Do you know the song Everything is Awesome? Since watching The Lego Movie four years ago during the worst of times, it became sort of a sarcastic anthem for me and J.
Sometimes it takes a paradigm shifting event in life to realize that not feeling awesome all the time is ok. And feeling several seemingly opposing things one time is normal. And embracing the entire spectrum of emotion is just part of the human experience. Whether it be due to culture or individual capacity, navigating one’s internal world can be tricky.
You may have heard the term “emotional alchemy” before, but I would like to present the idea of “emotional addition”. By allowing yourself to feel several feelings at once and acknowledge each one you may create something more useful than either alone. The whole may be greater than the sum of it’s parts. For the past four years in our family, the new year has brought about a strange mix of emotions. Instead of fighting them back, this year I played with blending them together. Here is what I came up with:
Sadness + Gratefulness = Compassion
Give it a try, it’s kind of fun. Like blending paint colors for your soul. The following is an emotional addition meditation:
-Find a spot where you can close your eyes and get comfortable for 12 minutes (any amount of time is better than none, but 12 minutes has been proven to be the sweet spot for short meditation sequences…)
-Bring awareness to your breath. Once breathing deeply and regularly, notice any emotion that arises without pushing it away. The goal isn’t to “feel better”, just to feel.
-Notice where you feel these emotions in your body and, if helpful, physically place a hand where you feel sensation (ex. sadness might express physically as a heavy feeling in the heart, nervousness a tightening in the stomach, etc.)
-Notice if you can feel several emotions simultaneously and what else arises if you do.
-Resist the urge to “do anything” with these emotions, just let them hang out and shift naturally.
-At the end of your time, gradually bring your awareness back to the present. It may be helpful to jot down some notes on your experience to solidify the experience.