by M. Kendall Ludwig, president and principal designer of CurlyRed
I have big feelings. Always have had big feelings, in fact. Like I mentioned in last month's post about being authentic, I don't typically hide my feelings, or apologize for them.
HOWEVER, it has taken me 41 years on this planet to begin to learn that I AM NOT MY FEELINGS. That is, emotions are something I feel, and they are absolutely valid, but they in no way define me as a human being. Some of you reading might think this is rather obvious, but as someone living with all of the feelings all of the time, I recently realized that I tend to over-identify with my emotions.
When I'm feeling down, then I'm like a broken doll, living in a terrible world where bad things happen and there's nothing I can do but brace myself for the next bad thing. When I'm feeling joyful, then it's like I'm this unstoppable superhero that's walking on sunshine, and everything's going my way, and every other cheesy song lyric you can think of. You can see how problematic this is.
It's taken the very serious work of practicing mindfulness (May's word of the month!) to understand that my being and my emotions are two completely separate things. Quiet time, prayer, and journaling have all become part of my daily routine. This was something I began in earnest during lockdown, in response to my very big feelings. Through these practices of mindfulness, I can observe patterns and remind myself of past pitfalls. I can also quietly detach from whatever emotion I'm currently experiencing to remind myself that this too shall pass. Both good and bad. Both sadness and joyfulness. Richard Rohr talks about this “letting go” as life' most important (and underrated) work.
So I encourage you to do the same. Carve out some time, practice mindfulness, and see what comes of it.
Monthly words to consider:
“Mindfulness is a pause – the space between stimulus and response: that’s where choice lies.” – Tara Brach
Custom illustration by junior designer Olivia Weeks.