We started answering the capacity question last post…beginning with the Earth element, our bodies and our relationship with ourselves. When we add Water – the element of emotions and connections – we move into the ‘one to one’ arena. Perfect topic for Valentine’s Day Week, don’t you agree?
While the Earth element shows our strength in action, the Water element shows our strength in emotion. With the feeling element particularly you see repeating patterns that can frustrate the daylights out of anyone.
I usually see collective heads nodding whenever I bring this up. We’ve all been there – the smartest and most successful can still be completely at a loss when it comes to relationships.
I’m not just talking romantic relationships either, there’s family, friends and colleagues that factor in here. Welcome to the world of emotion, populated with connection challenges and triumphs.
Emotions more than most of the other elements give us the best endorphin rush, sense of well-being and upwelling joy that comes with a good connection. Water and emotions are our capacity super-star when we understand them better. And they can also serve up some of the darkest night’s of the soul – but at least we get great poetry and songs that come out of that suffering.
With Earth and the body the sweet spot is presence – fully inhabiting our bodies, our lives and in the moment.
With Water the sweet spot is connecting, heart to heart vulnerability and being met there with love and acceptance. The shadow side is the feeling of need, greed and dependence.
The need and greed come up because we are such helpless mammals, loss of connection to those we love or are taking care of us means death for an infant. Our brain drops into that survival place when it comes to relationship trouble. It doesn’t matter how smart, powerful or accomplished you are. Feelings can make us a bit crazy at times because they are tied into that survival instinct. They defy logic…
So how do we navigate those tricky territories when we feel so ‘lost at sea’ with our feelings?
First we go back to where we started, the body!
Breathe, get yourself out of your brainstem and into your frontal lobe which is where the Executive Brain sits. Your brain stem is a panicked infant and doesn’t respond to reason! It’s simple, powerful and you can do it anywhere – especially when emotions come up.
I keep telling you this because it’s a game changer and it’s free, legal and portable – you can do it anywhere!
Exhale all the way out -force yourself to empty your lungs and this is a big breaker-switch that moves from the brain stem (limited view) to the frontal lobe (Executive View). Reassure yourself that you are safe and loved with your inhale and another exhale…
Then and only then, from that place, make a choice focusing on what you want to feel and leave HOW that shows up open. For example, several people have reached out to me disappointed with their loved ones plans or lack of plans for Valentine’s Day. They are so tempted (or did) to try to manage actions.
Better option – recognize their choice of behavior makes you FEEL a certain way. It’s the feeling you’re after – their actions are just how you get that feeling. You’ve attached a meaning to their behavior and are hurt at what you believe their actions or lack of actions mean.
So much more powerful, but it requires patience and time, is to get to know you and your stories around what their behavior means. Instead of struggling with the person, let them teach you more about YOU. We can get locked into seeing the old patterns that are fear based and repetitive. It keeps you from seeing the bigger picture…Patterns evolved over time and the person in front of you didn’t create most of it, I guarantee!
Be patient first with yourself, then you stand a chance of being that way with those around you. Breathe, give yourself that time and attention. Know this is big, big stuff when it comes to alarm bells in the brain! The most powerful thing you can do is give yourself quality time to get to know your ‘meaning’s and stories’ better. That’s something you can change because we know trying to change others behavior is a difficult at best, impossible more often than not.
Meanwhile, do something delicious for yourself on Valentine’s Day, something loving. Spend quality time getting to know YOU. Wishing you all Happy Valentine’s Day…