Navigating the Human Spirit
“When we feel threatened or angry, we know that we are not living exactly the way we wish to or believe in. We then assert ourselves and our values, taking the risk to step off the edge of conventionality to live the life of our choosing—and to take the consequences of that choice. When we feel maimed by giving too much or inappropriately feel put upon by other people's demands, it is time to explore what gifts are truly ours to give. We must ask, what do I really need to give to this life, and what is just placating others?”
Carol S. Pearson (The Hero Within)
Our amazing bodies have a broad range of signals. That list of emojis on our phones, even though it goes on for thee screens, doesn't truly do it justice. When we hurt ourselves, when we overdo, we feel pain that signals us that something is wrong. When we have chronic headaches, for instance, they often come from our shoulders and neck being elevated and held tight by stress and tension. Hip pain alerts us that something we are doing is causing inflammation in the joint. Pain, in and of itself, is not a bad thing—it is the body speaking to the brain.
Likewise with emotions. When we feel sad, or depressed, we should take a look at our life and what may be the source of our sadness. It's reasonable to be sad when we experience loss. All mammals feel sad when someone they love dies or leaves. It would be unreasonable not to feel sad at such times. When we feel sad all the time, however, even when no loss is involved, it is time to seek professional help. When we feel angry, tracking back the source of our anger beyond the trigger that set it off, is a good idea. Sometimes anger is justified, even essential, and sometimes it comes from unresolved issues we carry from our past. If we work with those issues, we may resolve our anger and be less susceptible to it in the future. Anger is a difficult and corrosive emotion to carry all the time; it hurts us, and may cause us to hurt others. Still, it is a signal that lets us know something untoward it going on and we should pay attention.
Emotions, in and of themselves, are good signals to have, but we don't want to be ruled by them. We want to get past being swamped by any emotion, and get to awareness that we are feeling them, and then allow them to teach us. We will not ever get rid of our emotions—we're hard-wired for them—but we do well to remember that they are sign posts and not destinations. Sometimes, we feel angry and/or sad because we are allowing others to dictate how we live our lives; or because we don't have the gumption to live the way we want to and need to. It is sometimes a “have your cake and eat it too” situation—we want to live life our own way, and we want others to approve of it. It takes courage to live according to one's own lights—to live unconventionally. The mainstream will not like it until it becomes, well, mainstream. So, you can either live the way you want, and let them live they way they want, and be happy about it, or you can be angry and/or sad all the time. Exploring and navigating the human spirit and psyche is an adventure of discovery—well worth the journey, but it takes a courageous and heroic soul to do it.
In the Spirit,