Everything listed under: Understanding Emotion

  • Now

    Now is the only time you have to experience this moment. It is the only time you will have this exact blend of your awareness and what is happening. Are you allowing yourself to feel it?

  • Turtle Medicine and Belonging

    A turtle carries its home on its back. Metaphorically, it is at home wherever it is. Awaken your turtle medicine.

  • Emotions Pass Quickly.

    One of the greatest fears of feeling emotions is that if we allow ourselves to feel them, the feeling will never stop. Like most fears this is not rational. The truth is if we truly allow ourselves to feel the emotion, it passes through fairly quickly.

  • Maladaptive Anxiety

    Our lives are busy. How are we going to get it all done? Many of us rely on anxiety to keep our edge.

  • Allowing In

    While the masculine dynamic involves offering energy out from within as in creating an intention, the feminine or receptive is about allowing energy in from outside ourselves. Think of human sexuality and anatomy- the masculine releases out and the feminine allows in. Women and men have access to these both of these energies.

  • Put Those Holiday Blues to Use

    In our culture it is understood that you will spend time with the people that you love most at the holidays. But what if you are single or away from your family? Or what if your relationship or marriage is not in a particularly romantic or healthy phase.

  • People offer you what they are able to.

    Friendships, family, and relationships are challenging. At times our emotional needs are not being met by the various relationships we have. There is a tendency to feel hurt, lonely, or even betrayed.

  • My World and Your World

    Sometimes you may see that some of the things in my world are not real. The stories I tell myself construct my reality and distort how I see the world. The things I hold to be true may not make any sense to you.

  • Feel it now or Feel it later

    Remember the Fram oil filter commercial with the mechanic holding the oil filter and saying you can pay me now or pay me later? Feelings are like that. The idea that you can stuff a feeling is a misconception.

  • Trust is Precious

    Trust takes time. Yet without it many essential things cannot happen. Trust usually trumps other factors.

  • Grieving What You Did Not Allow Yourself

    In addition to the loss of loved ones, we also grieve internal things. We grieve the things that were important to us that we did not allow ourselves to have. We usually do not feel the loss of not allowing ourselves what we wanted until we allow ourselves to have it.

  • Strength Translated as Abuse

    Many of us have encountered some form of abuse in childhood, relationship, or otherwise. Confusing strength with abuse is often a residual effect of this. So later when we encounter strong or intense energy like anger, healthy aggression, passion, or spiritual power, we translate it as abuse.

  • Emotion vs. Emotional

    In this blog I am calling emotion pure feeling, and emotional the reaction to the feeling. It is vitally important to allow yourself to feel the pure emotion that is presenting itself to you, but to avoid the emotional or reaction to the feeling. Pure emotion is dynamic- it changes quickly.

  • Feeling Sadness

    Spiritual growth inevitably involves allowing illusions to die. And as long as we are striving and using willful intent, life will continue to break our hearts. It wears us down until we are able to surrender and accept things as they are (and not as we need them to be).

  • Trapped Energy

    One way to envision the healing process is think of emotional issues as trapped energy.  Sometimes we are not able to complete the emotional experience at the time it happens because it was too painful, shocking or traumatic, and the energy gets trapped in our body. And there it stays until we allow ourselves to experience the feeling so it can complete itself and release. Trapped energy often occurs with childhood abuse, sexual trauma, grief, combat PTSD, or any experience that is too pain... read more.

  • Take Action or Let It Go

    Kevin Geraghty, a psychotherapist in Boise, Idaho, told a scenario to his clients: Say you are in the ‘10 items or less’ line at the grocery store and you notice the person in front of you has a full cart of groceries and coupons. Kevin suggested that you do one of two things: either confront the person or checker, or decide not to confront them and let it go. But, he would point out, most of us do neither of those things.

  • Take the Teeth Out of It

    This is the expression my teacher used for disarming a fear. Whenever you challenge a fear and prove to yourself that it cannot hurt you, you have taken the teeth out of it. The best way to do this to breathe into and embrace the experience that is stimulating the fear.

  • Too Sensitive?

    Being sensitive often makes people nervous. They have to pay more attention to what they say around you. And more aware of how they affect you- and by extension how they affect other people.

  • Do They Deserve Your Open Heart?

    The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Your Natural Gift. When your heart is open it is natural to want to offer it to everyone. However, if someone is not open to your gift, then it is best to not offer it to them.

  • Cutting your losses

    Sometimes things we invest a lot into do not work out. Could be a project, an investment, a relationship, a business. The more personal resources we invest, the harder it is to let it go.

  • Damned If You Do and Damned If You Don't

    The toughest decisions usually involve no-win situations. There is going to be a downside to either choice. Either way, people are going to get hurt and damage will be done.

  • No Regrets

    The relationship that I was in ended yesterday. I really liked her. So naturally, I am sad.

  • Other People's Fears

    Ever notice how other people's fears don't make any sense? Sometimes we might feel like saying, "So what is the big deal about telling your friend that you are tired of doing all the work?" Well, to that person it is a big deal. It is their fear.

  • Your Anxiety is Stressing Me Out!

    Fear is contagious. We have a tendency to act out our fear. That is, when we become anxious or afraid, we tend to project (or spew) it onto everyone and everything around us.

  • The Emotional Level

    Co-dependency guru, John Bradshaw, once declared, "All addiction is about feeling." He was right. As such, the key to freeing ourselves from our compulsions and patterns that no longer serve us lies at the emotional level. For example, carrying extra weight is often about insulation from the world.

  • Respond Directly to the Fear

    Is someone putting you down or judging you? Are they challenging you or trying to control you? Is your child talking back?

  • Distorted Thoughts and Reactionary Feelings

    Our belief system distorts the way we perceive things and ultimately the way we think. These distorted thoughts generate feelings. Say I have a distorted thought that my boss implemented a new policy to make my life miserable.

