Don’t pass it on.

I was on the way home from the gym this morning and an “almost” accident took place in front of me. The drivers became angry and a shouting match ensued with some non-creative hand motions and language. They finally stopped short of murder, got in their vehicles and drove off. I couldn’t help but wonder how that might echo into the world during the day.

It struck me that sometimes we get involved in life’s process and extremely negative emotions rise. For me the impact of those emotions can be processed in two ways. One, I remain in that negative state and proceed to share it through out the day with others. Either directly or perhaps more often as a mood and attitude. The other way is containment. I stay with the way the feelings are until they fade. I don’t share, nor pass them along.

For me, staying with a feeling is important and consciously avoiding the content that enabled the feelings is vital. I came to a point where I was looking at anger and trying to express what anger is when it’s experienced with no story, no labels, and no details about how the anger arose. I discovered that “feeling angry” is horrible. It puts me in this place where I get vindictive, mean, and compressed, and very very self centered, and so I suffer. I don’t want to feel like that.

So it’s important for me is to avoid the content, the story, and stick to the feelings. It works the same way with any feeling state. What I noticed is how quickly it all passes without a story to keep it alive. Of course, there are times when the emotional content and story are far too intense to separate, but I find that rare. But also acceptable, and during those times I just ride it out, let it fade, and walk away, hopefully avoiding sharing it.

The other dynamic I noticed is that the positive feelings can be shared without the story about how they came to be. Joy, happiness, and gratitude can be passed along without burdening others about content. I am starting to enjoy that more and more.

Take care of you and all you love,

Bryan Wagner

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