More recently than I care to remember, my roommate’s friend stood at our dining table singing “Hakuna Matata.” The solo was as unprovoked as it was undesired. I was winding down for bed and the last thing I needed was an amateur belting out Disney tunes.
“Please stop,” I said. My roommate seconded my request but this dude was undeterred. He must have been desperate, too, because he appealed to me for validation, “Isn’t ‘no worries,’ like, a Zen, yoga thing?” he said.
Speaking for myself after one decade of practicing yoga and a few decades on Earth, this much is clear:
Emotions are signal flares guiding us to our thoughts. What we think produces how we feel. Seen this way, worry is powerful information. Delivered free of charge, nonetheless! And who passes up free stuff regarding our minds, which essentially dictate everything else in our lives? Not me.
And yet, common wisdom dictates, ‘Don’t worry.’ Sure. Don’t worry why you’re worried. Don’t worry when the same concern resurfaces. Ignore it. Soon you’ll forget it never heals.
See how insane, obtuse and hollow this mindset is? Can you imagine if we treated physical pain this way? We’d stagger through life like characters from “The Walking Dead”— bloody, uncoordinated gnarly messes covered in sores and gashes.
But no. In the land of physical wounds, everyone’s attentive and eager to help: alcohol is better for cuts than witch hazel. The generic of Neosporin is identical to the real deal. Band-Aids with Nickelodeon characters are more effective than ones with network TV stars.
Where’s the medical attention for emotional pain?
For that, suppression is widely accepted as the best medicine. Seal it beneath a layer of concrete. But like weeds, those damn feelings push through any crack, insisting on sunlight. Why not yank them out by the roots and see what we’re dealing with?
No one should obsess over emotions. However, dismissing them as cramping your laid back style is like complaining vegetables are boring and choosing fast food instead—a short-term “solution” with repulsive long-term consequences. Like McDonald’s, leaving emotion unexamined is always an option. But both choices leave you laden and heavy, fat and stuffed. And living full of rage un-screamed, heartache un-cried and opinions unspoken is no life at all.
Stop treating your emotions like inconveniences to get through. They are not the staff meetings of life inside your own body. Give them the attention and consideration they deserve. Not since it’s the polite thing to do, but because they’re a shortcut to your mind.
Now that’s something to sing about.
If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, please share it on Twitter or Facebook using the "Share" button below. Or, leave a comment and tell me what you think!