I love to learn. I’ve got my podcasts and a ever increasing pile of books; my coaching group, TED Talks, NPR and a selection of scientific journals. I am never at a loss for material on my favorite topics — anything about the brain, our emotions and overall wellness.
My heart is that of both a student and a teacher. I am blessed with the ability to translate something complex in to a simple story or metaphor. This is where I am going to tell you the story of my dirty laundry.
I was sitting in therapy and said something to effect of that I don’t worry about myself as long as my emotions are not stuck on a super high spin cycle or totally absent like the power has gone out. The image of a washing machine popped into my head. I am a human washing machine!
I experience emotions similar to the cycles on a washing machine. Sometimes my stomach mimics the delicate cycle; slow agitation and cool water. Calm waters.
Other times my stomach defaults to a robust permanent press cycle where it’s all business as usual. No fuss — just wash and dry.
Every so often I have a heavy load, requiring a good pre-soaking to remove built-up grime; plus an extra spin cycle to squeeze out the excess.
I have become sensitive to how my emotions land in my body. I don’t always have the benefit of being consciously aware of what my brain may be holding on to until my stomach flags me down with cramps, nausea, flutters, etc. I am not complaining. This is a fantastic feedback system. My stomach’s got my back! (that sounded much funnier in my head)
I worry when I don’t feel anything at all. Unplugged. Absent or numb. Danger, Danger!! Total disconnection warrants further investigation.
I also worry if the machine spins and spins and spins; tearing my insides to shreds. Danger, Danger!! Pause and check in. What’s feeding this frenzy?
Every one of my emotions carry valuable information and there is no need to avoid or dismiss any of them. I shudder when I hear someone say, “stop crying!” PLEASE. Go ahead and cry. I also encourage you to jot down your thoughts and review them later. Keep those emotions moving — flowing through you. Be curious with yourself. Be compassionate with yourself.
Bottling up, deflecting them or numbing yourself out of feeling anything unpleasant will make you sick. Speaking from experience, it all catches up with you. You get sick. High blood pressure, anxiety, indigestion, headaches, acne, insomnia and depression to name a few. Possibly even cancer….
We don’t wash everything in hot water! We use a variety of settings. We don’t have one emotional setting either! It is tragic to think there is something wrong with you if you are not happy all the time. It’s just not possible.
I will keep learning and sharing with you, Girlfriends. It took 55 years to gain the courage to share my stories. I hope that I inspire you to share yours. We all learn from each other!
From the heart,