Emotions – One Part of The Multi-Paradigm Weave That Makes Us Who We Are

Immanuel Kant developed his own version of the...

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Yesterday we spoke about the emotion, happiness, as it connects to and does not connect to spirituality.  Traditional western religions squirm  or  more, disagree when they hear this.  Everything is spiritual in their school of thought.  However, as our understanding of where emotions and behaviors come from, we have happily disentangled ourselves from the stigma and judgment that comes from the way many people have (mostly unwittingly and often without intended malice) abused us with mental illness.

I know that I have also been in this crowd of prejudiced.  Coming out of that has been fun.  There is still so much that I think I see clearly but don’t, as it is for us all.  The growth we’re talking about is part of the high adventure that brings pleasure to life.

To say it plainly:

  1. Emotions come from the brain.
  2. Emotions are not always directly chosen as we can’t directly choose the way our brain works.
  3. Emotions are what we use to interpret the world around us.
  4. Emotions don’t have intrinsic moral value.  Morality is bigger than the way we feel.
  5. Emotions are not constant between us.
  6. Emotions are a sense.  We’ve called them the Sixth Sense.  Senses are subjective and not objective.

How does this fit into your biopsychosocial model of how you see yourself?

Biology.  Psychology.  Socially.

How does it influence the way you befriend yourself?

How might this influence stigma surrounding emotional illness?

Emotions are just one of the many things that make us who we are.  Many many things.  As we tease these bits of ourselves apart, it is not the same as denying the multi-paradigm weave that makes us who we are.

Self-Care Tip – Enjoy your emotions but don’t put your life on them.

happiness and spirituality are related and separate

Father Time? (IMG_9736a)

Image by Alaskan Dude via Flickr

A couple of days ago, in blog-post What Must I Do To Be Happy, we asked the question,

Do you see happiness as something that reflects your condition of spirituality and/or your condition of brain health?

This is not a question we hear every day.

The relationship of happiness and spirituality is heavily weighted in our cultural awareness.  We hear about it all the time.  “They are connected,” is a reasonable statement.

The separateness of happiness and spirituality is culturally quiet.  How often do we think that happiness is about brain health and not our spiritual condition?  It may not be reasonable, culturally common or comfortable, but it is still true; they are separate.

Lola Snookers answered our question saying,

No, I do not see happiness and spirituality going hand in hand. Having faith does help me be stronger but no it doesn’t pull me out of sadness. I can be grateful and depressed at the same time. …to say having a closer connection to God will make you happy is crazy. It helps me hang on and push though, it blesses my heart & maybe someday I will look back think how happy I was to have Him in my life (and I am.) However, for me it doesn’t in itself make me happy.

Lola is telling us that happiness and spirituality are related and separate.  There is no reason they can’t be both …except for how we reason.  For example, I think of Father-Time who left office when the forth-dimension came into discussion.  Our reasoning changed and told us that Time is not what we thought.

There is great freedom in the understanding that emotions such as happiness are not always chosen.   There is great freedom knowing more about how we intersect with the seen and unseen forces.  Freedom in knowing how we connect seems paradoxical doesn’t it?  But it isn’t.

We’ve talked about how everything is connected and that knowledge is flat.  That includes happiness and spirituality.  However, we have also spoken about taking things apart to know their natures better.  Knowing how they are separate is knowing how they connect.

Paging A Testimony! Will A Testimony Please Call Back?

Swearing in 06
I ask five Questions 1.2.3.4.5.  
Will you give your testimony?

Q1:  What does being “a friend to yourself” mean to you in real-time life practice?

A1:

Q2:  What helps you do this at one time vs. another?

A2:

Q3:  What still hinders your efforts?

A3:

Q4:  What has pushed you past those barriers?

A4:

Lastly.

Q5:  How do you understand the interplay between biology and choice in being “a friend to yourself?”

A5:

P.S. – I had a hard time finding a picture for this!  I have no idea about who’s who and it took forever to find something that I think won’t trigger any political uprising amongst you fine readers…  But… if I didn’t, please don’t take me to the stand! (Bad humor wink.)

Bring Your Separate Selves Together – Personal Journey

National Museum, Czartoryski Collection

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Self-Care Tip #199 – Bring together what you are naturally inclined to do with what you spend your energies on.

When we do what we like to do, what is congruent with our hard-wiring, what is naturally inspiring, fatigue becomes part of our pleasure in my life.  Cliché,

Enjoy the burn,

…is common for a reason.  There are times when pain, fatigue, difficulty and hard-surfaced days are bits of what make life journey one of richness, rather than diminished.  I was reminded by Jaclyn Rae’s Blog-post today, that when we can say,

I’ve learned that I’m tired but still want to do what I do,

…we are paddling the same river our life is floating down.  When we by mental illness, misfortune, choice or neglect, don’t – we are more observant of our lives rather than participants to them.  We find being present in the process difficult.  It’s not something everyone can do in all aspects.

