“Feelings are much like waves. We can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which ones to surf.”
—Johan Mårtensson, Swedish professional footballer
Image from Unsplash by Jeremy Bishop
Wendy and I recently took a 5-day Caribbean cruise with good friends.
We got an extra good deal, which included a balcony and numerous other perks.
I made it a point to sit outside throughout the day to let the sights and sounds of the ocean flow in and around me.
Between wave watching sessions, I paid particular attention to the many conversations with our shipmates.
Learning more about them — how they surfed waves and managed the high and low tides of life — was profound, endearing us to one another more than ever expected.
How have you managed and ridden the waves of your life?
What are some of the nautical lessons you’ve learned over the years to help surf the ups and downs of life?
“Muddy water is best cleaned by leaving it alone.”
—Alan Watts, English writer who interpreted Buddhist, Taoist, and Hindu philosophy for a Western audience
Image from Unsplash by Josh Calabrese
Where in your life are you experiencing muddy waters and can’t see your way forward?
Where have things become turbulent with diverse issues and heated emotions where things are murky and messy?
If you were a scuba diver, heading to the surface to see the light of day and gain some perspective would be a reasonable first step.
Pausing and letting things settle before diving back in seems wise as well.
When you and others finally do dive back in, how would slower and more thoughtful efforts help you see more clearly to swim to the other side of your issues?
Where in your life would leaving things alone help clear things up to see a new way forward?
Separate your notions from your emotions.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Uday Mittal
Ever found yourself upset by every little thing going on in your life? Times when the smallest details of your days grate on you and trigger levels of annoyance that feel well out of proportion?
Perhaps your mighty mind is actually making mountains out of molehills! Your power to interpret life’s events and other people’s motives have gone to the dark side, and you start playing the victim.
Where are your notions stirring up your emotions?
How might some buffer space between stimulus and response — and a bigger helping of objectivity — help settle your nerves?
“Heavy hearts, like heavy clouds in the sky, are best relieved by the letting of a little water.”
Image from Unsplash by Road Trip with Raj
Over the past several months I’ve noticed an increase in the water works in my communities.
Beyond numerous strong storms with an abundance of rain, there have been many floodgates of tears released due to various types of heavy burdens.
Today’s quote could go a bit further—just as rain falls to renew the greenery in our world, tears need a shoulder to land on to lighten our emotional loads.
Where are you noticing or experiencing heavy hearts in your world?
Where are people in these communities compassionately coming together to share these showers of emotion to help clear the skies of tomorrow?
“Behind every criticism is a veiled wish.”
—Esther Perel, Belgian psychotherapist
Image from Unsplash by ahi ismail
How do you feel when you are criticized?
How often is your immediate response to defend yourself or perhaps go on the offense and attack others?
Explore a few recent interactions in which you were criticized for something you did or didn’t do.
Dig deeper into the thoughts and emotions of that person to see if there was a hidden desire or veiled wish below their barbed message. What did they secretly want that was not communicated in an acceptable way?
How might you shift your perspective and translate the harshness of their words into simple requests that would have a higher probability of acceptance?
A few books that can help your relationship skills are Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, Crucial Conversations, and Crucial Confrontations.
Please send an email to email@example.com or reply to this post with your email address and I will be pleased to send you a copy of my one page Communication Toolbox.
Who and what events trigger your negative thoughts, feelings and emotions?
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Karan Mandre
Mindfulness and self awareness help up notice the many triggers in life that often have us react with heated emotions.
By catching ourselves we can find the space to remain calm and centered so that we can respond in appropriate ways to maintain our perspective and equanimity.
This can be easier when we are clear about who and what circumstances trigger us ahead of time, to preemptively head them off at the pass.
Who and what triggers you? How can you better support yourself in these moments?
Consider checking out Marshall Goldsmith’s book, Triggers, to dig a bit deeper into this topic.
“When we know how to read our own hearts, we acquire wisdom of the hearts of others.”
—Denis Diderot, 18th Century French philosopher, art critic, and writer
Image from Unsplash by Jon Tyson
What comes to mind when you think about poetry?
In recent years, I’ve shifted considerably from a judgmental, sappy view to a more open, welcoming view of this art form.
For most of my years, I just didn’t get it, and it was far easier to disregard the hidden messages that went over my head, as clearly not meant for me.
It was a bit over nine years ago, following my mom’s passing, that I read The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. It seemed like none of my normal reading efforts hit home and my heart needed filling far more than my head.
It was then that I began to more fully explore aspects of my heartfelt emotions and feelings as a basis of connecting with others, especially family and friends.
How might playing with a bit of poetry help you read your own heart better?
What would be the benefit of acquiring the wisdom of the hearts of others in your various communities?
“When the eyes say one thing and the tongue another, a practiced man relies on the language of the first.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson, 17th Century American essayist, philosopher, and poet
Image from Unsplash by Austin Human
There are a number of stories and legends behind Missouri’s sobriquet, “The Show Me State.”
The slogan, although not official, is commonly used throughout the state and is on Missouri’s license plates.
The most widely known legend attributes the phrase to Missouri’s Congressman, Willard Duncan Vandiver. In an 1899 speech, he declared:
“I come from a state that raises corn and cotton cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquences neither convict nor satisfy me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me.”
How and in what ways can you be more of a practiced person who relies far more on the language of the eyes and not just those of the tongue?
“There is an eagle in me that wants to soar and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud.”
—Carl Sandburg, 20th Century American poet, 3-time Pulitzer Prize winner
Today’s quote does a great job of describing many of us over the last year. From my view, I’ve seen a bit more hippos with a large dose of mudslinging, highlighted particularly in the media.
Emotions have been running wild like roller coasters — leaving many of us sick to our stomachs, dizzy, and wanting to throw up.
What has your ride been like in your personal and professional communities? What has been your soaring-to-wallowing ratio over these many months, and how have these events influenced who you have become through this process?
How can and will you be more of a soaring eagle moving forward? How might you teach and support a few hippos in your world who want to fly?
“Crying doesn’t indicate that you’re weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you’re alive.”
Image from Unsplash by Aliyah Janous
On Veteran’s Day in November, My wife and I were very moved by a news anchor describing an army nurse called to serve our country in World War II. Now 101 years old, this extraordinary woman came from a family in which most members also served in the military.
This normally stoic and forceful news anchor was moved to tears as he shared many heart-warming aspects of her life of generosity, contribution, and service.
Where and how are you currently moved to tears regarding various aspects of your world? How can you more fully see these moisture-filled expressions of emotion as a source of greater aliveness and strength?