Owning Your Emotions
Name It and Claim It
Our feelings can sometimes present a very challenging aspect of our lives. We experience intense emotions without understanding precisely why
and consequently find it difficult to identify the solutions that will soothe our distressed minds and hearts. Yet it is only when we are capable of naming our feelings that we can tame them by
finding an appropriate resolution. We retake control of our personal power by becoming courageous enough to articulate, out loud and concisely, the essence of our emotions. Our assuming ownership
of the challenges before us in this way empowers us to shift from one emotional state to another—we can let go of pain and upset because we have defined it, examined the effect it had on our
lives, and then exerted our authority over it by making it our own. By naming our feelings, we claim the right to divest ourselves of them at will.
As you prepare to acknowledge your feelings aloud, gently remind yourself that being specific is an important part of exercising control. Whatever the nature of your feelings, carefully define the reaction taking place within you. If you are afraid of a situation or intimidated by an individual, try not to mince words while giving voice to your anxiety. The precision with which you express yourself is indicative of your overall willingness to stare your feelings in the face without flinching. Naming and claiming cannot always work in the vacuum of the soul. There may be times in which you will find the release you desire only by admitting your feelings before others. When this is the case, your ability to outline your feelings explicitly can help you ask for the support, aid, or guidance you need without becoming mired in the feelings that led you to make such an admission in the first place.
When you have moved past the apprehension associated with expressing your distressing feelings out loud, you may be surprised to discover that you feel liberated and lightened. This is because the act of making a clear connection between your circumstances and your feelings unravels the mystery that previously kept you from being in complete control of your emotional state. To give voice to your feelings, you must necessarily let them go. In the process, you naturally relax and rediscover your emotional equilibrium.
In our youth-oriented culture, the process of aging is not honored as it once was. There have been societies that looked to those who were older for
leadership, understanding that their life experiences must have brought some wisdom with them. Our society tends to put more value on looking youthful, so when the time comes that we don't look,
move, or feel the way we once did, this causes a sudden jolt to our perception of ourselves. We can look at this shift as a crisis and fight against change, or we can take the opportunity to
transition smoothly to a new phase of life.
We spend our youth learning who we are and what we are capable of accomplishing. As we set and reach our goals, it is easy to identify ourselves by our roles. At some point we may feel very comfortable in the idea that we have a complete understanding of ourselves. This is, inevitably, when things change and we get to see ourselves from a new perspective. Those who have reached their goals may wonder where to go from there, feeling uncomfortable with the new choice of parts to play. Others may have to let go of an identity that was built around a goal that was not reached and decide from what foundation to rebuild. Although it can be challenging to shift into a new expression of self, we may find that we're better suited for this fresh path of self-discovery and the new perspective it brings.
Whether we find ourselves facing a midlife crisis or any life transition, we can take the time to get in touch with our inner selves. From the unchanging spirit within us, we can accept and embrace the changes that come with the human experience. Examining where we've been and what we've learned can point in the direction of all that we would like to do now and in the future. When we anchor our identity in our spiritual nature, we understand that physical change does not change who we are, but only offers another perspective from which to experience, understand, and celebrate life
Echoes of Happiness
As children, we laugh hundreds of times each day, delighted by the newness of living. When we reach adulthood, however, we tend to not allow
ourselves to let go in a good belly laugh. Inviting laughter back into our lives is simply a matter of making the conscious decision to laugh. Though most of us are incited to laugh only when
exposed to humor or the unexpected, each of us is capable of laughing at will. A laugh that comes from the belly carries with it the same positive effects whether prompted by a funny joke or
consciously willed into existence. When our laughter comes from the core of our being, it permeates every cell in our physical selves, beginning in the center and radiating outward, until we are
not merely belly laughing but rather body laughing.
Laughter has been a part of the human mode of expression since before evolution granted us the art of speech. Through it, we connected with allies while demonstrating our connection with people we didn't know. In the present, laughter allows us to enjoy positive shared experiences with strangers and loved ones alike. Yet solitary laughter carries with it its own slew of benefits. An energetic and enthusiastic bout of whole-body laughter exercises the muscles, the lungs, and the mind in equal measure, leaving us feeling relaxed and content. When we laugh heartily at life's ridiculousness instead of responding irritably, our focus shifts. Anger, stress, guilt, and sadness no longer wield any influence over us, and we are empowered to make light of what we originally feared. Laughter also opens our hearts, letting love and light in, changing our perspective, and enabling us to fix our attention on what is positive in our lives.
