For over 15 years, I’ve wanted to go to Machu Picchu.
For several years, I’ve had a photo of Machu Picchu in my office.
I’ve talked about it and thought about it. But I didn’t do anything until I got angry one Sunday.
A friend of mine mentioned that she was thinking Machu Picchu would be her family’s next active trip (they had just completed the Grand Canyon’s Rim to Rim).
Instead of feeling happy for her, I was indignant. How could she do ‘my’ trip before me?
That evening, at a family get-together, I announced I was going to Machu Picchu, and would anyone like to go with me. My daughter literally rolled her eyes and said, “Mom, you’ve been talking about it for years. Give it up.”
That sealed it. I was going to Peru.
The next few newsletters are about what I learned during my Peru trip.
The first lesson: using emotion/feelings to get things done.
I realized that if my thoughts immediately affect my body, I should be careful about what I think. Now if I get angry, I ask myself why I feel that way. If I can find the source of my anger, I can turn that negative energy into something positive.
In times of great stress or adversity, it's always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.
I'm always amazed that people don't want to think about how they feel and yet, everyone wants to feel happy. What are the chances of becoming happier if you aren't aware of what makes you unhappy or happy?
1. Did you know that, according to some, feelings and emotions are not the same thing (I didn’t or if I knew, forgot). Emotions are the result of chemicals being released after an instinctual reaction (such as fear or safety). Feelings are how we make sense of that information.
2. Feelings are neither good nor bad. Feelings are information about what is going on inside of us. To ignore our feelings is like putting duct tape over an indictor light on a car dashboard. Ignoring the signal that something is wrong doesn’t fix the problem and will probably make the problem worse. Feelings are our indictor lights of what’s happening within us.
For example, let’s say your heart is beating quicker than usual, your forehead is moist, and your hands are sweaty. That could be your body’s way of handling a new situation – of being in an alert state. Are you feeling anxious or excited? Or both simultaneously. You can choose to shift your interpretation towards one feeling or the other, depending on what you say to yourself. But choosing how you feel can only happen if you are aware of your emotional and physical states.
Have you ever felt an unexpected reaction? What could you learn from the experience?One way to become more aware is to pause for a few moments and observe how your body feels and what you are telling yourself. This can be done any time of the day, not just when feeling overwhelmed or reacting to a situation.
Step 1: Take time to become aware.
3. Acknowledging how we feel gives us the opportunity to address the information. For me, the fact someone who hadn’t had a long-time interest in Machu Picchu was going before me (someone who had told herself she was committed to going ‘someday’) was a wake-up call. I had done nothing to make the trip happen. I was angry/frustrated/annoyed with myself.
We can learn to expand our use of ‘feeling words’ in our daily life. Here is a list*. Glance over it. Are there any emotions that you feel frequently but never define? Sometimes defining an emotion can help manage it. Are you angry or annoyed? Angry or hurt? Angry or frustrated? Angry or tired? The latter descriptor in each example helps to narrow the reason for the emotion and direct you towards a solution.
Step 2: Identify the feelings and understand why you feel that way.
4. I learned from my reactions that I deeply wanted to go to Machu Picchu. It wasn’t a passing dream or a someday-it-would-be-nice-if event. I interpreted my feelings as information that if I didn’t take action to make it happen, I could regret it. It was worth it to me to make it happen.
Step 3: Choose what actions you want to take.
5. If you are feeling angry because you are overtired yet can’t sleep, check out our weighted blankets, both our one piece and two-piece.
Have a summer full of the awareness of wonderful feelings – both those feelings you want to expand, and those that redirect you to changes you need to make.
Providing calmness & comfort, learning & laughter,
*Note that the list is called The Vocabulary of Emotions, nor the Vocabulary of Feelings. Even the experts don’t agree on emotions vs feelings.
P.S. Doing a bucket list (as opposed to having a list, like I did for years) is very new for me. Have you ever had a dream/bucket list item that you completed? Tell me about it. What did you learn? Any lessons of how to make it happen more easily or quicker? Any lessons learned because of doing a bucket list item?
I am now definitely ‘into’ creating a new bucket list (much bigger than my original three items) and making things happen.
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