307 – November 3
“You can’t see the sun when you’re crying.”—American Proverb
Feelings run our lives. We go to movies, theater productions, watch television, and listen to music in order to feel the emotions they evince in us. Emotions are the game. We choose “three-hanky” movies, scary horror films, super-spy thrillers, fast-action adventures, romantic fairy tales, racy sex sagas, uplifting spiritual stories, dark, seamy sordid stories of hopelessness and despair. We want to feel the adrenaline rush joy of the lovers, the anxious fear of the threatened heroine, the shrieking mourning of the lost, the epiphanies of the saved. Sometimes we walk out of the theater wishing our lives were really like that. Sometimes we walk out and thank God our lives aren’t like that. But in each case, we go there for the emotional fix, that adrenaline juice cocktail that spices up our lives.
The problem is that we think that it’s the movie that produces our emotions and that it’s our lives that make us feel the way we do. But the opposite is true. We choose the movie, and we choose the life in order to feel particular emotions we’ve gotten into the habit of feeling. That’s why some people choose fulfilling marriages over and over, while others choose emotional firing ranges. We look at the outside circumstances of our lives and then say the circumstances are responsible for the way we feel. But we choose the circumstances in order to feel this particular way, just like we choose a movie. Then habit takes over, and we reproduce the same circumstances and the same emotions over and over, forgetting that we set it up this way.
Want to feel richer? Happier? Calmer? More loved? Each day, sit quietly and think about a past incident in your life when you felt the positive emotion you want to feel again. Remember the exact circumstances, where you were, what the place you were in looked like, what season of the year it was, what smells, sounds, textures were present, who was there with you. Then concentrate on what happened and how you felt, moment by moment. Feel the feelings as if it was all happening again, right now in this moment. This is a technique, called “emotional recall,” that actors use to reproduce emotional states.
Practice feeling the emotions you want in your life. And stop reveling in emotions you don’t want. Don’t tell the abuse story anymore, don’t argue with your spouse over the same old thing, don’t talk about your exhaustion, your resentment, your depression. Don’t go to the horror movie today. Decide to live in the emotional space you desire and your outer circumstances will start to change to match.
“I feel happier, richer, and more loved and loving every day!”
There are so many emotions I relish recalling – like our family reunion in North Carolina. I loved visiting with my cousins and their families – how our love grows through succeeding generations. Puts a big smile on my face every time. The circle of life and love expands. Think on these things and enjoy your day today.