How to Grasp this Opportunity to Listen to Your Emotions

Experience your place of power.

John Walter 🌍Apr 4 · 5 min read

Photo by Sebastian Palomino from Pexels

With plenty of time on our hands, we have an opportunity to get to know our emotional world. Some of you will be spending most of your time alone or with your small family group.

You may be returning home to be isolation after an anxious and fraught shift as a key worker and carrying back the fear that you may be infecting your loved ones.

Neglecting your emotional world would be a dangerous mistake.

I spent a day in a small rural hospital yesterday. The ward I was on had six patients and twenty-four empty beds. Usually, it is full, with several on the waiting list. In anticipation of waves of Coronavirus patients, they had cancelled routine visits.

The paramedics rushed me in after a 1-hour journey where they had been pumping me full of morphine to combat the pain of severe renal colic. Big hand-drawn signs met us with arrows and the words Hot and Cold. Presumably shorthand for Covid19 symptoms or the lack of them.

Illustration by John Walter

There were lots of staff standing around. We were in the lobby for several minutes as people checked with their superiors on the protocols in these circumstances.

For twenty-four hours, I was powerless. I gave myself over to these professionals. They were coping with extreme anxiety and powerlessness. Coming in each day, wondering if this is the day that it all kicks off and they would be submerged by a tsunami of patients fighting for their lives.

What can we do with all the emotions swirling around at such a time?

Forget all the advice:

How to deal with your emotions — control your feelings — flush out — regulate — improve — master…

They all set up emotions as your enemy. Where did that come from?

Your emotions are your friend, guide, informer, a record of experience.

Emotional experiences, whether good or bad, leave strong traces in the brainScholarpedia

Emotions are part of our survival mechanisms. They perform an essential function in our whole development as a socialised human being.

Intense emotional events prompt the body to create chemicals or hormones like oxytocin. These chemicals have the effect of imprinting the event in our memories.

We get cuddles, it feels nice, we seek out more cuddles — a survival mechanism. We get bitten it hurts, we are frightened, we avoid bitey things — a survival mechanism.

We remember intense events in fantastic detail. That is the direct result of the emotions we were feeling at the time.

57-year-old memory

I have a vivid image of the moment I heard that President Kennedy was shot. I was at an agricultural show, and a reporter leapt out of his Exhibition stand and shouted it at the top of his voice. I can sense what the weather was like, who I was with and just the shock of it.

48-year-old memory

I can also remember being in a club late at night with the girl I loved. She took a sip of southern comfort, turned my face towards hers and kissed me. Slowly releasing the Southern Comfort into my mouth. My memory is engraved with a picture, the colours, the tastes, the smell of patchouli.

Controlling — mastering — managing your emotions is the logical thing to do… Isn’t it?

Depression, anxiety and panic attacks are not a sign of weakness. They are signs of trying to remain strong far to long. Robin Williams

Sometimes logical approaches can be downright dangerous. Trying to remain strong, coping with adversity. This is the emotions we are talking about! Apply logical processes to logical events, but not to your emotions!

Where is the power in emotions?

My featured picture shows a person sat watching a huge waterfall. It is a very restful thing to do. Have you tried this or something similar? Something with immense power and energy laid out in front of you, and it gives you a feeling of peace to just watch it.

Imagine all that water was your emotions.

What happens if you dive in? You probably drown as you are swept away. Can you control or regulate the water? No, you just have to let it pass. You are powerless in the face of that mass of water. Unable to do anything other than sit and watch, or maybe drink a few drops in your cupped hands.

Consider everything that body of water carries.

scientists believe that as water travels it picks up and stores information from all of the places that it has travelled through, which can thereby connect people to a lot of different places and sources of information when they drink this water, depending on the journey that it has been on. (Resonance)

Consider the futility of capturing one drop of water and analysing it. Compare that with the power that comes from taking in the immensity of the whole body of water as it passes you and how that connects you with the rest of humanity. Let your awareness expand further to your connection with the plants, the animals, the minerals of the earth. Take another step and appreciate the link to the past, the future and all the matter and antimatter in the universe.

Can you allow your emotions to flow past you in that way?

Can you observe rather than process or do anything that tries to modify your emotions? Can you appreciate how every emotion is connecting you with every moment of your past and future life?

On my journey to the hospital, I did just that. My body went in and out of consciousness. My kidney was in spasm, and I vomited several times. My body began to shake uncontrollably.

I observed myself slipping into unconsciousness. That was a good feeling because for a moment; there was no pain. I felt the presence of my deceased daughter Holly. I looked back over my life. I considered the possibility that I would just slip away now and not come back. That would be fine by me under the current circumstances.

I felt very calm knowing that whatever was going to happen would happen and it was beyond my control. Also, if I did try to exert any control over my circumstances or emotions, it would be a waste of energy.

Can you sit in the mess of your emotions like this and observe them?

No analysis. No judgement.

You have no control over them. They have no control over you.

That is your place of power. Observing life’s circumstances passing by and observing the flow of your emotions. Whatever action you need to take will be taken, but not as an emotional reaction, as a natural response to the direction of flow.

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