Emotions are not good or bad, they just are. Yet everyone labels emotions and judges them. It’s because some of them are difficult to deal with or are unfamiliar. Not really because they are bad. You need the full range of all of your feelings to be whole, happy and wise.And each one of your feelings is a messenger. It can tell you something about yourself, your surroundings or your belief systems. If you focus on only the good feelings – and an eternal quest to have more of them – you will miss the messages that other feelings have for you.This month we are continuing our exploration of emotions with a conversation about wisdom. You may not realize that your emotions are an important part of your wisdom. It’s too easy to get caught up in the swirl of emotions and even get carried away.
Let’s think of emotions as items flowing downstream in a river. You are standing on the river bank and noticing everything that flows by. So far your feelings are not causing you any problems because they come floating up to you, are there for a few moments and then pass on by. This is how feelings are meant to be.
The issues begin when you decide to haul one of the emotions out onto the river bank with you. Perhaps it’s a feeling that you particularly enjoy or a feeling that you don’t quite understand and you want to have a good, close look at it. It might even be a feeling that is very familiar and you are used to having it around.
But when you are focused on the one or two emotions you have hauled out of the river, you are no longer noticing and experiencing the other emotions that continue to float by you on the river. You are missing a great deal of who you really are.
My hope for you is that you will learn to throw your river bank clutter back into the flow. You will be much the wiser for it!
Learning to Be Wise
Tap into the part of yourself where you feel your passion. It’s a place of motivation, of energy and of emotion. I call this your emotional state of mind or “emotional mind”. It’s the hot side of you – where feelings flow freely… love, hate, joy, anger and all the rest.
Your emotional mind is so important to your life. It connects you to other people. It gets you to take action. It adds spice and variety to all that you do.
The problem is that sometimes you get carried away with all these feelings. We all do at times!
Here’s what I mean. Let’s think of your state of mind as being on a continuum. Your emotional mind is on one end of that spectrum. You can go too far into emotional mind – too far onto that end of the continuum.
Here’s what that looks like:
Your behavior is based on whatever feeling you have now.
Your feelings are changing rapidly.
Life becomes chaotic as you are swept along in the rush of your feelings.
You feel out of control.
Let’s look at the other side of this state of mind continuum then to find some balance. Your rational state of mind or “rational mind” is the calm, cool and collected side of you. It’s where you are using your powerful thinking skills. You are logical and thinking clearly. It’s the part of you that does problem solving, logic, and planning.
Your rational mind has many gifts to give the world. It’s the part of you that can create science, business and even education. Rational mind gives structure and guidelines to your life.
But when you go too far in being logical and rational, you can cling to “the rules” too tightly. You get rigid and this drives other people away.
It’s easy to see from all this that the best place on our state of mind continuum is in the middle. The middle state of mind is where we use BOTH our emotions and our rational thinking – at the same time.
Don’t get me wrong on this. It’s not alternating from emotions to rational thinking; it’s combining the two of them together. And in this case the combination is far more powerful than you would expect kind of like adding two plus two and getting eleven.
This third state of mind, the combination of the other two states, is called wisdom. Wisdom is when you know exactly what to do or say yet you couldn’t quite explain to someone else how and why you are so certain.
You’ve experienced wisdom. Think of a time when you met someone new and you “just knew” this person was going to be either really great in your life or you “just knew” to stay away from them. That is your wisdom in action.
There are lots of ways to refer to your wisdom. Some people like to call it intuition, inner knowing, or instinct. Some people have even said that it is God working inside them. Whatever you believe and whatever you call it, I want you to know that your wisdom is a very important force in your life.
Here is what wisdom is like…
You are calm and not feeling pressured.
You have conviction.
You can plan a simple course of action.
You know deep inside that you are on the right track.
You are OK with wherever you find yourself.
Wisdom is your natural state. You have it inside even if you haven’t noticed it in a long time.
Most of us have created habits that have moved us away from our wisdom. Perhaps you try to get too much done or are busy all the time. Maybe you are stuck with feelings you don’t like or feelings you are trying to avoid.
The first step is reaching and using your wisdom is to be able to notice when you are in the different states of mind. It can be a little tricky telling apart emotional mind and rational mind though. Just because you are thinking hard, doesn’t make it rational mind. Sometimes that thinking is powered or driven by emotion. In that case, you are really in emotional mind. Look for the root to know which state of mind you are in.
In today’s world, you are likely spending lots of time in the emotional state of mind. To move back to wisdom, you need to add in rational thinking. Practice stopping in your day and looking for the absolute facts of what is going on. (The facts are things that every person using their rational mind would agree on.) The very act of sorting through circumstances for the true facts will bring you back towards the center of the continuum and your own built-in wisdom.
Wisdom means you get to be in control of your emotions instead of the other way around!
When in the past have you experienced your own wisdom?
What will remind you to slow down and pay attention to what state of mind you are in?
What changes can you make in your life by accessing your wisdom?
The Guest House by Rumi
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dar thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
INDIVIDUAL COACHING BY PHONE
Want to stop that feeling that life is passing you by?
Would you like to able to experience your life as an exciting series of adventures?
Would you like to feel more joy and achieve more success?
That is what I help my clients develop in their own lives. Working with a coach helps you overcome the challenges that can keep you from a successful life. Coaching gives you a companion on the journey; someone with whom to discuss events as they unfold and to help you move toward joy in the adventure. Developing clear goals, focusing intently and staying committed become possible.
If you aren’t sure and would like to explore whether coaching is right for you, please send an email to Janet@lifeadventurecoaching.com or call me at 828-691-4655 for a complimentary consultation.