If we were learning to master the piano, we’d miss a lot if we only played in one section. Like with us, a piano only comes into it’s full expression when the high and low notes are in partnership.
We are needing to be aware of the interplay between our outer and inner worlds. Each influences the other, whether we realise it or not. Continue reading Playing the full spectrum of our emotions
The importance of a well-matched pair
I (Elizabeth) love the stories of my great grandfather who ran a wagon-making business in Wagenmakersvallei (now Wellington, W Cape). It was from this village that people continued by wagon over the mountains into the interior. Together with the high quality of the carriages, he was also strict with the pairing of his horses to pull the wagons. He was meticulous at matching the strength and personality of each pair. For once, a mis-matched pair had pulled unevenly, overturning the carriage, causing my great-grandmother to miscarry.
Integrating the spiritual and physical realities
Our two realities, the seen and unseen, are like these horses. They are meant to pull together seamlessly, but all too often don’t. We over-drive our physical reality and leave undeveloped and neglected our spiritual one. Instead of being in sync, this disconnection causes us to ‘pull’ in unhelpful directions. We see this when we focus mainly on succeeding in our work arena to the detriment of our family’s well-being, causing grave harm. Or, when we say we believe that relationships are important yet in actuality have them last on our ‘to do’ list.
Slowing down so we can hear our inner drivers
Jesus wants us to find increasing cohesion and integration. If we slow down and stop the gallop of our known world, and create spaces where we are really still with God, we can nurture sensitivity to that unseen and often neglected reality inside us. Within, we find emotions that are taking us along a particular path. We have made assumptions about life that drive those emotions and carry unquestioned beliefs that we hold fast to.
Finding healing in the light of God’s love
If we, with Jesus, can gently see where our emotions lead us, we will come to understand better what causes us to choose the behaviour that we do. We can help the healing of those parts of ourselves as we own and acknowledge them in the light of God’s love. We will find joy as we sense ourselves coming to journey through life in a more integrated, connected way – and like with those horses, enjoy the ride so much more!
Just as we have a body, we have an inner self. There are similarities between our physical and our unseen parts. If we reflect on our body and how we care for it, we can learn a lot about about how to tend to our inner ‘body’. Just as we eat well and exercise to keep healthy, so too we nurture and love our inner self.
Continue reading “Where does it hurt?” Healing our wounds in order to live more fully
It is easy not to share the real person – to resort to more superficial banter and avoid how we really feel. We all have a fairly predictable emotional landscape, a behaviour pattern which formed through our childhood. This shows us which feelings rattle us, which we try to avoid, and those we try to generate more of. In this way we often rely on past feelings to try to manage our present emotional framework. Pervasive emotional preferences like fear, anger and despair may grow and over time will be reflected in our faces and bodies. Continue reading Levels of Learning to Love – Sharing Emotions
Ridding ourselves of problematic emotions is not the answer. Like a learner driver, we can learn to manage the powerful thrusts we experience.
Ridding ourselves of problematic emotions
Often people will think of their anxiety, fear and anger just as problematic, negative emotions. They are feelings that they’d prefer to get rid of. However, these strong emotions are needed by us in order to live each day. All three are engineered into our bodies.
It is possible to manage our emotions
What we need is to learn how to manage these emotions because if they do things in us that we can’t control they do cause big problems and harm. Like learning to drive a car we need time to learn how to engage these feelings, to find ways to stop them from making us jerk or stall so we can move more smoothly through life. Continue reading Learning to Manage Problematic Emotions
How did it start?
Our experiences under the age of three gave us emotions from which we made assumptions about our world. Around us were others that modelled what permissible behaviour was, but often what they said we must do was idealized and different from what they did themselves. We tested life out for ourselves reinforcing learnt patterns into the foundation of our being. So our practiced behaviour became our way of engaging with reality. Continue reading Our Journey of Anger
Often we identify with the feelings we have and make them so part of our identity that we can’t separate from them. We say, for example, ‘I am angry,’ or ‘I am fearful,’ instead of, ‘Sometimes I experience anger or fear.’ We shape our thoughts, and receive them from others, but we are not our thoughts and feelings. We need to take responsibility for every feeling. They should not be our masters, but be our servants.
We often associate with having fear negatively. We see it as something that we need to control and get rid of. But all our feelings, including fear, are important messengers. Continue reading Feel the Fear and Give it Containment
We have each developed patterns of behaviour in order to ensure our feeling of belonging. Rejection is what we fear the most, but we compromise ourselves a lot in order to avoid this. If we wait for others to validate and define us, we disempower ourselves and lose our sense of who we are. No one can do for us what we need to do for ourselves, for if we struggle to love ourselves, how can anyone else?
The emotional landscape we experienced as children profoundly affected us. Continue reading Anxiety From Assumptions
Facing what we find when the tide goes out
With so much information available to us now at the touch of a button, it’s easy to think that ‘we know.’ This attitude will actually jam our whole process of relating. Much of what we know of ourselves was what we were told; it was learnt behaviour. And if we stop and look at our relational patterns, we can see what ways we’ve been taught. We can affirm and continue in those patterns or we can choose to change them. It’s like we’ve been given a room to live in which is full of another person’s taste in furnishings. We can leave it as it is for security’s sake or we can make it our own while keeping some of the things that are ‘us’. Continue reading Learning to Know Ourselves
Understanding our mom’s past brings clarity and compassion to our own story
In order for each of us to become our own person we need to leave our mother’s force field. Co-dependence with her is easy and good as a starting point, but it’s not a good ending point.
To help young men and women with this journey to self-hood, many cultures have rituals which are significant both for the mother and her child. For us in the West, often all we get when we turn 21 is a key that doesn’t fit anywhere or open anything. For us it’s an ongoing process of learning to trust our way of seeing instead of always deferring to our mother’s opinion. This isn’t an easy shift as, for many of our growing years, her well-intentioned choices decided how we should behave in ways she felt were socially appropriate. We often conformed without question simply for fear of rejection or being ostracized. Continue reading Our Mother’s Moulding