During the course of our coffee break, we discussed all the changes we’ve been experiencing lately and all the emotions that accompany change…sometimes they are obvious and other times they sneak up on you. Either way, it’s an important part of the journey to experience them as they come up…and even more important, to let them roll off of you as they pass…kind of like riding the swell of a wave. In my opinion, the two worst things we can do when emotions rise up is to (1) ignore them OR (2) hang onto them. We experience emotions for a purpose…for a moment in time, not for a life time. They should bring a release…open us up to growth…propel us forward. Whatever the purpose, it’s our job to be open to the trajection of the emotion…to allow it to move us forward and not bury us under its force.
Being several years older than my friend, she shared with me that one of the things she admired in me was that I still managed to approach life with a child-like wonder. To hear that she admired anything was an honor, but especially that. It’s something that I’ve been working to consciously cultivate for some time now. Like that of a child, I’ve been working to let my emotions roll up…out…and off me. To not become attached to them or defined by them. An emotional outburst doesn’t mean I have to live in that state of mind or feel it any longer than it lasts. It simply means that at that moment in time I’m feeling something that I need to release…to let it go so it can work itself out. Think of a child when they throw a tantrum (not to say I throw tantrums anymore, but it’s something that we’re all familiar with). What seems to come out of nowhere and often dissipates just as quickly is a child’s temper tantrum. The child isn’t defined by the outburst, nor does the child sit in sadness for the rest of the day because “well, if I’m sad now then I have to be sad for hours or maybe even days to follow.” The child just is what it is in the moment. Emotion is an expression not a definition (tweet worthy, IMO).
I think when we hit certain age milestones – whether 25 or 30 or 40 – there are societal expectations of what those milestones are supposed to represent, and we subconsciously start down certain paths whether we are ready for….interested in…or committed to it. We tend to do things because we feel the expectation of society. We see other people our age doing it and we follow suit. I’m not going to lie, it feels good to fit in but at what cost? Doesn’t it feel better to be true to who you are? As I said, I’ve been purposely working to see the world…and experience my life…through child-like eyes. To not necessarily follow the crowd. To ask “why?” rather than assume I know the answer or should know the answer. To maintain a sense of wonder at things that are beautiful and maybe a bit unexplainable. To relish the simple things like sunshine…birds singing…dogs playing. To take it all in…and feel it as I do. Sometimes that means extreme elation – you know the kind that makes your eyes water because you’re just so darn happy that the happy has to ooze out?? Sometimes it might mean sobbing because well, your heart just hurts and you don’t why.
I think Robert Fulghum nailed it when he wrote “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”. The rules are really simple….actually, so simple a kindergartener can master them, but somewhere along the line we adults forgot that life really can be — and should be — this simple. That these rules are at the heart of living and if we master them, we all might be a little happier and throw a few less tantrums.
- Share everything.
- Play fair.
- Don’t hit people.
- Put things back where you found them.
- Clean up your own mess.
- Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
- Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
- Wash your hands before you eat.
- Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
- Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
- Take a nap every afternoon.
- When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
- Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
- Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
- And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.
Not gonna lie, I’m still working to master them myself. To re-learn what I used to know and unlearn the things that no longer serve me…or the people I surround myself with.
Thank you to the beautiful Mermaid I got to have coffee with today…for acknowledging and supporting the child in me…and for being an inspiration. Namaste.