“Your emotions, like a painter, color the way you see the world.”
Our June 9th full moon is in the house of Sagittarius. It is a time to broaden our experience of ourselves. Full moons are often associated with the full expression of emotions. They can encourage romance and true love or inspire raging anger and terror.
What are you feeling today?
Modern neuroscience reveals that our emotions define our lives. Did you know that decisions you thought were rational are actually based on your emotions? Research now shows that both our vision and hearing are intertwined with our emotional state. For example, a hill looks steeper to a person who is sad. A sound is louder to a person who is frightened. The wisdom keepers of indigenous cultures have always told us that our perception of the world is shaped by our emotions. How wonderful that modern science is catching up with the “legend and lore” of the ancient seers.
We know that human emotions are universal. All humans have the capacity to experience love, joy, grief, or anger. However, the experience and expression of emotions is subjective and culturally indicated. Our society has taught us to control our emotions, especially the bad ones. We suppress our anger to such a decree that we are often not aware of it. We do not tolerate excessive emotional states like sadness and grief. As a result, emotional trauma has no public avenue to heal.
In many indigenous cultures, communities express emotions together, in ceremony. An individual’s grief becomes a community grief. An individual’s joy is celebrated in community. In fact, an individual suffering an emotion not adopted by the community may be diagnosed with soul illness that requires the removal of curses and cords and the retrieval of lost soul parts to restore wholeness.
Are you ready to investigate your emotions? Start by building an emotional vocabulary to recognize the emotions that are present throughout your day. Hundreds of words are used to label a multitude of emotions.
In an effort to rationalize our experience of emotions, Robert Plutchik created a “Wheel of Emotions.” This wheel functions like a color chart of complementary colors. Each petal of the flower indicates a primary emotion. The most intensive expression of the emotion is located at the center of the flower. Gentler emotions in the same family are locate further out on the petal. Similar emotions are located in close proximity while opposing emotions are located 180 degrees apart.
Like mixing primary colors to create a unique new tone, the “Wheel of Emotions” demonstrates how you might combine various emotions to create your feelings. Secondary emotions are indicated in the spaces between the petals. These are created by a combination of emotions from corresponding petals. For example, if you combine joy and acceptance, the outcome is love. Contempt or hatred is the result of mixing anger and disgust.
Ritual: Color Your Emotions
It takes practice to recognize and label your emotions so that you can reference them when needed. Just by naming an emotion, you can reduce its impact on your world view.
Choose three times during the day to check in with your emotional state. Set the alarm on your phone to alert you. MoodTrack Diary is a great app to record your moods or emotions.
Note down your emotion. What were you thinking about at the time? What activity were you pursuing?
Note any sensual qualities of your emotions…taste, color, texture, sound, and such.
On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the most intense, how intense is your emotion?
As you track your emotions, reference “The Wheel of Emotions” to refine your vocabulary. If you have a fright or a joy at other times of the day, make a note. At the end of the week review your emotional chart looking for patterns in the rise and fall of your emotions. You will be surprised at what you find.
You might just recognize how your emotions color your view of the world around you.