“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?
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?
“The biological lifespan of a particular emotion is about 90 seconds. It’s the afterlife of that emotion that we constantly review and bathe in.”
—Chip Conley, author of Emotional Equations
Image from Pinterest
Take a look at these two lists and compare them to how you and those close to you have been feeling lately:
How long do these emotions last throughout your days? To what degree can and do you simply notice the undesirable ones and release them? How often do you try to resist and fight them only to discover how much they persist?
How might paying particular attention to your positive emotions offer better waters to bathe in?
Consider exploring Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions to look a bit further into this subject.
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 19th Century German Writer & Statesman
Image from wordandspiritministries
What is it to live a good life?
How does one measure a life well lived?
What intrinsic and extrinsic factors are your gyroscopic guides on this great adventure?
Many people are giving more thought to this, particularly as they look in the mirror and see the aging process in effect, or pine on what they were once able to do years earlier.
Many experts, happiness gurus, and people who live “in the moment” encourage all of us to explore our emotions and feelings in order to tap into these trustworthy cornerstones of how to live.
Where and how can you more fully tap into your thoughts, emotions, and feelings to assure yourself that you are indeed on the right life path?