Tuesday, 26 June 2012

A Fulfilling and Satisfying Life - Part 2

In the first of this series of three posts, I concentrated on the first of the three circles that make up our being.  As a very brief review, the three circles are separate but overlap to create a mutual centre which is our soul or deepest being.  The three circles are Physical, Emotional and Spiritual.  Last time I talked about the Physical.  Today I'm going to focus on the Emotional part of our being.

The word "emotional" can evoke many different meanings and feelings to people.  If someone is emotional, it may mean they are out of control and full of negative emotions such as anger, fear or hurt.  It may also mean a person is very dramatic and emotes their emotions to an extreme.  Emotional may mean that someone is sensitive which in itself can mean different things.  Sensitive may refer to a person's ability to be receptive to the emotions, auras or "vibes" of other people.  Websters Dictionary defines emotional as "pertaining to or characterized by emotion; excitable; easily moved; sensational; as, an emotional nature."  In the lecture, the professor referred to our deep emotional selves where we subconsciously feel emotion but may not or will not acknowledge it.  We need to nurture our emotional selves in order to live a whole and satisfying life.  How do we nurture our emotional selves you ask?  Does this mean we have no control over our emotions and we can just freely express all our emotions without restraint?  No, this is not what the professor was encouraging.  The professor was suggesting that we feel deeply and we acknowledge to ourselves what we are feeling.  This may mean taking action in order to have "right relationships" with people.  This means if someone hurts you deeply, you have the strength to make yourself vulnerable and talk to the person who has hurt you.  This means talking to the person in such a way that the conversation itself is not hurtful to the other person.  Perhaps they did not mean to hurt you.  Nurturing our emotional selves also means recognizing the benefits of loving.  The other day, I was reading The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.  His quote at the beginning of the daily entry was very profound and, to me, speaks to the importance of our emotional self.  "The Love we show saves the Love we hide, the way a sprig in sun feeds its unseen root."

In our society, we are often so distracted by personal electronic devices, computers, internet and activities that we do not take time to feel deeply.  We don't show "love" (or respect, politeness, courtesy, etc.) and if I refer to Mark Nepo's quote, we then kill and shrivel up the love deep inside just like roots can shrivel up and die.  We can show our love through small acts of kindness such as holding a door open for someone at the shopping mall or asking the lonely widow or widower down the street to come for dinner.  Even just letting a car out into the line up in front of you as you drive, is in itself an act of love.  I know for myself when I show a small act of kindness, I feel warm inside.  That is the deep root of love within my own emotional being.  On the flip side, I also know that if I am grumpy or having a "bad" day, my thoughts are not very loving and I probably will not go out of my way to be kind.  I'll be too busy.   I'll be in too much of a hurry because my day is going poorly and I'll be distracted by that.  On those kinds of days, I know that I feel an emptiness within because my deep emotions of who I am have not been nourished.  I also know that there have been times when I will make a conscious decision to turn my day around and make myself vulnerable by expressing either through actions or words the love or kindness within me.  We really can make ourselves feel better by caring about others more than ourselves.

While I was sick with cancer and too physically weak to "do",  I took the opportunity of sitting still to think about my life.  I thought about what was good, what needed improvement and my chosen career.  Everything about my life went under the microscope.  I realized that teaching private music lessons (piano, flute, voice and theory) nurtured my emotional self by giving encouragement, information, kindness and yes, love to my students.  My review of my existence reinforced the importance of being open and reaching out to give to others.  Again to refer to Mark Nepo, it is like the flower or the blade of grass that grows taller and longer above ground but at the same time the roots reach deeper into the earth for the source of living water.

So how do we nurture our emotional selves?  For me, it's taking quiet time each day to connect with myself.  To centre myself.  It's recognizing and acknowledging to myself that I may feel hurt.  It's trying to be flexible enough with my emotional viewpoint to look at the hurtful situation from the other person's emotional viewpoint.  We can nurture ourselves emotionally just by deciding that the "hurt" may not even need to be acted on or discussed.  That just by acknowledging it is enough.  In order to nurture our emotional selves, we may have to make some hard decisions regarding the kinds of relationships we have.  We may have to act and limit the exposure to some individuals.  This took me over 30 years to figure out.  Once I limited the exposure to a negative individual, my emotional self felt less bruised and more whole.  It is beneficial to take stock and review the influences on our emotional selves.  This may mean scrutinizing relationships, our current employment, our physical diet of what we eat, our sleep patterns and our thought patterns.  This is not an easy exercise but it really does help to keep our emotional selves whole and healthy.

Next time, I'll be talking about the third circle which is our spiritual being.  In the meantime, I'm going to continue to reach out to others in kindness, compassion and love.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post, Cathy. I also enjoy some quiet time each day to connect with myself and to become centered. It's important to keep in touch with our emotional side, and to nurture. And I so agree about small acts of kindness; they may bring happiness to someone else, but I truly believe that they bring happiness to us, as well.