“Your emotions are the gatekeepers of the deeper story of your life.”
Met any babies lately? If you have, you will probably recall that even in the earliest moments of infancy there was the seed of a distinctive being in the making. Ask any parent and they will tell you that their child was born with the essence of something uniquely identifiable about them.
Each child’s unique identity is fostered and dynamically developed in concert with parental and environmental input, but nevertheless children seem to have the mark of their individual nature from birth.
Around this unique identifying quality a personality is built, habits are formed, and worldview is solidified. We wrestle with issues of sameness and difference – we fit ourselves, and each other, into a plethora of categories and types – introverts or extroverts, Virgos or Pisces, or an alphabet soup of acronyms derived from psychometric tests and assessments.
Assuming we had a relatively normal upbringing, our early childhood years were spent exercising our unique qualities, and our school and adolescent years were devoted to exorcising them. For all kinds of reasons, certain passions, expressions and impulses were deemed inappropriate in one circumstance or another. After a while we get the picture – life is less fraught with conflict if we simply go along, fit in, and don’t rock the boat.
For the most part we understand the reward system is reserved for those who toe the line and do what is expected of them. Sure, there are a few wild card dropout super-heroes who make it on their own terms, but they are the exception to the rule. Even if we suspect we may have something of that genius within ourselves, we rarely have the emotional courage to go against the grain long enough to tap into or cultivate it, let alone create an empire with it.
The other trick is also in understanding that we don’t all necessarily want to be empire builders. We want our lives to feel meaningful, to have value, to make a contribution, but we can’t all be game changers and superstars. So what if you are not Albert Einstein, the Dalai Lama, or Oprah Winfrey? What do you have to offer the world?
But the only way you can truly offer the world anything of genuine value is by getting beneath the layers of conditioned numbness and reclaiming your feelings. Your emotions are the gatekeepers of the deeper story of your life. They are integrally connected to your sense of meaning, value, and purpose in life.
The trouble is that you can’t get there by figuring them out…you have to feel your way there, and if all your emotions have alarm bells on them, you will question if it’s too dangerous to wander down their pathways.
Not unlike the Hero’s Journey in which inertia and despair must be overcome, threats must be faced, and challenges skillfully addressed, you must take on the obstacles in the way of accessing the forgotten treasure you buried within yourself.
Abram Maslow said, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you will see every problem as a nail.” This is what we do; we bang our heads on the very walls erected against our deepest desire for authentic self-expression. We try to think our way onto a satisfying path in life, applying logic and reason to marshal our energies toward things we ‘should’ but don’t really want to do. We rationalize our unsuccessful attempts and false starts toward fulfillment, without ever realizing that our intellect is the wrong tool for the job. We absolutely need our intellect and critical thinking skills, but we must use them with discernment and not as a substitute for our fully experienced and felt life.
Most people treat emotions as maladaptive, something to be fixed, managed or overcome. In attempting to ‘shoot the messenger’ we miss the positive purpose emotions serve in our lives.
If you are feeling confused, stuck, or out of synch with yourself, congratulations – your emotions are stirring beneath that layer of comfortable numbness. Emotions are waking you up and putting you on notice. This is your opportunity to delve deeply into your reason for being. When entered wisely and experienced fully, emotions become portals to deeper truths about our essential nature, our inherent gifts and abilities, our raw potential, and what is required to actualize it.
Enlightened emotions are the best friends you could ever have, and when you come to know and trust them, you will understand that they will never misguide you. In fact they are pointing you in the direction of the most important truth you could ever possess – your life matters – and with some exploration and effort you can do something truly meaningful with it.
My greatest passion is in helping people reclaim and embrace the powerful creative potential of their emotions. As your emotional ally, I invite you to discover the joy of Enlightened Emotional Living!
Learn to feel, accept and express emotions in healthy ways to:
- FEEL successful at home and at work
- FEEL focused and clear
- FEEL creative and decisive
- FEEL resilient when facing challenges
- FEEL energy and stamina
- FEEL centered and calm
- FEEL optimistic and open to possibility
- FEEL self-esteem and positive regard for others
- FEEL connected and supported in relationships
- FEEL a sense of purpose and positive contribution