Sunday, June 6, 2010

Don't Bite The Hook: A Lesson in Experiencing My Emotions

Since I turned 26 a couple weeks ago, I have really taken on how I deal with my own personal emotions, reactions, and responses to all that goes on in the world and all the experiences, both positive & negative, that I encounter on a daily basis. I downloaded Pema Chodron's audio book "Don't Bite The Hook: How to Free Yourself from Anger, Resentment & Regret," on my iPod and in my pockets of downtime, bus commuting, and waiting in line, I put in the earbuds and listen.
Now, if you know me, I love to read. One of the greatest things about reading (I think), is the physical holding of the book, the turning of the pages, the deep, intense stare that is generated by each word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter that the author creates through this amazing art. It's like they are in the room with you but not...

Anyway, I started listening to this audio book and it is starting to inch its way through my ears, brain, and my soul. I love it. For once in my life, I am starting to understand my emotions-especially my anger which has been this dark, elephant like thing in my life that up until now, I choose not to really acknowledge or be with, but rather experience it from the reactionary stance. I am learning that anger has a lot in common with heroin, alcohol, and food. Actually, anger can easily be addictive in the sense that it can feel so good and end up so bad. What I am learning is that I can choose whether I go down that path or not. I can choose whether I feed that "hot under the collar" feeling or not. I get to choose.

Anyway, this idea of not biting the hook, going down that road of distress, can also be applied elsewhere in life. Think about the state of the world, the state of the economy, the oil spill in the Gulf, the unemployment rates, the discontent among many with life in general. We get to choose our reactions, how we get to be about something. We don't have to bite the hook of negativity, stress, gossip, depression. When we step back and notice our reactions without judgement, there is an unbelievable amount of freedom we get to experience and the best thing about it, we get to live in a place of love, not fear.

In this new study of my self, I am really noticing a huge difference in my own life and my own relationships. This is a bit magical. Perhaps you could call it a heightened level of maturity, a big step towards that "enlightenment" thing, or perhaps its just simply slowing down and being okay with what is, even if it does make me upset or irked. My hope is that I can wake up most days carrying this forward. I know that my anger is my teacher and that usually the anger is covering up a deep seeded pain for me personally. Even that pain can be a wise teacher into acknowledging my own needs and personal boundaries.

So what I leave you with is the encouragement and empowerment to discover an emotion you want to start working with. It can be anything-boredom, lust, happiness, sadness, grief. Either way, start to work with it and let it be your teacher.

One more thing: Just as easily as you can get hooked, you can get unhooked.