The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Diamond Hour #6: Raise your emotions

First, a recap:

1) Five Minute Miracle.  Take five sixty-second “breathing breaks”, one every 2-3 hours.

2) Re-write your top 3-5 goals once every day.  Be certain to have a tangible, photographable
 goal in each of your top three arenas (body, finances, relationships).   And Journal your emotions and

3) Begin to expand out the “5MM”  breaks.  For instance, spend extra  time during session #1 by doing
it first thing in the morning on awakening, listen to your heartbeat.

4) Begin to implement the “Ancient Child” technique to contact  your intuition and passion, clarify
your goals for the year and your  actions for the day that relate to them.

5) Create a 15-minute (minimum) “morning ritual” of motion and emotion to center and begin to move
 your goals and intentions from concept to motion.   This means things like Joint Recovery, Five Tibetans, Sun Salutations…something basic and powerful that requires no equipment.
  Something you do every day to anchor yourself into your physical  body, your vehicle for this world.

  6)  Raise emotions MORE.  Yep, we talked about emotion in Step #5 but we’re going deeper.   We have focused our intentions, begun to move our bodies, and now we’re going to begin the magical alchemy of combining body, mind, and emotions so that everything we are is going in the same direction.

 Charles Darwin believed that emotions were heuristics, simplified instructions for life that help us sort between numerous choices swiftly.  Without  emotion, it is difficult to clarify values, and without values, how  do you know which of life’s countless options to take?

Now,  the evolutionary emotional “flash” is best for short-term decisions (“should I walk down that ally? Ask that person out, or accept an invitation?   Watch that movie?”) but long-term decisions require BOTH emotion and logic (buying a house, marrying a partner, designing a career).   People who are not in touch with their emotions can have a difficult time making rapid decisions. People who are not in touch with their logical centers can make disastrous decisions about their bodies, their careers, and/or their relationships if they don’t hook both together at the same time.

So learning to deliberately raise and channel your emotions not only enables you to overcome inertia, but also make short-term decisions.  Your ultimate destiny is shaped by your capacity to make daily decisions that lead to massive action, those actions in alignment with your long-term goals.  The massive action allows you to “fail forward fast” and gain more data about your environment.  While other people are trying to make a decision a week, you’re making ten decisions a day, and you’re going to blow their results away, if you just pay attention to the results you get.

ANYTHING that interferes with the process of action, interpreting results, and adjusting action must be eliminated.  And changing beliefs or re-aligning values requires…wait for it…emotion.

You must learn to master your emotions.  Part of this is learning to “ride” them like a surfer. Another is learning how to “tack” into them like a sailor.   Part is learning to “direct” them by controlling your focus.  Part is learning to find the “center” of your existence so that the emotions can rage and storm around you, while you remain calm.  And part of it is simply being able to “Observe” your emotions without being attached to them.

In my own life, fear was a major concern in my martial arts training.   This is precisely why it took me SEVENTEEN YEARS to earn my first black belt.   I had a morbid fear of sparring.  I was good at it.  I’d never been hurt.  Hell, I’d taken second place at the 1972 National Korean Karate competitions, and been congratulated on my technique by Joon Rhee himself, the “Father of American Tae Kwon Do.”   But I had only wrapped technique around my fear like a candy shell around a Tootsie Pop’s chewy center.
Under stress, the whole structure collapsed.  And friends, if you are trying to move forward in any hierarchical activity, you will be stress-tested to ego destruction.    No matter how you twist and turn, eventually life lays you bare.   And I couldn’t face the Gorgon.

It took me years of searching to finally find my answer, in the shape of a Shorei Chito Ryu instructor named Terry Letteau, and HIS instructor, Harley Reagan.  These men opened the door to real understanding, that my fear was just…a feeling.  It didn’t mean that I couldn’t, or shouldn’t, or mustn’t, or that I was small and weak, or that I was a coward.   It was just there, and the labels I added to it were what was draining my strength away.

That’s another subject.  The point is that every day, you need to directly engage with your emotions.  You both use them as fuel, and study them as a source of conflict.   If you say “Ever day in every way I’m getting better and better” what voices come up in your head?  Whose voices are they?

If you say “I’m grateful for my life” do you believe it?   If you seek things in your past and present that you can be proud of, do you lie to yourself and say “there is nothing.  I’ve never done anything” and disempower yourself?

If you are going to direct your life, to have your dreams, you have to use all your tools.  And that means keeping them in the very best condition.  And that means to inspect them, under controlled conditions, like a pilot inspecting his plane and going through his check list BEFORE he is in the air…every damned day.

Raise your emotions.  Think of what you love, what you are proud of, what you hope for.  All the things you have to be grateful for.   Look for “tiny” miracles if you want: the fact that you can read, walk, talk.  That you live in a world where you can share knowledge you didn’t have to shed blood and skin to learn…just by opening a book.  That you didn’t have to hunt your own meat, grow your own fruit, pave your own roads. That you are part of a web of association, billions of individuals working together to increase the possibility for all.   Be grateful for your children, parents, friends.  For health, for love, for your past accomplishments and future potential.

Yes, there will ALWAYS be storm clouds.  Everyone has them.  But the way you get through them is by shrinking your ego until you can fit into whatever specks of blue sky you can find.  And when you do that…the storm clouds shrink, and you’ll find the room to do your dance.

So…raise your emotions. Every day.  And then…surf the wave!


1 comment:

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