Holiday Path to Peace: Ride the Wave of Feelings

Feelings are like waves, we can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which ones to surf.” Jonathan Martensson

This week’s Weekly Path to Peace is a little different. A little more personal. Each week, I write about things that I’ve seen help my clients or issues that I am grappling with personally and finding my way through. Because this week is Christmas, I wanted to connect more deeply and hope we can together ride the waves of emotion that commonly hit us around this time of the year. I love Christmas. I love the music, TV shows, family time, presents and always, always – the tree. This year, though, Christmas is different. Although I’m still excited, it’s lost some of its joy because it’s our first Christmas without my mom. She was the director of all of our Christmas pasts and without her, my family is feeling a little untethered as we look for new traditions and ways to celebrate. Like so many of you, I’m experiencing a variety of emotions and feelings right now. And instead of stuffing them down, burying them and waiting for them to pop up on Christmas day (or whatever family gathering is a tradition at your house), maybe we can collectively learn to ride the feelings and not let them consume us. When we’re in the middle of feeling deep feelings, most of us don’t realize that we aren’t our feelings. That they’re just visitors who’ve come to inform us and teach us something new about ourselves. We think that if we’re feeling angry, that we are angry. And because most of us don’t like being angry, we make ourselves wrong. Instead of riding out the emotion and seeing what nuggets of wisdom it may hold, we beat ourselves up or hide. Maybe our anger is really fear masked, or perhaps a judgment, we’re ready to let go of. Only when we’re willing to ride with the emotion can we choose if we need to dive deeper or just stay on top of it. This week, I’m going to choose to let sadness, joy and even melancholy inform me, and not be me. It is my wish that you can do the same so that we can all find a little more peace this holiday season.

Holiday Path to Peace: Ride the Wave of Feelings

  • This week, begin to separate your feelings from who you are. Instead of stuffing them down, invite every emotion or feeling to have a seat at your emotional table. One of the ways I remind myself to do that is by reading the poet Rumi’s incredible poem The Guest House (Click Here to Read). Like the poem suggests, treat each emotion as a guest – even the ones we might not like.
  • Look at each emotion and simply ask yourself, what is the lesson or wisdom or gift that this emotion or feeling brings. What is there for you to learn or be grateful? Begin to separate who you are from what you feel and notice how quickly you can begin to choose which feelings to examine further and which you can simply remain on top of.

As you begin this week, rate your level of happiness, self-esteem and self-confidence on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being not satisfied and 10 being very satisfied. Notice where you are Sunday evening after you do this week’s peace practice to see if there is a change.

And Happy Holidays!