However, we don’t have to be defined by those particulars, choosing instead to do the hard work of processing our choices, our energy and where it comes from, our emotions and see how they weave into our constitution.  Then, some time when breathing hard, limping and spent, we will remember this and reconnect the experience with the choice and the emotion a little quicker.  We will less often separate from the water our life is traveling.  Not become observers but participate more often, more actively, more tangibly with that kernel in us that stays, our essence.  (See blog post, My Essence.)

In the marvelous work, “His Dark Materials” trilogy, Philip Pullman describes us as split persons, a body and a spirit (“demon”) that might be parted by neglect, carelessness, abuse, or other disasters.  But when it is separated, the body suffers and is disconnected from it’s life purpose, what brings pleasure and presence in the world around.  (See blog post, Soul and Body.)

There are medical illnesses that do this, as mentioned above, and in those cases, perhaps all to do is get medical care, heal, treat and get on with life.  Other times, it might be that we forgot ourselves in the midst of caring for children, a demanding job, an opinion that victim-hood defines our life possibilities or what not.  We have options.

As Jjen reminded us some days ago,

The bad doesn’t disappear but it is not a qualifier for the rest of life’s potential.

Questions:  How have you reconnected to your life journey?  Your essence?  What is constant about you in your changing self?  Please tell me your story.

Love – Take What is Already Yours. You Have Been Given Love.

Stef's Present with Handmade Wrapping

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Self-Care Tip #194 – Take what is already yours.  Be a friend to yourself.

Parenting, we hold the power in the relationship between us and our child/ren.  If we are emotionally maltreated by our child/ren, we parents are still the ones with the power.  What are we giving to her if we teach her that we will take the terrible words and dark emotions?  When we take the projected anger when we have the power to choose not to, what message are we giving to ourselves about ourselves?  What is the message if we say by our actions that Love demands from us to accept, to take and to be a victim to the emotional abuse?  Is that what love tells us?

It is difficult to receive maltreatment from anyone.  And because of the suffering involved, we can misinterpret the message, “This is the sacrifice that Love demands” – the sacrifice is doing what other people want before taking care of yourself.

It is difficult not to receive maltreatment as well.  Which choice is more consistent with our understanding of Love?  The words in the message might be the same, “This is the sacrifice that Love demands.”  However, the interpretation of the message, of what the sacrifice is – that meaning is different.  The sacrifice is, rather, taking care of yourself first so that you have the best of you to offer to others.

To read more on this topic, please see posts, Criticize if You Love MeListen to The Intention in What People Say and Stop! Before Hurting Yourself or Others.

Because we as parents hold the power in the relationship, we can feel trapped by our own power.  What a confusion for many of us.  Holding power but feeling helpless.  Holding a stick in both hands, so to speak, not seeing that we can still use our occupied hands for anything else in the mean time.

This kind of choice takes Love.  This is the kind of choice that is a work of a life-time or of a moment, but is life.  See, Let It Go and Keep Going.

We can’t teach others that we are valuable and how to treat us with Love if we don’t do it ourselves for ourselves.  When we act on Love, self-care means that we don’t accept treatment that is inconsistent with Love.  If we accept bad treatment, we are saying that self-care is accepting our lack of choices versus making the choices that are still available despite the circumstance.

FriendShip... A gift of God.

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This of course applies to any relationship.  It applies to any connection, whether it is in the work-place, marriage, if you are the child in the parent-child role, friendships – take your pick.  You can choose Love.  You can choose.  Self-care starts and ends with “Me.”

Freedom is a gift.  No matter how many times it is wrapped up and placed in our hands, if we don’t open it, use it, own it, we will never have it.  Freedom to choose has been given to us before we were born, just like our salvation.  The salvation will never be taken away.  Nor the freedom.  Both are elemental and constant.  But if we don’t pull on the ribbon, lift the lid and take – we can’t expect anything but living without what was inside.  Does the title “victim” even hold if it was our choice not to take what was already ours?

Question:  How do you claim your freedom to choose when all you perceive at the time is what has been taken away?  Please tell me your story.

Leave Space in Your Beliefs to Grow

 

standing up to stigma - mambo.org.uk

Self-Care Tip #144 – Leave space in your beliefs to grow.  Be a friend to yourself.

