It’s a Jungle in There

September 17, 2011

 “Your heart is not a grocery list!”  -Harvinder

These last two months, I have had a lot of time to myself, to sit and reflect without a thousand distractions buzzing around me. Because of this, many emotions that I have put off and buried are starting to surface. It is nothing too dramatic, but the last couple years have been to say the least, a roller coaster of victories achieved at the cost of friendships lost or damaged.

I do not consider myself a very emotionally in-tune person. I don’t really get angry or sad or extremely excited about anything. I use my logical left-brain to rule my life, hardly asking myself how I feel about a certain situation. When I was president I had no time to think about the hurt of the past, there was too much work to do and not enough time to do it.

I am tired of not caring about my emotional self. I came to India for many reasons, but one of which was to learn how to feel. I have realized how weak my emotional self has become, and now I am ready and willing to actively work on it. I want to be someone who can pour love on others, but until I come to terms with the baggage and negativity inside, there will always be a rock solid wall, blocking the flow.

My problem was that I had no idea how to change. Each situation needed to be approached and resolved in a different way. But how to handle it? Should I make contact? Call? Write a letter? I was overwhelmed thinking about how to begin the process.

Yesterday I had a great talk with Harvinder, the Society’s curriculum developer who gave the creative writing workshop. She told me that there is no magic plan for processing emotions or trauma. You cannot use lists and structure to sort out the subtle emotions of your vital being. Each individual must find his or her own way. This last year I have done nothing but compartmentalize, finding a nice place on the closet shelf of my brain for each experience, both good and bad. Move on, carry on, rock on. She explained that compartmentalizing things was a good skill, but too much of it can be very damaging.

Before I can think about reaching out to those I have lost, I need to resolve the inner pain within myself, and then reach out externally. Letting things rise to the surface is the first step.

Even as it began to make sense to me, I was still trying to understand how to think about how to process my emotions. Should I think of them as positive lessons to learn and grow from, or as trash that should be cleaned out, set on the curb and never thought of again? “Stop thinking!” She cried. There I was, trying to use my mind to label things again. When you try to categorize an emotion or experience, you lose the essence of it. In fact, it’s quite impossible to do, “like putting a cloud in a box,” Harvinder explained. You need to sit and just be with it, in its twists and contortions that don’t make any sense, because emotions are not logical.

I feel that emotions are not valued enough in today’s society, I certainly did not value them. There is much to be discovered by going within. It is only when you begin to be quiet that you realize what a chaotic jungle there is within your own heart. Another adventure!

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