Emotional Balance

emotions.jpg

photo by Victor Bezrukov

I thought I’d like to write about what emotional balance means to me. As I mentioned in an earlier post Feelings Are There To Be Felt, I haven’t quite got emotions “worked out”. But I’ve needed to focus on mine lots so I reckon I should really be an expert by now. Ha.

In my younger days I was very withheld emotionally. No-one knew what I thought, or how I felt. I didn’t know how I felt. At school I was very quiet and awkward, and didn’t connect much. One time a group of kids made a list of everyone in the class, with a brief description, to submit to the school magazine. For me they put “Silent Brain”. I misread this and thought it said “Silent Drain”—I was extremely upset! (inside) (It didn’t make the magazine.)

The only time I felt love was for the cat.

I remember when I had my first boyfriend for 9 months when I was 18, I didn’t feel anything about him. I knew I liked him, I suppose, but I was totally out of touch with any feelings of love or affection. He quite freely expressed love for me, but I was just an emotionless blob. The poor guy! I did feel upset after he broke up with me (after first finishing my exams), so I must have felt something.

I usually had one or two “best friends” at any time, but no more boyfriends, and generally the trend of not being able to connect, and feeling isolated, strange and different continued until I found the alternative healing world just before my 33rd birthday (in 1986). Desperation drove me to it—something was not right and I knew that at the rate I was going I would NEVER be happy.

Emotions and connection

I started having rebirthing sessions, where you use breathing to allow feelings you didn’t know you had flow through you. These days the process is often called breathwork or conscious connected breathing, to avoid connotations of people trying to re-live their birth (which I didn’t ever—not in an obvious way, anyway). I also started doing workshops that removed blocks to feeling connected to others, and between the two things, I began to connect with other people really well.

I started noticing and valuing my emotions… Ah Hah! Here comes an EMOTION! I’m gonna let myself feel ANGRY! Or SAD! And I’m also going to ASSERT MYSELF, because I CAN!

This lead to a phase I think many people might go through (I read in a book somewhere that they do, anyway). That is… after learning to let some (or lots of) emotions express, we may go overboard with them for a while, before coming into balance.

So at times I would stomp around being angry, or be very quick to yell at the driver who had done me wrong on the roads. From rebirthing I knew how to breathe through emotional episodes, so the emotion passes through pretty quickly and it doesn’t become a wallowing session, and you are left feeling light and cleansed. I’m so grateful I have that skill up my sleeve, and I have used it lots. But I didn’t always do it… sometimes I preferred to be emotional.

Astrology

Years later, well into my 40s, I found myself turning to astrology for understanding. I was living in a flat by myself, was not working much, had little money, and had become isolated again (except when I did see someone occasionally, I connected with them really well, heh heh). I should say here that I did some really good, creative, performance-type work in this period… it was more that I was socially isolated. And I was also very happy much of the time—but I knew there was more, and I had got to the point where I was feeling that being over-emotional wasn’t serving me.

I came across Jan Spiller’s books ‘Astrology For The Soul’ and ‘Spiritual Astrology’. What amazing books! I discovered that being over-emotional would indeed be my issue, and they clearly described how to deal with all this in a way that made sense to me.

This totally changed things around for me—I had the books out from the library and I kept renewing them and reading them again and again. Probably I had been so cut off from my emotions when I was young because my emotions were so strong that I was scared to feel them.

In these books, Jan discusses our past lives, and the path we are embarking on in this life to bring things into balance. For example, according to this, I had lots of past lives being at home and sheltered from the big, wide world in some way. My joy in this life would be to get out into the world, and I would be successful when I did, but my inclination might be to go with my past life pattern of staying at home. Also, people with this pattern tend to be over-emotional… “These folks can be so overrun by their emotions that they can’t think, they can’t function, and they don’t know why.”

She also describes how things can look when we have got to the point of really integrating the energies and are functioning well. Something we can look forward to when we have got things together. For my pattern it reads, in part:

You sense that your emotional fiber is actually not personal at all but rather your link with the universe. As you listen to your emotional body, and allow it to be expressed honestly and naturally, without censorship, in whatever environment you find yourself, you restore a healthy emotional balance for those around you. Thus, giving your own feelings a voice, expressing the subtle emotional undercurrents you sense going on around you, clears the emotional atmosphere for everyone involved.

Sounds good!

Today I think I’ve got the flow of emotions thing working pretty well. I can let myself feel them without being run by them. I’m still avoiding some of them though, which I know because I have been overeating over the long, cold winter we have just had here in Melbourne, with disastrous results for my waistline. But these days I know I feel love for people and myself and everything, and Frank and I freely say we love each other.

* * *

This post is my contribution to the Life Balance Group Writing Project Stacey is running on her blog Create A Balance. Thanks for running it Stacey!

PS – for any astrology buffs out there, I have Mars in Cancer, the moon’s North Node in the 10th house and my pre-natal lunar eclipse in Leo in the 4th.

