Day 102 - The Energy of Emotion, The Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop & Emotional Choices.
I was driving home the other night and I had this thought:
What is the energy of emotion before it gets labeled as something I recognize?
It occurred to me that all emotion kind of comes as energy first. Perhaps that energy is the same for all emotion. It is like the play dough fuzzy pumper barber shop of my youth...you would push a lump of dough into the base of the figure and it would get pushed out through the figure and become tiny rivulets of dough hair. Maybe emotion is kind of like that. Could it all be the same energy that gets pushed up through us and then sprouts out of our heads in a wild array of individual emotional strains?
As I thought about this, it seemed to make so much sense to me. That I am always walking around with the energetic base. It is coming to me all the time. Everywhere I go, in everything I do. But then something external or internal causes the energy to be shifted into something I can label. Anger, fear, joy, lust, empathy. Could it really be that these very divergent emotions all come from the same place?
I have a child who feels everything intensely. Love, Hate, Joy, Sadness. I have seen this child ripped from one end of the spectrum to the other in a matter of minutes. It is a sight to behold. It seems that he has no way to turn down the magnitude of emotion. Like his emotional dial is broken and it is just stuck in an on and open position. On the one hand this is hard to live with, on the other it is amazing to see passion unrestrained. However, I will own that I enjoy the positive deluge better than the negative, I have to own that I see that he is really just a conduit for these strong feelings without much of a meter to dial anything back. It all just comes out full force.
Thinking this I began to wonder if we aren’t all like him but just with better controls for volume and velocity. The more I thought about this I began to see that perhaps all emotions come from the same place and the same energy. This energy is with us all the time. We do not realize this because we are so busy with the buttons and dials attempting to cut off the flow here and release the flow over there. Like we have gotten stuck at the helm of controlling this voluminous energetic river within us. Some of us becoming more distracted by anger and its expression, others distracted with fear and its directional flow. We are firmly planted at the place where the emotional energy enters us but only turned toward managing the energy thereafter. Somehow losing the awe that should be present at the magical gift of the torrential energy to begin with.
What if we could all step back from the helm for just a minute and see that there is this unbiased quality to all emotion before we attach a label to it? Anger, fear, shame, rage, hate, joy, happiness, elation, love, endearment all coming from the same place I don’t know about you but just this simple thought gives me pause. It helps me see that I have choices that I didn’t know that I had. I really am more in charge of what I feel than I previously thought possible. Always feeling before, that I am my own emotional bitch. I feel therefore I am. Now, seeing that perhaps I am therefore I feel.
This tiny shift in perspective allows me to see that it is the label that really directs me. And I am in complete control over what I label the energy. Being a somewhat perverse person, I began to wonder what my life would be like if I started applying completely contrary labels to my own feelings. What if I decided to label anger as fear and love as empathy? What if my labeling ability had just been applied incorrectly my whole life? What then? Could I really just stand at the energetic forcefield entrance and attach labels to the flow willy nilly? What would happen with my life? My relationships?
I am still testing this out but I can tell you what happened immediately...I realized that the energy of emotion is always present and continuous. It never stops or runs in short supply. This made me realize that the individual strains of energy are less important. I do not have to let them completely derail me. The big emotional deals that I have indulged in for the whole of my existence, less of a deal and more of a pattern. The thought of incorrectly labeling feelings, made me laugh. I mean can you imagine mislabeling lust for fear? Imagine the shitshow that would unfold in that debacle!
I guess what I am getting at here is that it is all just energy before I label it with my own brand of emotional currency. I really do get to decide. Because I get to decide, I get to be less excited about the whole deal. I can make a choice to just abide with the energy in its raw, unlabeled state. It can just be energy. Even if I sit with this unlabeled energetic mass for one millisecond before I label it, that is progress. It is one millisecond more that I have to be more intentional about my feelings, thoughts and behavior. I would imagine that the more that I do this, the more intentional I can be about my life and my reaction to it. And that seems like a pretty good use of life.