to put ourselves ahead of others to bear witness to the opposite is touching.
I know she was a mother taking care of her son but still for that moment at least to me her gesture was meaningful. Her son was more important than her.
I wanted to thank the young beautiful blonde for giving me that moment to treasure. So if you are out there young mom, my deepest thank you.