I Am Not My Emotions

Sometimes I feel like my anxiety or fear or irritation are all that I am. Strongly-felt emotions can color how I see the world, and the world can seem to reflect them back at me as well. Even on a beautiful sunny day I can feel frustrated, lonely, or bored. There are so many negative human emotions and, at some point in my life, I’ve experienced them all. This is when I need to remind myself that I am not my emotions.


Mermaid_WeathervaneEmotions are only indicators – they tell me which way the wind is blowing. If I am feeling anxious, it is a signal that something isn’t right in my life. Whatever it is, the anxiety is letting me know it’s time to look at what the cause might be and to make a change. If I don’t investigate the source of the anxiety then I will likely carry it with me throughout the day, week, or month. It will invade my relationships at home and work.


Emotions are a vibration of a specific type of energy. That’s why others around me can tell how I am feeling despite my best efforts to hide my emotions. Body language is a great clue to reading emotional states. Minute facial expressions that fleet across our features can reveal much to anyone that is observing closely. Paul Ekman has been studying these tiny micro-expressions for years across all cultures. He has discovered that certain emotional states are immediately recognizable to all humans, regardless of culture. We are in fact hard-wired with mirror neurons that enable us to mimic the emotions being revealed by those we watch and therefore experience a taste of what is going on emotionally for those we watch.


However, there is more to it than that. For example, we may say a “black cloud” surrounds someone who is morose or depressed. But that “black cloud” is more than an expression. Sensitive people can sense what the emotional state is of those they encounter even if they are not staring at someone’s face. Without seeing, they are sensing or “picking up the vibrations” of the energy field that surrounds that person – his or her aura, or as western science has named it, the Biofield. Emotional energy literally fills the aura and is palpable to empaths.


We have all had the experience of turning en masse towards someone entering a room, even though the second before the entrance we have all been engrossed in lively conversation. Why did we all turn to look at the new person? Because our auras felt the energy of the new-comer’s aura. Whether positive or negative, the new-comer’s emotions were powerful enough that our silent radar could sense them and cause us all to react.


When we encounter a friend who has just heard good news, their buoyant good spirits can trigger our own good mood. As we observe the infectious laughter of children at play, it is hard not to smile ourselves. Likewise when we are in the presence of anger, our own feelings can be triggered. Other individual’s emotions may elicit a parallel emotion in others or, paradoxically, a counter response.


This is why when I feel blue or irritated, it seems that the whole world is reflecting “blue and irritated” back at me. My emotional state not only affects my interactions with those around me, it affects those people themselves. Others sense how I am feeling and therefore react differently than if I were exuding joy or excitement. Even my voice on the phone will trigger a different response from my caller because my emotional state will affect how I pitch my voice, the tones I emit, and the words I choose. In fact, cold callers are taught to sit up straight so that their lungs will fully expand and their voices will sound more energetic and compelling.


There are a number of people who have compiled lists of emotions to illustrate the energies associated with each emotion. Esther Hicks, who channels information from Abraham, has created a list that begins with Fear / Grief / Depression / Despair / Powerlessness at the low end, with Joy / Knowledge / Empowerment / Freedom / Love / Appreciation at the high end. She calls this the “Abraham-Hicks Emotional Guidance Scale.” Using this concept, the way to improve one’s mood is to find thoughts and emotions that match the listing that is just above the one you are currently experiencing. Working up the ladder of emotions is a technique to help you upgrade how you are feeling.


Although I have used this and other techniques to entice myself out of a particularly negative mood, the most effective way that I have found to enhance my emotional state is to remember that I am not my emotions. Using the metaphor of a weathervane, I see that the winds of feelings can blow me around. But like the weathervane, I remain the same. Emotions may push me in one direction and then another but my essential self does not really change. I can benefit by letting these momentary feelings act as a guide, giving me information about what needs attention in my life. But, once they blow over, I can return to a calmer place. I am not my emotions!



© 2016 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.



