It is the natural state of an Expanding Human Being to experience no emotions for hours, maybe even days at a time.
Emotions are a response to life, to danger, and should be momentary and responded to. Not the continuous torturous emotional states you are experiencing.
When something evokes a strong emotional response, fear, disgust, there is something you need to deal with. Something that is out of whack, something that is unfinished business, suppressed, swept under the rug, and threatens to throw you out of you equilibrium, your peace of mind.
Of course, for most people life is going from emotional turmoil to emotional turmoil, but it doesn’t change what I said: emotional turmoil is an indication that there is something unfinished, and it needs to be finished.
I had one of those come up on my birthday. Someone I respect came on my birthday call in “stealth” mode, on the phone only, without logging onto the webinar. I could not see her there, it was just me and my core students, so we were fooling around, and I was, kind of ornery in my language.
Later I found out that she listened in on the call… and I entered those “emotional turmoils.”
I brought the topic to the Playground to work it through, but it didn’t get complete.
But today I got lucky: a client of mine wanted to take a picture of mine, and brought his camera. And that emotional turmoil hit me again: I was terrified, again, that the “world” will find out something about me, and I am not in control.
I asked the client to allow me to share what was there, and he said OK.
my story of being exposed
Soon, no one was allowed to play with me.
Later, in high school, I was seated alone in a twin-bench, no parent would allow their child to sit next to me.
The horror of being ostracized, being outcast, has stayed with me as a constant fear. I moved two countries, but it came with me… it’s my shadow.
After telling what happened to my client, I also saw that coming to terms with the world, that people will judge you, and it says more about them than about you, that with the proliferation of social media, cell phone cameras, and such, it is impossible to live freely unless you can come to terms with the fact that our lives is public and our shadow is there for others to judge. And so is out light.
People judge however they are. They can’t see you, they only see themselves.
That won’t spare you a public opinion, but you can stick with who you are, and do well in the world.
Easy? I don’t think so. I think it takes moving to the vertical plane of living, away from the horizontal, where what other people say about you is who you become.
One of my favorite lines in all of literature is said by Roark, the architect in The Fountainhead. The villain, Ellsworth Toohey, working diligently to destroy Roark, asks him: “Why don’t you tell me what you think of me in any words you wish” and Roark answers: “But I don’t think of you.”
And that attitude is the vertical plane. I don’t think of you… all your opinions, judgments, don’t say anything about me, and I don’t think of it.
The story of the tow truck driver on the vertical plane
I have shared this story before, but it was such a turning point in my life, I have to share it again: In 1996 I had a van, a Ford 150. It broke down on the New Jersey Turnpike. Although I had AAA, I had to hire a tow truck from the open market.
The tow truck driver was a retarded young man. Smiley, polite, efficient, but obviously mentally deficient.
On the tow back to the shop, I asked him how he can be so cheerful in spite of his deficiency.
He said it was due to his mother.
Whenever he would want to go down the slippery path of calling himself stupid, she corrected him. She said: you are not stupid. You made an error in judgment.
I had never heard of anyone who was brought up like that. My parents surely called me stupid.
But an error in judgment is human, and if and when you make an error, you can always correct it. And that makes you smart. And, surprise, confident, like this young man was.
It is possible to look at life differently from other people. It is possible to look at yourself differently from other people. You need to understand, maybe even feel compassion for them: they don’t know any better, their mother judged them, so they judge others.
But you, at your place, can stop that vicious cycle, and stop judging them, stop judging yourself, and stop being afraid of others’ judgment of you.
In completing that emotional turmoil, I have just got to that place of not being afraid of others’ judgment of me.
The air is so clean here… Breathing is easy, light. Life is wonderful. I can now relax.