Emotional Balance

Emotional balance has been unfolding in my life for 40 years and I am not fully there yet.  One of the biggest hurdles is letting go of the belief that my emotions define me; that I am what I am currently feeling.  In yoga we see emotions from the standpoint of energy.  We define emotion as:    e-motion = energy in motion.  As a result, when I am experiencing a specific emotion, I realize that it is an energy moving through my entire being that, through common experience, has been given a name such as happiness, sorrow, anger, etc.  Seeing emotion as an energy that moves helps me release judgement about the nature of that energy.  Energy is energy; it is neither good nor bad; it just is.

As practices for the body and mind (yoga, meditation, healthy eating, exercise, fresh air, loving friends, etc.) have become consistent in my life, my emotions have become more consistent as well.  By consistent I mean that my emotions fit what I am experiencing in the moment.  When each of my parents died, I was deeply sad and grieved.  I was also profoundly grateful that I was with them in their transitions. I was proud to be their daughter. I was also grateful for everything they had given me over the years.  So many emotions flowed during these times and I felt them all.  These were two of the most intense experiences of my life.

In releasing judgement toward certain emotions that have been deemed “bad,” I view these experiences in terms of intensity.  Seldom is overwhleming happiness described as bad, yet it is every bit as intense as sorrow and can be just as exhausting.  My granddaughter’s birth this year was, and is, so intensely joyful that there are times I don’t sleep very well.  There are times when I quietly cry for happy.  Intense.  On the other end of the spectrum, I choose not to take in news about things like child abuse because the depth of anger I feel on behalf of these innocents is almost frightening to me.  But is anger always “bad?”  Not in my opinion, because there are many people who have been inspired to acts of bravery because of the anger that arises within them.  Anger and frustration with things I had allowed or created in my life have given me the courage to make very difficult changes.  Intense.

Intensity is seldom comfortable, which is why these energies are judged as bad or unhealthy.  The key, I believe, is – guess what? – balance!  It makes more sense to realize that imbalance in the emotional body creates confusion and can be destructive than to set the goal of never feeling these things.  When I feel angry, can I allow myself to be in it in a way that leads me to action or forgiveness or compassion?  If so, I will quickly return to peace and tranquility.  My actions will be appropriate to the situation and to my desire and intention to live lovingly and compassionately.  It is when I avoid and stuff or hide my feelings that my behavior becomes inappropriate and possibly destructive.

I am of Spanish Basque descent.  All but one of my granparents emigrated from northern Spain.  The Basques are an earthy, passionate people.  We are deeply spiritual, love life and tend to embrace it with passionate exuberance.  Intense, right?  Right.  Choosing not to feel something at all goes against my innate personality.  Add to my heritage the fact that I am a spiritual being currently having a human experience and the conclusion is that avoiding true emotion is counter-productve.

Balance is the key.  More reasonable goals might be:  To feel without being thrown against the wall by the intensity of some emotions.  To be willing to sit with the discomfort in order to remember that this energy in motion does not define me; it is something I am experiencing in the moment.  It will diminish, shift, transform because that is the nature of energy.  To embrace the experience for what it is:  a human experience that does not change or define my True Self, a spiritual being. To be patient and remember that it takes time and maturity to come into this awareness in every aspect of my being: physical, mental, emotional.  I don’t have to change everything at once.  I don’t have to fight myself and hold judgements against myself.  I do not have to be perfect.  I can be in this moment, experience it, and be all that I am.  I can unfold into True Self as naturally as a healthy tree matures and produces its most perfect fruit.

One of my favorite responses to myself when I explode into emotional intensity and catch myself in the midst of it is:    Well, Catherine Ann, welcome to the human race!

 

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2 thoughts on “Emotional Balance

  1. I have also been working toward this end for many years now. As an empathic type, I not only have to balance my own emotions but also all the emotions of everyone flowing through me. My body is like a fine net. Some days I wake up with pain everywhere and either a) something is up with me personally or b) there is not anything particularly intense with me but the intensity is coming from “out there” which is actually “in here” but in disguise. I understand this now after many years of “unexplained” migraines and such. I direct energy by finding the center of the pain…. start somewhere… perhaps ice on my head and then proceed to each place I find the pain to release it. One thing at a time. This is physical for me but it is actually trapped emotion… so it is analogous. In some ways it is easier to deal with physical pain so in that way I am lucky… although most don’t see it. I can usually repair my imbalance within an hour or so now. That is progress. Also less mornings find me trapped in pain. I do have a literal pain in the neck at this time…. I think I’m holding on to it like a trophy to prove how much I “care” or some nonsense that is planted inside my brain. This too will pass. Sometimes I seem unsympathetic to some… this is a block to shield me from the unrestrained emotions of others… those emotions that they must address themselves. As an attorney, if I did not do this, the artificial emotions of others would tank me every day… by artificial I mean inauthentic…. they whip up emotion to convince others when lawsuits are in progress… I suppose it is natural and maybe even necessary for them to do so.. but I do not have to let it crash my peace. I would rather be a vessel passing all of it through rather than a net to catch it all. This is the best part of getting older… experience. Thank you for this post Catherine. It is one of the most important things I can think of at this difficult time.

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  2. Bless you, Marilee. Your awareness of this process is so key to your wellbeing. I understand the shielding of self in the presence of outside energies. You and I have talked about this in the past. How wise to let it pass through rather than embracing it as your own.Thank you for sharing your experience and your wisdom. Peace and love all ways, my friend.

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