Comments are very welcome!

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Comments

  1. What a wonderful post, Robin. I feel like I know so much more about you now. I’m a Libran and though I can’t remember details about my chart, I do recall that I have mostly air and fire signs. Maybe one or two water and NO earth. When I had this done it made so much sense to me because I am so in my head and day dreamy, and I have a temper that is slow to burn but will then explode and disappear again.

    Like many Librans I over-think everything, but I have always been one to express my emotions quite freely. I love hard and a lot. However, I did move very much into my head and pull my emotions in during my 20s. It wasn’t like I planned it, but I’d had a nervous breakdown and I was doing loads of drugs and I yearned to change my emotional and physical life so I basically tried to shut down the emotional child within. At the time I felt that person was just too sensitive and was always getting hurt so it was better to withdraw.

    It wasn’t until my 30s that I really managed to start unravelling my emotions and letting go of the pain that had made me scared to feel. And having Bunny brought up so many new emotions that took a lot of getting used to, and even today 4.5 years later I am still adjusting to life as a mother. What this makes me believe is that our emotional development is a life long process that cannot be rushed. It all happens in the right time, space, and sequence.

    Kelly 🙂

    Kelly@SHE-POWERs last blog post..SHE-POWER Men: Chris Austria Talks Marriage, Identity and What He’d Say to the President

  2. Sorry for laughing when I read “Silent Drain” I’m not sure why it tickled me and I feel kind of guilty for it. Please forgive me 🙂

    I too was emotionally withheld in my younger years and it’s interesting to read about rebirthing which I hadn’t previously been aware of. I too am learning about breathing but in a different way through a mindfulness course.

    Breathing seems such a natural thing to do (apart from during a panic attack!) and at first it seemed odd to me that somehow you could benefit from it so that it can help with your emotions.

    Thanks for linking to the Life Balance Group Writing Project. I will take time to look at that in more detail.

    brainmenus last blog post..My top 10 depression and mental health excuses

  3. I actually don’t follow astrology but people keep telling me I am true to my sign.

    Anywho I’m not quite here yet: “I can let myself feel them without being run by them.”

    Sometimes just saying one word will get me excited and upset inside..enough to ruin a once pleasant moment. I’m trying to control myself, especially at work…acknowledge, but not let that feeling control me….until I can do something about changing my current situation.

  4. Robin, Thank you so much for contributing this post to the Life Balance Group Writing Project. I think I can learn a lot from breathwork. I’ve never tried it, but will now be placing it onto my life’s to do list. Emotional balance is a critical component to practicing the art of life balance. Finding that emotional balance is not an easy task. Thank you * Thank you * Thank you* for writing this beautiful post.

    Stacey / Create a Balances last blog post..Introducing My Authentic Self

  5. I relate to so much of what you said. I went through a more traditional route, as alternative healing was all but unknown when I was growing up. I was a very withdrawn child, and when I finally entered psychotherapy as an adult, I could not feel. For a variety of reasons, I had buried my feelings so deep I couldn’t find them.

    Eventually, just as you described, they were flowing all over the place and then I had to learn to control them in some situations and let them out in others. I didn’t know that people could get through that process in alternative healing (other than a Buddhist process I’ve read about).

    I got heavily involved in astrology for a short period of time, but it really didn’t seem to “fit.” I couldn’t find in my chart the elements of my childhood that had the deepest impact on me, namely severe emotional abuse, violence and neglect.

    I paid a very large fee to one of our best astrologers to do my chart and interpret it for me, and what was said didn’t mention those elements either. I’m glad it’s been so helpful for you, and I wonder why it wasn’t for me.

    Dots last blog post..The Mommy Farm

  6. Well, hello Twin. Okay, so I’m the Gemini, but I mean you totally described my childhood and young adult years. I think the breakthrough for me was when a good friend of mine said everyone found me to be aloof. I was taken aback and asked my teenage children if this was really the case. “Yep,” they said. (Did I ever mention that my children are brutally honest?) Well, basically walls came crashing down and I then went through several years of consciously teaching myself to connect with people. I think I’m pretty much there, but sometimes I catch myself slipping back into old patterns.

    BTW, the only thing I loved as a child was my puppy, and when she got run over, I completely shut down. Basically, I wasn’t taught how to cope with any strong emotion, so decided that grief was something I just didn’t want to experience again, and since the grief was caused by loving something, far better not to love in the first place.

    Urban Panthers last blog post..Friar asked and I’m answering

  7. Wow, what an emotional tale, and I applaud you for sharing it. I can say that I’ve gone back and forth in my emotions. I’ve always been able to share happiness, but sadness or other emotions, even love, felt like I was just going through the emotions. All of that changed when my dad passed away, and I developed diabetes; now, sometimes it seems like I can’t stop having emotions. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Hi Robin – that is really interesting. I need to read more about this. Like you – I stay at home a lot. And when I was ill, I would barely leave the house. Yet I know it’s better for me to get out and about and I feel happier when I do.