It is easy to laugh when we feel good, but it is when the world appears dim that we most need laughter in our lives. Our laughter then resonates through our hearts, filling the empty spaces with pure, unadulterated joy. We regain our footing in the moment and remember that no sorrow is powerful enough to rob us of our inborn happiness. When we understand that uninhibited laughter is the food of the soul, nourishing us from within, we know instinctively that life is worthwhile.
Uncover Your True Face
Underneath the Mask
Many of us know the feeling of being stuck in a particular role within our families, as if we are wearing masks whenever we see the people we love. Maybe we
are the good daughters, expected to always please others, or perhaps we are the family clowns, expected to be jovial and make everyone laugh. This same scenario can play out within a work situation
or a group of friends. We may be so good at our role that we hardly even notice that we are wearing a mask, and yet, deep down, we know that we are not free to simply be who we really are. This can
leave us feeling unseen and uneasy.
There is nothing inherently wrong with wearing a mask or playing a role. It is a natural part of any social dynamic and it can even be creative and fun. It only becomes a problem when you feel that you have no other choice than to wear that mask, and this is especially challenging if you realize you are never without one. Perhaps you have forgotten who you really are—a vast and unrestricted being of light—and have identified yourself completely with a role. You may be the dutiful, caring son who keeps his parents' dysfunctional marriage intact. You may be the angelic wife who enables your husband to continue on a destructive path. You may be the cheerful daughter to a deeply depressed mother. Whatever the case, knowing the motivation behind your performance—the function of your mask—can help to uncover your true face.
Anytime we find ourselves stuck behind a mask, it is an indication that we are entangled in a dysfunctional dynamic in which our true self cannot be seen. We have been placed in this situation for the purpose of our own healing and, in some cases, the healing of others. From this perspective, life can be seen as a series of situations that call us to remove our masks—gently, and with great compassion for all concerned—to reveal the beauty underneath.
Making It Happen
Go for It
There are times in our lives when all the signs seem to be pointing us in a particular direction. Our thoughts and dreams are echoed in the
songs and stories we hear and the media we see. Maybe the message we are getting from the universe doesn't even make sense in the "real" world, but somewhere inside, these urges feel right. Maybe
you feel you are being told to move to a new city although your life where you are is just fine. Or maybe you feel the desire to pursue a new direction in your career when it never really
interested you before. When we spend time getting in touch with our higher selves, our intuition sends us directives to lead us to become our best and most fulfilled selves. And when we are open
and listening, the next step is to take action and go for it.
Once we make the decision to pursue our inner urgings, the universe sets into motion the means for all sorts of details to fall into place. A sense of peace will come over us, because we know that any questions will no longer make us wonder if our dreams are possible, but how to make them happen. Instead of deterring us from our goal, these questions only serve to clarify our focus to move us forward. We need not throw caution to the wind to follow our dream. The positive shift in our energy affects everything around us. Like a rush of water, it goes ahead to clear debris from our path so that we can go forward. Our new attitude also attracts likeminded people. Sometimes even the most unlikely angels arrive to help us along our way with the information and support we need.
Wherever your dreams are pointing you today, take a step. Take action and manifest your inner urges and soul whisperings.
The Whole Is Greater
Women's circles are formal or informal gatherings in the interest of bonding, sharing energy, and creating ritual. The origins of women's circles are
ancient, but their applications are as modern as the women who participate in them. There are no hard and fast rules as to how to form a women's circle or how to run one. Some circles invent their
own agendas, rituals, goals, and ceremonies, while others borrow ideas from sources as far-ranging as Buddhist or Native American cultures. Some circles are open to new members at all times, while
others prefer to practice with a set number of members, closing the circle once that number is reached.
In a typical gathering, the women who are present sit in a circle. Generally, for the sake of cohesiveness, one woman is chosen to lead the circle each time. Allowing a different woman to lead each meeting allows for a multi-perspective approach to the process. One circle leader may choose to create and teach a ritual involving using the voice to release negative energy, while at the next meeting another leader may feel inspired to lead a silent meditation. On the other hand, a circle may choose to be more focused over the long term and gather around a particular intention, such as working together to determine a course for healing Mother Earth. When the healing feels complete, the women may choose to stay together with a new focus for their work, or the circle may disband.
At their best, women's circles perfectly illustrate the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The work that can be accomplished within the loving embrace of our sisters is far more powerful than what we could achieve on our own. If you are not already part of a circle, you may want to start one. Follow your intuition as to the women with whom you'd like to work, reach out to them, and set a date to begin. After that, you can simply allow the circle to create itself. Men need not be forgotten when it comes to circles and they, too, can come together to form their own circles and create strong bonds and healing in a way that is specific to all men.