Monday, July 29, 2013

Life is an adventure . . . don't miss a single moment!

A monsoon rain storm backlit by the sun
I was thinking about all the ups and downs in life and my tendency to categorize every life event as either a good experience or a bad experience.  The good experiences all share uplifting emotions and the bad experiences' commonality is uncomfortable emotional reactions.  In the process of categorizing my experiences I realized that I am actually missing half of my life's adventures.  When I discount any of those experiences that are attached to uncomfortable emotions, I have missed some of the most important moments of my life.  The mechanism that reinforces this tendency is cultural and familial too.  The culture in the U.S. has reinforced that we should be happy all of the time and families frequently lack the skills to effectively manage relationship conflicts.  This robs us of our experience.  Add dysfunctional family interactions and you have a recipe for disaster.  Have you noticed how many publications feature stories on how to be happy?  Happiness actually is a personal choice.  We are all in charge of our happiness, but what about all that interferrence that seeks to rain on our parade??  Wow, now that's a force to be reckoned with.  Add in chronic illness that is poorly understood and life experiences can be less than optimal.

A wildfire smoke plume over my house
I have found that when I embrace all of my experiences throughout the day and savor those experiences, I don't lose half my life experience to categories that fail to be beneficial.  Have you felt the heat of an angry emotion?  I don't stuff that away in hope of never finding it again.  I feel that heat and I don't make excuses for it.  I savor the power of that emotion, but I also make sure I direct the tremendous power of the emotion in the right place.  Sadness and grief are other emotions that are carefully stuffed away when that is part of our human experience.  We have the power to move our emotions around as though they are chess pieces in a game of life rather than experiencing every emotion as a part of our life adventure.  When all our life experiences become an integrated experience that is full of every emotional reaction available in our repetoire, our lives automatically become fuller and happier.

My desert willow in bloom
Do you have relationships that are less than optimal for your emotional health??  I'm thinking that we all do.  So the question is "What do you want to do with those relationships?"  Some people in our lives prefer to conjure up those "hot" emotions to push our emotional balance off kilter.  Those people can be so toxic to our life experience and we are in charge of giving them that power.  When people in our lives attempt to rob us of our full emotional experience that provides a balance in our lives, it is probably time to rethink those relationships.  It really is not part of the plan for us to be experiencing one set of emotions over another set.  Relationships that focus us on anger, low self worth, jealousy, envy and other emotions in that "hot" zone are probably not the best relationships to help us maintain our emotional balance.  My tactic is to either limit exposure to those people or to eliminate those people from my life experience.  They don't get to take part in my life adventure.  And when I do eliminate those people from my life, I am always vigilant and on the lookout for those people to sneak back in.  The most frequent way those people try to sneak back in is when I think about those people and their previous behaviors.  I do it to myself!!  Amazing, huh?  It's important to really close the door so those people can't get back in.  Don't give those people power no matter who they are.  These people are lurking everywhere . . . in a doctor's office, in a store, or in our own homes.  They are family, friends and acquaintances.  Not everyone means us well and it's good to know who those people are.

Don't forget to listen . . .
When I begin to wrestle with an emotion I think about the mechanism that sustains those feelings and I make decisions about what I want to do with the information I have.  When I resolve a nagging emotion I feel so much better and I feel liberated, but I don't discount the experience or push it away.  After all it's part of my total experience and I don't want to miss a single moment!  Blessings to you as you savor every life experience and the power of the emotions that are connected to that experience, and enjoy your total life adventure . . .