Have you ever wondered why we humans are endowed with this great capacity to feel a full range of emotions and yet are taught that some emotions are acceptable and good, while others are unacceptable and bad?
As a deeply feeling being, this is something that has intrigued me throughout my life. I know it takes courage to feel, especially challenging feelings. It also takes a certain quality of consciousness to be able to distinguish between what we are feeling and what we are.
In my own experience with feelings, it is not the ‘negative’ emotions themselves, but how I respond to them, that makes the difference in whether the emotion will have a positive or negative effect in my life.
Whenever we become totally identified with a painful emotion – and believe we ARE the anger, fear or sadness, or at the most primal level, shameful, we suffer.
It is only when we are able to hold some level of consciousness or presence, with whatever we may be feeling, that we are able to receive the gift, insight or guidance of an emotion.
Consciousness, in this case can be thought of as love or acceptance. When we can accept rather than reject our emotions, we become more authentically who we are – more whole and holy.
Emotions are connected to the elemental energy of water. They are waves of energy that move through us as we respond to our life experience. According to neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor, these waves have a lifespan of 90secs – but for most of us, emotions and the associated painful thoughts have become deeply engrained patterns handed down through the generations.
Emotions, like water, are designed to flow, and when they are not felt or allowed to express, they stagnant, creating physical illness and mental confusion.
Learning to access and receive the gifts of our emotions does not have to be a long, arduous or painful journey, especially when we have the support of others.
As we learn to allow and even celebrate our emotional natures, we see how we all have the same feelings so we don’t have to take them so seriously even though they can sometimes feels overwhelming or even life threatening.
It is our inability to skillfully feel that is life-threatening, not the emotions themselves. We see this very clearly in the levels of violence and suicide rates in our culture.
It takes courage, honesty and a willingness to feel and reveal our vulnerability to stay present with our emotions. And although this can be challenging for most of us, my experience has demonstrated over and over that it is through our willingness to be emotionally honest and reveal our vulnerability, that we fall in love with each other.
Experiencing the full range of our emotions brings depth and meaning, and an astonishing sense of being fully alive.
Throughout my many years of sharing Partner Yoga, I see this how this practice is the perfect laboratory for accessing the emotional body – in ways that clear stuck, stagnate energy. It is a space where we easily laugh and cry, while celebrating the full range of an embodied human experience.
It has been almost 20yrs since I published ‘The Pleasures and Principles of Partner Yoga’ and it is only now, with this topic, that I feel the inspiration to publish a second book. In the meantime, here is another article on the topic.
If you, like most of use, would like support becoming more emotionally resilient, consider joining the Virtual Circle ‘Celebrating The Emotional Body’ beginning Thursday, April 21 or contact me to join an upcoming circle.
Come join the play and grow your sweet self.