  • Fear of Disappointment

    You were so hopeful. It has happened several times. There was the relationship that you wanted so bad.

  • Betrayal and Unspoken Contracts

    All relationships are contractual. Many of these contracts (or mutual agreements) are unspoken and assumed. Whether we are aware of it or discussed it, we created contracts with the people that we have relationships with.

  • So You Got Your Heart Broken…

    There seems to be this point in people’s lives when they give up. It goes back to that one painful experience that breaks them. I have heard many of these: getting cheated on, death of someone close, loss of a job, death of a pet, a business folding.

  • You Hurt My Feelings

    There are two sides of telling someone your feelings are hurt. On one hand, in order to walk open and honest, you need to express when your feelings get hurt. On the other hand, never lose perspective that your feelings being hurt is your issue.

  • Keeping Yourself Intact

    “I care too much about myself to allow you to treat me that way.” This is the phrase that I have domestic violence victims internalize. Many self-development books and philosophies encourage you to open your heart. Find intimacy, take emotional risks, allow yourself to be vulnerable, let your defenses down, etc.  But few talk about keeping yourself intact while you do this.

  • Emotional Responsibility.

     "All of your feelings eventually do come out to play. You can either address them willingly- or on your hands and knees” Bart Anderson. People stress taking responsibility for all kinds of things these days.

  • Feeling Equanimous?

    Merriam-Webster.com defines equanimity as evenness of mind- especially under stress. I also refer to it as a discipline to pull up positive energy to present to people or situation regardless of  your  feeling or mood. So the requiredness of the situation trumps mood.

  • Real Life Feels Pale in Comparison

    We watch movies and TV. The events that happen are often larger than life. Then we go home and have a talk with our child and there is not poignant theme music in the background.

  • Regret: the Only Emotion You Cannot Resolve

    Doors open and doors close. Possibilities present themselves to us and we either have the courage to step into them or we do not. Most of the time there isn't even much of a commitment required at the beginning.

  • The Wall of Fear

    You're talking to someone and having a good time. You're laughing and enjoying each others' company. Then you mention something and everything shifts.

  • January Got You Down? Engage.

    January is tough. The days are short. The holidays have passed.

  • Holidays a Big Deal at the Emotional Level

    Like it or not- at the emotional level, the holidays and birthdays are a big deal. Have you ever said to yourself, "What is the big deal? Christmas Eve or my birthday is just another day." And then spent it by yourself or in some "business as usual" fashion.

  • "Fear Builds Walls"

    "Fear"  and then... "Builds Walls" was projected on the wall at the Rogers Waters performance of The Wall at the Tacoma Dome Saturday night. The Wall was initially performed by Pink Floyd over thirty years ago in Los Angeles.

  • Joy- the Only Real Human Emotion?

    Bart Anderson insisted that joy is the only real emotion. He taught that our true nature is light and love which knows only joy. Other emotions are various distortions and derivations of this innate joy.

  • Love, Hate- You Choose.

    You may have heard that love and hate are not opposite emotions- but actually quite close. They both represent a high level of caring and involvement. The opposite of love is more like indifference or not caring.

  • Got guilt? Learn something.

    We get hung up on reconciliation. When we feel guilty- we want to make it right. This is one of those great ideas that just does not work.

  • Connecting with Others is not an Intellectual Process

    Our intellect is like a computer. It processes and accesses information. It is not meant to take the place of your instincts and intuition.

  • Fear of Failure and Fear of Success

    It's football season again and within the past couple of weeks, two of the arguably best players of all time spoke about how the fear of failure has affected them. Jerry Rice (website link) said in his Hall of Fame speech, "I was afraid to fail. I'm here to tell you that the fear of failure is the engine that has driven me throughout my entire life.

  • Letting Go of Control

    Ever notice yourself trying to control something or someone? When we control things, we short-change ourselves; we force an experience to be what we are comfortable with. Or we control a person to be less threatening to us.

  • Breathe Into Your Fear

    When we are afraid of something, we push our energy out. Therefore, we are not able to allow the energy of the experience in- so we can understand what is really going on. We make assumptions about what is going on.

  • Anger is Always Self-directed

    Whenever we are angry, we are ultimately mad at ourselves. It could be for putting ourselves in a situation. For allowing someone to treat us poorly.

  • Feeling the Loss of What Could Have Been

    Feeling disappointed? Did you see a possibility or potential to share something with someone that they were unwilling or unable to explore with you? I encourage people to always be looking for the possibility of shared experiences.

  • Pure Emotion is a Stimulus for Movement

    Is it emotion or emotional? Emotion is the pure feeling, and emotional is the reaction to the feeling. Sadness is the the pure emotion.

  • I'm Feeling a Little Overwhelmed Here...

    Our culture and world are overwhelming. Life comes at you come at us fast. We have little time to manage the massive amount of information that comes at us.

  • Got the January Blahs? Feelings are a Call to Action

    The holidays are emotionally powerful. They force us to look at the extent we have the love and relationships that we want and need. For single people that want to be in a relationship, it is sad.

  • Metaphor of the Rose: With Beauty Comes Pain

    One of my all-time favorite metaphors is that of the rose. It has beauty and delicateness, but also thorns. My interpretation is that with beauty comes pain.

  • Angry or Hurt? Ask, "How is this Different than How I Hoped it Would Be?"

    One of the challenges of seeing relationships as a "we" and seeing the possibilities of where that relationship could go is that you sometimes bump into disappointment and loss. It can be painful. Perhaps that is why so many avoid it.

  • Angry? Send'em a Prayer

    Next time you are mad at someone, send them a prayer. It doesn't have to be Christian. It doesn't even have to be a prayer.