Madeline brought her son in.  He was born male but has always allegedly believed he was female inside.  It was Madeline’s appointment with me, not her son’s.  But he came in with her and I could either listen to her concerns about her son or ask him to leave against her wishes and still hear her talk.  So I listened.

The issue was a matter of salvation.  Madeline was fighting for her son’s salvation as a mother might.  That part was lovely to watch.  I thought of God hearing her and being present with her pain and being The One behind her fierce love in the first place.

We talked a little about the biology of homosexuality.  What is transgenderism?  If God’s Word is absolute, what part does a progressive understanding of biology play in our perception of truth?

Madeline’s son asked to leave.  I thanked him for coming in and he shrugged.  His whole family abused him, Madeline said, gulping and losing form.  She had spent many years defending him even though in her heart she was terrified that her son was damned.

Some of you may have read the powerful blog-post, “My son is gay” in which a mother described her halloween experience.  Her son dressed up as Daphne from Scooby-Doo.  She and he were promptly abused. As a mother I empathized, and as a scientist, I wanted to scream things like, “You thought the world was flat too!”

But Madeline was worried not only about bullying.  She was worried about the Last Judgment.

Stigma comes from all directions.  Inside of us, our homes, our churches, our schools, our government, up, down, sideways, this way, that…  Stigma is everywhere and it is usually a painful encounter for everyone involved.  Perpetrator included.

So here’s the scoop folks.  Homosexuality is biological. We have as much choice in it as the shape of our nose.

I’ve seen kids be mean about noses.  I’m half-Lebanese and believe me, I know what big noses are.  The nose that makes you wonder how the head escaped the vaginal canal without injury.  But I’ve never heard anyone hate someone’s nose and believe that he’s going to loose his salvation for it.  I’ve never seen someone turn her back on her brother and leave him to die without the love of family around because she thought she was condoning his nose if she did.  I’ve never heard about moral judgment being attached to a culturally incorrect nose.

In my son’s church class the other day, the teacher was trying to get him and the rest of the other oppositional three-year-olds to wear angel and shepherd costumes for the song they were going to perform. Only the stage-hams garbed up.  She kept giving the rest of us parents her pleading eyes, pleading words, and pleading emotions. She was making the wrong people feel guilty.  The kids were unfazed in both compliance and emotion.  The ones who were genetically inclined to get energy from performing that way, were.  The others were not.  I could have said to my son, “Get this on!…!”  And made him feel like he was bad if he didn’t.  But attaching morality would never change where he gets energy.  That part is genetic and it won’t change despite his conditioning.

It’s a bummer that Paul’s letters were translated the ways they were in the 1950’s using the word homosexuality.  A lot of people are scared when they read it.  Fear has threatened and hurt a lot of people.  Reverend Mel White posts about this.

I don’t know if Madeline was given anything she came looking for.  I’m not always the best teacher or student myself.  But I do know that we, all of us, will continue to learn through all eternity.  We will never know enough, love enough, or be sinless and perfect enough to take over that awesome job of being Judge.  I once heard of a beautiful beloved angel who tried.

Question:  What has been attached to morality in your life that you know is not?  How have you dealt with stigma?  Please tell me your story.

Bringing it Inside

“I read a lot of self-help books, but look at all the difference it’s made in my life!”  Sarcasm noted.  My friend was coming out of a dark melancholy of several years and complained that bringing something from your head into your life is hard.  Another case of trying to keep it real.

People call what we do “word play.”  Mouth flappers.  Those of us whose actions can’t keep up with our mind-matters fend off judgement like OJ Simpson. We’re guilty alright but it’s not murder folks.  Let’s get into the empty seats to applaud the performance of Good Intentions.  Good intentions come in degrees. There’s the thought, the desire, and then the levels of action that happen before and until execution.  Not all life is like playing horseshoes.  There is “win” in process too.

But my friend’s real beef was with the expectation she had that those books and their words would marinate her.  Soak her until she smelled and tasted and essentially became something new and better.  She didn’t think they did.  How does someone somehow bring what is out there inside?

If you want more about some of the biological play on this, read this post.  Basically if you are trying to grow, you are most successful working with a growing-style that is congruent with your temperament.  There are other intersecting paradigms also, including spirituality, external stressors and biology.  Bringing it inside is a balance between paradigms in life.

If I were speaking to my friend though, I’d applaud her thoughts, desires and degrees of action that have constituted her journey of Good Intentions.  I’d invite her into the stands with me and take some time to watch a replay of the parts of her life that made her glad.  That in itself opens us up to what needs to come in.  And we are more able to keep on.

Self Care Tip # 55 – Applaud.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  Do you ever lose yourself in processing?  Tell me your story.