Welcoming Your Emotions: An Example

"Here's an example of welcoming your emotions: Imagine you've just been cut off on the freeway. The emotions that arise are usually fear and anger. Fear in its mood state ramps up your instincts and your intuition to let you know you're endangered, and anger rushes forward to help you rebuild your disrupted boundaries. If you express these emotions, you might scream and swear, gesture rudely, or even chase the offensive driver, none of which would take you out of danger or rebuild your boundaries. If you repress your fear (your instincts) and your anger (your ability to set boundaries) and try to ignore the rudeness and keep driving, you'll most likely be less aware and less conscious for the next few moments or miles — again, you won't reduce your danger or rebuild your sense of safety. But if you welcome both emotions and allow them to flow through your system, you can use them to increase your awareness. You could use your fear to sharpen your senses. That's what properly flowing fear does — it increases your focus and awareness. Your fear could help you ask yourself where your attention was and why you were so startled. Your fear could also help you think about ways to prevent such inattentiveness in the future. You could also use your anger to make the proper corrections and get yourself away from the unsafe driver. Properly honored anger would enable you to quickly and consciously rebuild the 'traffic boundaries' around your car; it would protect you from the recklessness of others and help you become a more skillful driver yourself. When you welcome and attend to your fear and anger consciously, neither one will endanger you or the other driver; rather, they'll simply help you increase your awareness and skill.

"When you and your car are out of danger and your emotions have been attended to consciously, both your fear and your anger will then flow and move on — as they should. Neither emotion will need to stay active in its mood state, and you won't have to obsessively relive the incident or drive unconsciously for the rest of the day, because you'll have handled the situation, and the emotions, appropriately. If you can honor your emotions and welcome them as the life-giving water element they are, they will behave exactly as water does. They'll flow and change, shift their states, react and respond appropriately, and create the perfect ecosystem in which you can flourish. Allowing your emotions to flow freely inside your psyche brings life-affirming water and empathic awareness into your life."