IMG_0195Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches Stretch/Energy and Jazz Dance classes and workshops. Email Sheila at:  sheilapetersdance@gmail.com.  For more information, visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

The Goal Remains, The Path May Change

pathwayMore times than I like to admit, I have confused the path I am following for the goal that I want to reach. If a goal hasn’t been achieved by a specific method and/or timeframe, I sometimes can feel that I have failed. By labeling myself a failure, I can begin to believe that the goal is one I can never attain. Perhaps I’m not good enough, strong enough, or have the knowledge, skill, or fortitude to achieve it. I’m tempted to quit. More importantly, I assume that the goal must be changed or discarded.


For example, years ago, I developed something I called the “Moving Massage.” This massage was a 90 minute private session where I manipulated a client’s body in various ways to help them achieve increased flexibility, reduced anxiety, and renewed vitality to deepen the relaxation response. It wasn’t a regular massage and I didn’t use a massage table. I worked with my fully clothed client on a thick pad on the floor. It wasn’t purely dance, yoga, stretch, or Thai massage—it was a combination of everything I’d learned in my career as a dancer and movement instructor with added input from the somatic and therapeutic systems I had studied.


It was a blissful event! Part of the process involved letting the client lean into me in what I thought of as a loving “mother earth” embrace. Clients literally put their full weight into my arms as I sat on my heels, allowing them to feel supported and held as they completely released any tension in their bodies and minds. For the client the “Moving Massage” was very successful. For me, however, not so much.


My knees and thighs were exhausted by the end of the 90 minutes. Worse, I absorbed any negative emotions and energies that the client let go of. After each session, I had to rest and sometimes took 2 hour long naps to recover. Not a good business model! After 6 months of this work, I had to stop. I felt discouraged and abandoned my goal of using physical techniques to help adults find peace, balance, and relaxation on a mental/emotional/spiritual level.


Fortunately, I eventually realized that the goal itself was still a worthy one. It was the method that I had chosen that turned out to be an unsatisfactory way to achieve my goal. Somehow I had conflated the goal with the path.


maze-511151_960_720The path is not the goal. A simple but profound statement. One that I remind myself of often because I can easily confuse the two. Serial entrepreneurs know that failure is always part of the journey in creating new companies or organizations. A successful entrepreneur is able to let go of one method or route and explore other ways to get the job done. Perhaps the target market needs to be revised, the price point should be adjusted, or the product rethought. If the goal is a worthy one, it deserves another look at how it can be re-envisioned. Many more iterations may be needed before the goal can be attained.


Recently I found myself becoming discouraged by the low and inconsistent number of students at one of my class offerings. I had hung in there for over eight months through wild swings of attendance numbers. The vast majority of students loved the material and left the class feeling terrific in body, mind, and spirit. They let me know that the work was greatly appreciated. However, I still wasn’t getting consistent attendance nor were my classes filling up to capacity. I began to wonder if I was misguided in thinking such a class was a viable offering.


Fortunately, early one morning I heard a small clear voice in my head say, “Remember, the goal can stay the same but the plan to get there can alter.” Suddenly, I found myself flooded with new ideas and alternative ways to market, package, and label the class. I felt excited about the new possibilities that were emerging as I let go of the path I’d been following. I was re-imagining the work and its presentation. No longer discouraged, I was exhilarated! I felt free to improvise and to find a new method to achieve my goal. Allowing this transformation enabled me to let go of old strategies and reconnect with my goal in a less rigid way. And even if this wasn’t the final route to achieving my goal of consistent numbers of engaged students, I realized that I could always improvise again!


Permitting ourselves to change the pathway to achievement when necessary doesn’t negate our goals. To the contrary, it helps us to be more flexible and more creative. In fact, we can utilize this same concept in all areas of our lives—at home, in our relationships, and in our communities. If the weather doesn’t cooperate when we are planning an outdoor picnic we don’t have to call the whole thing off. Maybe someone’s garage or barn is big enough to house the picnic, and the impromptu venue change might just make the party more memorable.


We are, actually, all entrepreneurs—of our own lives. If we can remember that while goals remain the same, the paths to get there can change; we give ourselves the best opportunity of fulfilling our life’s dream.



© 2016 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.



IMG_0195Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches Stretch/Energy and Jazz Dance classes and workshops. Email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com.  For more information, visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.