Holy mother of pearl – life is full of dramatically opposing experiences and feelings right now. It feels like it’s one big house party where every damn emotion in the neighborhood is showing up. Fear- gratitude - joy - stress - hope - fun - excitement- loneliness - grief - overwhelm - empathy - frustration - happiness - sadness - anxiety - worry - pride - compassion...ALL of it!!
My default setting wants control. I’m having to work hard to keep from throwing up a road block to start controlling who gets in and out. My brain wants to grab a label maker, start tagging and sorting all the feelings into good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable…oof!!
My kids just bought their first home…Yay, I’m excited, proud, joyful. They’ll be moving up into the mountains. I won’t see them every day like I do now. Won’t lie – that breaks my heart a bit, kinda sad.
Then there’s the damn COVID pandemic with all the anxious, worried and fearful feelings that come with along with the uncertainty. But my peeps are all safe and healthy so I’m grateful and hopeful we will all be okay. And I work for a frontline healthcare company delivering testing, which has me feeling incredibly proud and excited to be able to make a positive contribution, but the demand on me has been overwhelming at times and the pressure tremendous…and that’s been so stressful. But hey – I’m able to do what I do from the safety of my home right now. So I’m feeling damn grateful for that. On and on it goes.
Does it feel like this for you too Sis? Like one big party of emotions…and all of it just keeps showing up and most of it is uninvited?
My old codependent perfectionist self would stand like a bouncer at the door trying to control it all. Deciding which feelings were good and bad, which were allowed to be there and which weren’t. A futile attempt to control the uncontrollable – and in doing so, I denying myself the right to the full experience of life – one that’s messy, unpredictable, and fully human. As part of my perfectionist codependent recovery, I had to learn that there are no good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable emotions. That all emotions serve a purpose – even the difficult ones are there to give us information. Nothing more – nothing less. I had to learn that all my emotions deserve a place, and that trying to control who showed up wasn’t serving me. It wasn’t allowing me to be fully human. I learned that staying open and welcoming them all to the party was much better way to live.
So that’s what I’ve been doing this week – welcoming them ALL to the party! The emotions that feel good and the ones that are difficult. I’m welcoming them and listening to what they came to tell me. The sadness tells me I am blessed to be connected with my children. Fear and anxiety tell me to pay attention. The pressure reminds me that how I show up matters, and the stress calls me to take care of myself.
Like I said, this doesn’t come natural to me. So the simple meditation below helps me to stay open and keep the bouncer away from the door. Try it for yourself. If you’re like me, and you can be judgey and controlling with your emotions, you may find it useful. I also use it as a powerful little mantra on the regular. Whenever I notice myself judging an emotion and wanting to push it away. I stop and say, “Hey there (name the emotion). There you are, Welcome to the party!!” It’s amazing to me how this simple little phrase can shift my entire energy from one of resistance and stuckness to openness and flow.
Welcome to the party Meditation
1. Sit with your eyes closed and take a few deep breaths.
2. Now simply turn your focus to your natural breath.
3. As you focus on your breath just notice the emotions as they show up. No judgement – just notice.
4. As they appear you can gently welcome them by naming them and (internally) saying….” Sadness, joy, anger, excitement (fill in the blank)…Welcome to the party.”
5. Return your attention to your breath, allowing the emotion to pass
6. Welcome the next in the same way. Then the next.
7. Continue for 10-15 minutes. Take a few deep breaths before opening your eyes.
Here’s what I have come to know for sure. All of our emotions matter. And when we stop judging them and trying to control which are allowed in. When we learn to welcome them all with gentleness and curiosity….they come, they give us information, and they leave. They do not destroy us. Rather they give us the gift of being a messy, imperfect, wondrous, and fully human being. And that is exactly what you and I are meant for. We are not meant to be a bouncer standing at the door, we are meant to be right there in the middle of our own party - talking with our guests, dancing, eating drinking laughing and experiencing ALL of it. Living life to it’s fullest means getting out in it -smack in the middle of the big beautiful messy party. Your party, my party – that’s where life is happening. Let’s not miss it standing at the door.