I played a little game this morning. The sun is shining down upon my patio and, as my mug of green tea steamed up my glasses, I thought why not. Let’s get creative and explore for a moment. It led me to this. I wrote down six emotions I have felt this last week that I am not particularly fond of. I wrote them out hastily in my black biro – perhaps a reflection of how much I disliked these feelings? Not a pink pen moment. Emotions that have pushed me off my happy branch where I like to bask in the sunshine and preen my feathers. Emotions that sent me fluttering to the rain sodden ground like a tired crispy leaf in autumn when I was enjoying being the pink, scent-filled cherry blossom in spring.
My mind, in her infinite wisdom, enjoys sending me upon an emotional rollercoaster now and then and I figure there is always a lesson to be learnt. I try hard to work with her, I try hard not to fight her and accept that the downside of being creative is perhaps being prone to a little too much self-awareness and a little too much of the crazy. In the absence of a lesson I roll my eyes at her and laugh as I climb my way back onto the happy branch again.
When all else fails. Laugh and do it loudly. Often
With that in mind I started my game with some heartfelt laughter and wrote down the six emotions that left me on the rain sodden ground earlier this week. I scribbled hastily on my scrap paper as I lay in the sunshine. I asked myself….
How do I bring out the good in these emotions?
Can I use my heart and mind to make them blossom into something more beautiful?
I wrote down the ways in which I try and bring out the good in me when those emotions come rolling into my mind, demanding to be listened to and cultivated. The ways in which I aim for the sky instead of turning into a crispy leaf. I asked myself…
What happens when I do these things?
What is the benefit?
Now this was absolutely a pink pen moment. A grin spread across my freckled cheeks, much like the Cheshire Cat, as I wrote down some surprising realisations of the good my efforts can bring to myself and those around me. This only took me ten minutes. Ten minutes of scribbling, exploration and a cup of green tea. It was worth every moment, just to get to know myself a little better this morning. Try it, you might be surprised at the result.
So here is my list and the discoveries I have made on my patio today. I think they have a touch of relevance to us all. They give me a ladder back onto my happy branch whenever I need it most. I hope they will do the same for you.
The feeling that tightens your chest and leads you to believe that you simply cannot do it. Ever. You will fail; your paralysis and terror tell you that is the truth. Left to her own devices Fear can be a cruel vixen indeed and magnifies with every frightened breathe you take. When Fear rises within me I try and recognise it and take a step back to focus on her arch enemy Courage. I think courageous, playful thoughts and imagine me conquering Fear with my Superhero pants on and shouting chaaaarge very loudly. I ask myself that age old question ‘What would you do if you had no fear? If you knew you couldn’t fail?’ As I start to imagine a world of possibility the fear subsides and is conveniently replaced with one of my favourite emotions. Excitement. You know who she is. The one that puts the sparkle back in your eye with her giddy tone and makes you giggle uncontrollably in anticipation.
This has to be right up there as one of the worst emotions to experience. The bitter taste of green, much like overcooked cabbage. I have moments of jealousy where I desire what others have, just like we all do. I ache for the flat stomach and long legs of the pretty people rather than my rounded little belly and the 29inchers that are apparently fully grown legs. I am jealous of the insanely kind, patient people that are always so content and able to forgive. When jealousy draws my eyebrows into a knotted, slightly wild frown I pull myself backwards to reality and focus on wishing the object of my envy joy. Wishing them every happy moment of their long legs, their contentment or whatever it is they have that I lack. I wish it with my eyes closed and with all my heart. This is not easy, especially when it involves the object of my affection and goes along the lines of ‘I wish you find the true love of your life. I wish you the woman that will bring you happiness, a lifetime of love and contentment and long legs. Even if that isn’t me’ But you know what, focusing on sending out those loving thoughts to other people brings me back to my heart. It takes me away from turning green and gives me the beautiful gift of Acceptance. I love that feeling.
Now I can really be selfish at times and I am not proud of this. As evidenced by my one rule in life….I do not share dessert, ever. That is so selfish but true and I apologise I cannot seem to change this. And there are many more selfish things I have done and will probably do in the future. But let’s not go there. When I am being selfish, thinking of me a lot and retreating from others concerns I find myself feeling ill at ease, flat and prone to pacing. Slightly odd but again true. This is quite obvious but when I find myself being selfish I intentionally focus on being selfless. I go out of my way to think about the people in my life I can do something nice for and DO IT. It doesn’t matter how small the gestures are, they help. They help bring on the number 1 feeling of them all. Love. Pure, selfless, love for those around me and for myself. She wraps her warmth around us all like a soft blanket by the log fire and makes everything okay.
I see things in other that I hate. I see others that I hate. Isn’t that a terrible thing to admit? It is an appalling, poisonous emotion and I am guilty of cultivating it at times despite knowing this. I try to be non-judgemental and compassionate but sometimes Hate gets the better of me and ties my hands behind my back with her grasp. Pours poison into my veins and it spreads rapidly. There is only one thing to do when Hate strikes. Stand still and recognise that the thing I see and hate outside of me is merely a reflection of something within me I am yet to accept. Not everyone will agree with me on this but I believe it to be true. If I hate someone it is usually because they have a quality I can’t stand and have failed to accept I too have within myself at times. With that recognition I can give myself a big mental hug, send a little self-love my way and Bingo that person no longer offends me.
We all feel the pain of loss at times. The way it leaves you feeling alone, broken and wistful of Before…that time when it was simple and there was no loss to mourn. And you know what, I have come to realise that no matter how much I dislike feeling my losses there is only one thing I can do here. Accept them. Let them sit within me, cry it out when I need to and recognise they are a part of me. They are precious gifts in my heart that have brought me compassion and understanding but they will always hurt. It’s okay that they do. There is nothing to work on here. Just let them be and move on when you are ready.
My pride, she comes from my Ego. That ridiculous character within me that likes to think I am better than others; that I cannot and must not fall from grace and in no circumstances should be vulnerable or wrong. Pride keeps me distant from the world around me, builds a horribly isolating shell that keeps me from making real connections. From being REAL. So when my pride strikes and I feel my Ego getting the better of my heart I drop her. And I drop her fast. I do everything I can to step back and recognise when she is talking – she’s that voice that is high pitched, whinges, reacts quickly and defensively to others and takes life entirely the wrong way. When I am able to recognise those moments I am rewarded with a wonderful feeling indeed. I come back to ME. The real me. The one who is made up of heart, soul, smiles and laughter. The one within me that sings every day for the joy of being alive. You know the one; the person within you that thinks life is great, doesn’t care about looking like a fool and goes out of their way to be humble and thankful. A fantastic person indeed.
If you look up you will find that version of you sitting on the happy branch. Waving at you to climb and join in.
Go for it. Enjoy and be free.