I’ve been thinking about how complex our lives are and how we often attempt to boil them down to their simplest form. A sort of emotional reduction sauce!
Here is the thing, no matter how good or how bad we think things are in our lives, there is always another side. Another flavor. Regardless of how many opportunities or obstacles we face, it is how we distill them down that determines their impact. How we experience or define them. Whether they move us toward something positive and light or heavy and dark.
I suppose a lot of this reflection comes naturally with age. The older we get, the easier it is to define what works for us versus what doesn’t. I remember when I was young being asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?” I also remember what a challenging question that was to answer.
When we’re young we have little concept of all the possibilities. Most of us are just trying to figure out the world that is immediately around us. How we fit into what we know. All while new awareness is emerging. Constantly shifting and changing our perspective. It can be overwhelming.
I know personally I could never figure it out. Instead it was more like following bread crumbs! Eventually discovering that all the external pursuits were actually pointing me to a more internal existence. One where opportunities or obstacles are defined by their emotional impact. How they affected my sense of SELF.
There’s great value in the external circumstances in our lives. The challenges, shocks, rewards, and surprises inform and shape us. Yet, they are not us. We decide who we are by knowing ourselves and continually leaning back into our internal strength. To the SELF that has navigated all the external hurdles on the road of life. The SELF who has achieved and excelled. That internal SELF who knows when to accelerate and when to rest.
My siblings have been on my mind a lot these days. Each one of us is going through amazing new adventures like becoming a grandparent for the first time or again, taking their significant relationships to new levels, new business and career opportunities, and much more. And yet we are also confronting the deterioration of health and increased potential for loss of our parents.
This is where the complexity of life is reflected. It is never all good or all bad. Sure there are times in our lives when it can seem like the decks are stacked against us. That we are having more ups than downs or vice versa. Yet, it is how we process or integrate the events or circumstances of our lives that determines our experience.
Do you feel balanced and anchored in the storm? When sailing conditions are ideal, are your sails up and on course? Are you prepared to respond to undercurrents or quick shifts?
Knowing who you are from the inside out is the easiest way to engage and navigate the ups and downs of life. When we know and expect that there are calms and storms all along the journey, it is so much easier to be prepared. We prepare ourselves by developing an access to and fluidity with all of our emotions.
Emotional fluency allows us to experience the magic and wonder of new life, while simultaneously experiencing compassion and sorrow for those who are struggling or in poor health. It is the way we learn and know ourselves better. This journey is not about containing or controlling our emotions. It is about experiencing them.
This is where the analogy of an ’emotional reduction sauce’ suddenly has more richness and intensity for me. This distilling process does not eliminate any of our emotions. Instead they are condensed and clarified in a way that allows us to have immediate access to them and all the flavors they bring into our lives.
Now that’s a sauce we can cook with!!
With Light, Love, and Laughter