It just dawned on me... in all my attempts at dealing with my own emotions, all the personal-development stuff I've tried, with whatever success... one thing was missing all that time.
Just look at it. Picture me dealing with some "difficult emotion", whatever it is.
The buddhist doctrine will tell me that it just "is what it is", and then to focus on my breath and meditate.
The NLPers will say that I have to break it down into its various sensory qualities, then create a new feeling from scratch, anchor that, yadda yadda yadda.
Tony Robbins will tell me I have not yet succeeded in making "feeling better" a MUST, that I should shift my pose and focus on the right things. Father Barron will want me to rejoin the catholic *cough*cult*cough* church, and Steven Pylarinos will make another video.
The psychoanalyst will try to find the root cause for a few years, the christian will find my lack of faith disturbing and tell me to pray nonetheless, Marshall Rosenberg will offer four stages (not three! not five!), the advaitin will say that there's nothing to learn anyway...
And they all have exactly one thing in common: They offer me one (or maybe two or three) recipes, based on a few ideological premises that are to be accepted. When you cut to the chase, there is One True Way, and by necessity the others are false, or at least not the best way.
There is a certain... fearful timidity to that approach. As if my inner life was like an ancient chinese vase about to fall and break into a thousand pieces!
Do you, my dear reader, share my impression that the best things in life generally tend to make you feel free, spontaneous and creative?
If so, why don't we start being creative about our own emotional development? There is this troubling feeling. I can yell at it to go away. I can consciously choose to identify with it. I can name it, externalize it, picture it as a color. I can breathe into it. I can dance around the room, or at least visualize myself doing so. I can try and add warmth to it, or else push it away and make it appear smaller and in black-and-white. I can focus on my breath. I can come up with a few fun affirmations...
I have all those things to try, and then some.
Doesn't that feel tremendously more empowering than sticking to one method devised by some clever guru? Even if that guru be the christ, or the buddha himself...
Let's reclaim our own relationship with ourselves! Let's turn our self-appreciation into an art form, our self-love into an eternal dance, a fire of passion, creativity, unabashed recklessness. Some things will make us feel divine for a short time, some things will help us in the long term, and some attempts will blow up in our face like a big old jack-in-the-box. Let's learn from our experiences, mistakes and successes, and let's share our insights.
I'm not a broken vase. I am my own art project.