We all experience clutter – in your home and in your mind – and as Thanksgiving has come and gone, I’m reminded of the most complex of all – the clutter of the heart. Also known as chaos, emotions are these wildly unwieldy things that oftentimes seem to take on a full persona of their own, turning our loved ones from compassionate, beautiful beings to fickle, angry and downright hateful individuals.
There is no better way to experience the full range of emotions than to hang with a toddler for a spell. I read somewhere how they were called “threenagers” and I’d say that about sums it up. The insanity of emotions that erupt through us at times of transition are magnified through the lungs of a child.
When sharing what all I was grateful for last night, I thanked my father-in-law for his open heart and willingness to sit with his feelings and love deeply. I love and respect these same traits in my husband, and I have thanked both of them for not hiding their emotions. They are willing to be raw without embarrassment, and show my girls that yes, real, authentic men cry.
The ability to be real with emotions even when you feel weak and humbled.
Song and dance are beautiful forms of expression, and are powerful ways to pull that raw emotion out of you and all that connection of soul to happen. Two videos come to mind for me – both so vastly different, and both such powerful examples of this rawness of the heart.
A friend posted on Facebook a Haka wedding video – I had no idea what Haka was, so I simply watched:
This wasn’t graceful and flowing. They didn’t have “pretty” facial expressions. I didn’t fully understand what was going on. So why oh why did I watch it with tears streaming down my face, the same as the bride? It was the heart. Raw emotion bypassed pride and insecurity and pushed these people to literally exert every ounce of energy in their body and their expression as a way to honor the ceremony. And it was beautiful.
Secondly, if any of you know my girls, you know they know the whole Les Miserables soundtrack by heart. Yes, not the most kid-appropriate soundtrack or subject – I get that and am fully aware of what I’ve exposed them to. Yet they are obsessed and sing it all the time. But why? Why do so many children gravitate toward this?
Again – it’s not just entertainment – it’s heart-wrenching and tugs at every element as you hear and feel the pain and also the awe of her hitting every note so beautifully. It’s hurt and admiration, anger and grief, beauty and disaster all rolled into one. The psychology of Les Miserables and why even children are drawn to it always goes back to the heart. When we experience raw feelings, we connect.
Connect and Truly Feel It All
I want to show my girls a full range of emotions. We are open in this family, and although there are topics we explain are a bit complex and to discuss when they are older, we encourage our girls to ask questions and learn about the raw beauty within us all.
There are so many emotions stirring in each of us, all the time. It’s chaotic, and yet it’s what makes us human. Clearing the chaos does not mean denying the emotion. Clearing allows the raw feelings to be experienced fully, and then having the courage to move on through. When you feel a flurry of emotion rising, identify one and truly feel it. Embrace the good, the bad and the ugly. Acknowledge what’s going on inside. And then – take a deep breath, and let it go.
Yes, let it go. Clearing the chaos is by setting the feelings free. Feel pain, but don’t wallow in it. Experience anger, but don’t dwell in resentment. Bask in joy, but don’t cling to it so desperately that you choose to merely live at the surface. Know that emotions are fleeting. Observe any “threenager” for more than 5 minutes and you will see a full range of emotions and recovery. Resilience is that beautiful thing that gets us through. Know that the sun will shine again, and that you have a purpose.
You are important, you are powerful, and you are loved. There is a reason you are here on this earth at this place in this moment, and that acknowledgement of purpose can help you move past the emotional storm pouring down on you and allow you to once again, step into the sunshine.