Emotional Intelligence Through Synthesizing Ancient Practices

Among other things like playing the piano again and baking muffins, I have been spending these past weeks delving deeply into how the ancient science of acupressure affects our physical and emotional well-being. Particularly when combined with the practice of Yoga, it is a powerful support for processing the challenging emotions swirling through us all.

As a person who tends to feel and process my experience deeply, I have always been fascinated by emotions – what they are and how to relate to them.

Although I have often felt overwhelmed by strong emotions, I have also recognized that my capacity to feel deeply was a gift, albeit one I need to become skillful with.

Our capacity to feel is a defining aspect of our humanity. Emotions give our lives depth and meaning, and are where all great art and noble acts of service arise out of. They are the fuel and inspiration for taking action in our lives.

Emotions are also a way to access our intuition and deeper knowing. Terms like ‘gut knowing’ or ˜heart-felt desire’ reflect the wisdom that comes through our body and emotions.

And yet we are taught so little about how to appreciate, understand and express our emotions. Because of the busyness of modern life, we are often not given much opportunity to listen to, experience or express our emotional experience – until now.

Emotional intelligence is defined as:

  1. The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
  1. The ability to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.

Here is my personal definition:

  1. The capacity to consciously allow and express our emotions without being completely identified with them.

For me, emotional intelligence is our ability to make space for our emotions, but not let them overwhelm us. In other words, it is the difference between ‘I am angry, afraid or sad’ and ˜I feel angry, afraid or sad.’ The ‘I’ is our conscious awareness, the part of us that has the capacity to compassionately hold whatever feeling may be moving through us.

Our bodies are designed to allow the free flow of emotional energy. Poorly expressed or repressed emotions are, some would say, the major cause of physical and mental illnesses.

One of the reasons I believe we have become so disconnected from Nature, our Nature, is that we live most of our lives identified with our thinking. Out of the tens of thousands of thoughts that we think a day, very few are truly creative. Most are repetitive, fear based and focused on the past or future.

Habitual overthinking is the primary stimulus for much of our painful emotions, which is why embodiment practices are so necessary for our well-being. Or simply being in Nature can calm our mental and emotional energy and remind us we are an infinitesimal part of a larger whole.

When we bring our awareness out of our thoughts and stories and into a felt experience of our body, we receive access to the wisdom our emotions offer us.

I have felt deeply saddened by the extreme disconnection being experienced between humans right now, as my passion for Partner Yoga is based on the healing power of touch.

Touch is a direct pathway for connecting to our body and vital for nourishing our well-being. Those who are living alone do not need to be touch starved as we can all learn to offer soothing touch to ourselves.

I feel particularly grateful and inspired to be immersing in and sharing this synthesis of self-healing and self-connection practices right now and hope you can join me.

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