Are you happy?
Are you happy? This seems to be a frequently asked question, with a 'right' answer. Happy = good, anything else = a problem.
But how realistic is this? Unfortunately, life is not always easy. From the day to day stresses and strains of work, finances and family, through to the more acute difficulties of deaths, illnesses, relationships ending, moving house and more, there is a lot to cope with.
In the face of adversity, emotion will naturally arise. Sadness, grief, anger, frustration, fear, disgust, shame...all of these are normal, functional messages letting you know how you are experiencing the flow of life.
As emotions arise and move through us, they can be pretty disturbing. While this may seem obvious with difficult emotions, it's also true of delightful feelings. For example, recall the last time you felt the first flutterings of a new relationship. The heady anticipation, the breathless excitement, the warm glow of feeling special. Sometimes we hear it talked of as a temporary insanity, so powerful is its impact.
Emotions disturb, all of them. They are meant to. This is their job. They are letting us know something, giving feedback from our bodymind, pointing our attention towards what is significant.
So how to address them? The old saying goes that you have one mouth and two ears for a reason. Listen. Get curious. Hold emotions lightly in your attention and let them be. Gentle them as you would a small animal. They are the mammal in you bringing forth your body's wisdom, if only you can be still enough to see past the swirl and into the heart of the message.
Once we stop perceiving emotions as a problem and accept their natural rhythms, then they can begin to flow. Like any energy they can move through us and out, changing us and yet leaving us free to be as we are, more fully in touch with ourselves.
So next time a powerful emotion visits, greet it kindly. Don't push it away, but don't let it swamp you either. Notice it and stay grounded. For good or bad, this too shall pass.