As I spend the first morning of a four-day vacation weekend sipping on coffee, relaxing and journaling, I realize that I am feeling some angst. I slow down, breathe deep and give myself some space to see what is there. What I find is a busy mind, jumping from thought to thought – ranging from my day at work yesterday, to my plans for the weekend, to the workout I’m supposed to do today, back to moment I had to announce a cancer diagnosis to a client, back to how I should spend my weekend, and on and on and on.
I smile at myself, finding it funny how thoughts – the simple exchange of energy within the brain – can lead to so much tension in the body and feelings of overwhelm.
I’ve heard a number of times that the term emotion actually means “energy in motion”. I really like that. For my rigid, scientific brain, it really helps me release the hold I have on my emotions. It helps me identify a little less with them, and releases me as the responsible cause of these emotions.
I also like how some teachers promote the idea that emotions and feelings are messengers. That they arise to show/teach us something. That instead of repressing them, feeling ashamed for them or identifying with them, maybe we can slow down and invite them into our awareness. And even tune into them so that we can receive their message.
I’ve been trying to do this a lot in the last week – slow down and connect with my body. I felt extremely panicked last week because I could sense a lot of tension, distraction and overwhelm in myself. The Ego told me a story of “here we go again! Something is wrong with you, you need your meds. You aren’t good enough to be a NP, etc, etc”.
It’s hard to invite those feelings when the stories associated with them are so well rehearsed in your mind. But with lots of slowing down, spending time trying to tune into my body, sensations and emotions, I found a different narrative.
It did speak of “not enoughness”. But also of a need for validation, comforting, being held and a need for connection with the familiar. The more time I’ve spent trying to connect with that woundedness, the more evident it becomes that I am currently in need of connecting with loved ones.
The last time I had a cozy, comforting and familiar hug was on March 6th as I said goodbye to my brother at Pearson international airport. That’s over four months!! Four months without any comforting physical touch. And for someone who relies heavily on connection – especially physical – to feel loved and validated, this feels very difficult.
As tears come up – now that I am connected with the root of this sadness – like I would a tearful child, I can more easily hold, support and soothe myself, validating these emotions rather than being angry at myself for simply being a human with feelings.
4 thoughts on “Emotions as messengers”
Always love reading your posts ma belle!
This one particularly resonates with me because these are themes I’ve also been exploring lately (slowing down; observing my emotions and thoughts; reconnecting with myself, etc etc).
You are absolutely right: it’s quite fascinating how our body talks to us and how important it is to slow down to be able to listen to it.
In keeping this in mind, I’ve been noticing trends: people thinking they are not good enough; feeling like they need to be doing more; feeling like they are failing; feeling like they can’t multi-task… The list goes on. I myself had these feelings.But I’ve been refocusing the narrative from “there is something wrong with me” to “there is something wrong with the world”. And it’s been quite transformative.
There is no denying that the society we live in is sick and outdated; it no longer serves the people. In this capitalist setting, the only important things are money and productivity. We’ve also been conditioned since our early years to value our own worth on how much we do/produce. Not only do we work too much, we also work harder because budget cuts have meant fewer people on the field. We have too little time for ourselves. We’re so used to being under so many stressors that when things slow down, we feel like something (or us) is wrong.
Like you, purposely slowing down has helped me better manage my thoughts and emotions; not just the diet, not just the daily mediation, not just the proper sleep… All of those things help, but what made a huge difference for me was really the slowing down. Now, I purposely make a point to never have too much on my plate. At work, I’ll ask for help when I have too much to do or ask for deadlines to be extended. In my personal life, I delay personal projects and hobbies so that I do less at the same time. I also keep spots in my calendar called “Free Time”. During that timeframe, I plan NOTHING. I leave room for spontaneity and creativity. I’ll call friends and family to catch up. I’ll read, write, listen to music. My overall well-being has dramatically increased since doing this. I now see these timeframes as being just as important as my workout sessions for instance, or even as important as proper sleep.
Slowing down is crucial. For me, it’s been an act of defiance. It meant rebelling against a system that failed me. It meant taking back control of my life. And I’m so glad and inspired when I see others doing the same! Cheers to a good life my friend! Je t’aime xo
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Woahh – I really like how well you’ve been able to re-frame your perception on this subject and how you’ve really zeroed in on the problem at large. I have had the same realizations but I have to admit I still struggle to find how I fit into this world. How can I transform my way of living, free myself from the hedonic treadmill that society put me on while still not ostracizing myself entirely… Your strategy seems to be one worth trying!! Again, I have to admit I very much still feel the pull towards being a productive member of society in the way that capitalism would want me to be (people pleaser) but I’m working on it and I’m really inspired by your experience 🙂 I think what you talk about is also setting boundaries which is something else I struggle to do. It takes a lot of courage and strength to set boundaries especially when it may irritate others or go against what a certain culture things you should be doing (I’m thinking at work for example or with friends/family). But again, you’ve really inspired me 🙂
Thank you for sharing your thoughts 😍💜
You seem like an amazing person. You are unique and don’t fit into the cookie cutter person society produces. How refreshing! Be proud of who you are and be yourself. Life is short.
Yeah..emotions—energy in motion 👍🏻😊