Cultivate Emotion

Cultivate Emotion

Up until the last year I found that I would getting triggered pretty often. I didn't really call it that. In fact, I didn't call it anything. I tried my hardest to ignore it. When an uncomfortable feeling would come up I would push it down with my selection of "soothers." My top 4 soothers were shopping, eating, watching a screen, and complaining. I tried to pick just 3, but I needed to honour the impact of all 4.

When it came to shopping I realized that the high didn't come from having the item. It came from buying the item. There was a story I was telling myself about what the ritual of buying things said about who I am. It gave me a sense of value. At least that is what I believed at the time.

Eating is both practical and sensual. I love the way eating delicious food engages my senses. But that wasn't what was happening. My eating for soothing was anxious. Repetitive actions that didn't lead to satisfaction. Because I wasn't using food for resolve hunger, I was using it to do something it couldn't. Soothe my emotions.

Watching a screen has been a way I have escaped since childhood. I have clocked more hours than I want to know looking at a screen. Watching other peoples stories helps me escape mine. Now there is lots to learning from other's narrative. But at some point for me it became less about learning and more about escaping. It is my oldest way of escape, and holds the deepest roots.

Complaining... This one greaves me the most because it impacts others in a negative way. Whither it is gossip or bringing my complaints directly to the source it all leads to the same place. I end up showing up in a way that is in conflict with my values. I want to show up in love, be a light, and serve my community. Not only do people not want to be around complainers, I can't connect to my core values when I am looking for who to blame. I am not saying that we shouldn't hold people accountable for their actions or voice our concerns. But, having open communication was the missing piece for me. When I show up wanting to listen and understand, and then be heard I show up in love.

Practicing Self Awareness has meant learning to listen to my Emotions instead of distracting myself with a soother. It means allowing it to move through my body and not trying to stop it. Paying attention to what I am feeling and any thoughts that come up. I like to name what I am feeling physically so my brain stays in the moment and doesn't seek distraction. I know I've found the triggering thought when it comes to mind and my stomach turns. I write it down. I say it a bunch of times too until the my stomach is settled when I say it out loud. When I can say it and there is peace I know I have processed the emotion, and can acknowledge it is just a thought. Now I can choose to believe it or change it to a thought that serves me.

Now I see Triggers as a gift. It is my body's way of saying "Hey, we need your attention." Triggers are a way into our subconscious thoughts. They are the moment when what is beneath the surface that is directing how we show up in life emerges, so we have the power and choice to change our course.

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