Your Emotions: Like Herding Cats
March 19, 2013
I don’t know about you, but my emotions have sometimes gone from a range of 1 to 10 almost every day. Some said I was too sensitive. Some said I was a drama queen. Some said I wasted too much time thinking and obsessing about the past. But, honestly, my emotions were like a frigging herd of cats. They barely obeyed, they ate off of the table, they scratched at any stationary posts, they hissed, they purred, and sometimes they slept softly on your chest.
Emotions are based on the heart center or chakra. When we live in our bodies, we feel; there’s no question. We experience every thing with our human senses and in our deductive minds. But here’s the key: Our range of emotions is dictated by our past data input. The rate of emotional outpouring forming our souls is based on how much time we spend focusing on the connection between our body and mind in a negative way.
In yoga we practice containing and restraining the mind-body connection by persevering through tenuous and sometimes luxurious stretches and strength moves. Each of these moves is dictated by our conscious-deductive mind. By learning to control the body with the mind and to lean into pain, lean into stretches, we begin to understand the mechanics of the mind-body paradigm and can use it for our emotional benefit.
The practice of meditation can even further this process by taking you from your mind and body and into a place called the “observer mind” or the subconscious. This is the place where we dream, watch ourselves from beyond the body with compassion, and, most importantly, create supreme change in our futures by planting seeds for the future deep in our soul.
If you are dealing with a wide range of emotions in a day, there is also a good chance that you may need to be on an antidepressant. This is not a bad thing. Antidepressants limit the extreme ups and downs in our emotions and create balance in our brain. Some people can take hold of this chemical process and learn their big life’s lessons on psychotropic drugs, and others just need to find other ways to diffuse all the confusing ranges of emotions that life brings by doing something organic.
For me, I do a combination of both. (Balance pleases me.) I have been on a low dosage of an antidepressant for almost twenty years. I have tried to come off of it, and what comes of it is a slow movement toward depression. After battling depression my entire life, I’ve decided that I can take a $4-a-month prescription every morning and live almost a normal life. But combined with this chemical “helper,” I also have to aid myself in understanding the mind-body paradigm by doing yoga and meditating daily.
These two practices have opened my heart and mind to a wider range of emotions than the antidepressant hadn’t allowed for many years. But now I feel a fuller range of feelings because I can take deeper breaths (the pranayama), sit with the feelings I may have when something bad happens (meditation), or work with a physical injury by understanding the ever decreasing range of motions that an older body receives (in the asana or movement portion of yoga).
It’s no secret that as you get older you lose range of motion and strength. It happens to all of us at different rates. But I know I have stayed stronger, younger, and more pliable with the practice of yoga in my life.
Emotions are just things to me now. They come and go everyday. I don’t spend as much time feeling them as I do “watching them” in my life. I tend to become an observer of emotions and watch how life can turn on a dime. One moment I can find out something depressing. The next second I can have the love of my life knock at my door. Emotions are fleeting and should be treated as such. They are human and ephemeral, at best.
As a wise Tibetan Buddhist said that emotions are like fish swimming in a river beneath the bridge on which you stand. You can feed the fish. They will pop up and beg for your attention and for food. Or you can simply let them pass by and gaze at the beauty of perpetual life—the ups and the downs of there lovely movement.
I have a Koi pond and I know that those fish that swim freely need to be fed. And they are also subject to snakes that hover around the pond that lunge head first into the water to try to catch them. Then there are also blue herons with long necks and crafty flight patterns that wait for them to sun bathe and will fly down and snatch one faster than you can blink your eye.
Our emotions, too, are subject to that same kind of wily predators. They can catch you and torture you until you are writhing in pain and hoping for death. It is the law of nature. But the smart fish swim deep into the bottom of the pond and wait until the last moment to grab the food, after I have been long gone from watching the smaller fish feed.
I’m not saying bury your emotions. They can swim freely sometimes. Other times they need to be carefully watched. You have to understand the connection of each emotion to your past and see if you are reliving your same patterns over and over again. If that is the case, then it is the time to begin to use the tools you learned in yoga and meditation to sit with yourself and rein in your fears and anxieties. See how much easier it is once you have committed to a practice of understanding that beautiful mind/body/spirit paradigm.
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Bo Sebastian is a Hypnotherapist and Life & Health Coach, available for private sessions to QUIT SMOKING, Lose Weight, New Lap-Band Hypnosis for Weight Loss, CHANGE YOUR MIND, CHANGE YOUR LIFE! at 615-400-2334 or www.bosebastian.com.
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