    It didn’t occur to me until reading this, that I might be surpressing my emotions. I wonder if I stayed indoors a lot in past lives, as you did?

  9. Thanks for sharing about your personal journey into finding emotional balance. I can most certainly identify with your previous experience about not being connected with your inner emotions.

    Growing up in a traditional Chinese family meant that I was seldom encouraged to say how I feel. Although art could have been an outlet for me, I believed that getting a good job was the only way to go and therefore spending any time on anything creativity would not be focused. I was, therefore, emotionally shut for a long time.

    It took me a lot of healing work, tears and meditation to get to where I am now. I cannot say that I am whole and complete at this stage but I’ve never felt so much freedom in expressing who I am inside.

    Thanks, too, for sharing about Jan Spiller’s books. If I should ever experience a pull towards astrology, I now know which books to look for.

    Evelyn Lims last blog post..Can You Read My Mind?

  10. Hi Robin: I think that sometimes people who are very sensitive shut down because otherwise life would just be too overwhelming. It is hard finding a balance between allowing yourself to feel but being able to release negative emotions so that they don’t disrupt your life and well-being. I actually think that a lot of the world’s problems are caused by a lack of emotional mastery. If we truly allowed ourselves to feel compassion, for example, things like genocide would be unheard of. We need to concentrate more on feeling and less on thinking.

    Marelisas last blog post..Be Happy Now – Set Goals Without Postponing Joy

  11. I think I’m pretty balanced emotionally. With five children and teaching, I had to, I had no choice. I had to get a hold of my emotions in order to serve my students well and order to provide a stable home for my family.

    I’m not really into astrology but I know that I’m a Virgo and the descriptions are usually inline with who I am. My wife is also a Virgo like me but sometimes I think she’s a Leo.

    Chriss last blog post..Opportunity Amidst Economic Distress

  12. I don’t like feelings. I prefer thoughts and ideas and facts. I feel and express love freely, But I tend to suppress or ignore negative feelings, such as anger. I guess it’s unhealthy, but I don’t think it’s going to change.

    Vered – MomGrinds last blog post..Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

  13. Hi Robin. Thanks for sharing your story. We have dealt with emotions in a very similar manner. An insight that just flashed into my head is that when a person is extra sensitive (meaning open) to feelings, they let more of them in, not realizing how powerful they are. Then they get scared and shut down.

    I think you are a gentle soul with very powerful emotions and keeping that “balance” is tedious. Thanks again for sharing more of YOU 🙂

    Davinas last blog post..25 Words That Connect Us — Frosty Sunrise

  14. It was the 1980s when I first started to feel as well. Some of you will remember John Bradshaw and his inner child work. Wow did Little Tommy have some anger and sadness to release. Now feeling my emotions is as natural as smiling with the sunshine.

  15. Hi Robin – Great post – thanks for sharing this! You – and many of your readers – seem to fit the same pattern as me, growing up all cerebral (‘silent brain’!) and suppressing our emotions, then later learning how to feel them. This encourages my feeling that this is what is happening to us as a race. We are moving out of suppression and into being ourselves. This has been especially evident here in England. I remember back to the fifties and early sixties, with everyone walking round in white shirts and gray suits and everything kept under wraps. Then in the nineties, when Princess Diana died, it was like a national catharsis. We were suddenly expressing our emotions! It was kind of bizarre, because we seemed to find this change in us almost as hard to deal with as Diana’s death itself! But I do think this change is necessary if we as a race are to deal with the challenges ahead. We have to start being ourselves and loving each other. The pent up emotions have been getting in the way.

    Simons last blog post..Don’t Worry – Be Happy!

  16. I could go on and on and on about this. I’m very much struggling with my emotions now days. All I can say to all of you is, Amen! and Thanks.
    -Scott

    Scotts last blog post..It was their fault not mine

  17. @Kelly – thanks Kelly – it’s certainly a process that needs to take its own time. It’s interesting to hear how you have worked through these things – thanks.
    @brainmenu – Huh! You laugh at my pain. (it’s OK – it was meant to be amusing in a tragic kind of way). Rebirthing/breathwork helps people let go of blocks that prevent them from breathing naturally – it’s great. Welcome and great to hear from you!
    @Natural – I think that what you are doing at work is part of the process of coming into balance, as long as we deal with the cause of the upset at some point and not just bury it continually. See you.
    @Stacey – And Thank YOU for drawing this post out of me – I was really stuck for something to write about balance, and was contemplating writing to you to say I couldn’t do it, but I couldn’t bear to, so I forced myself to think of something! (once I started it came OK)
    @Dot – I like your “flowing all over the place” – I can relate. If you are at all curious about the Spiller books, I’d suggest anyone starts with ‘Astrology For The Soul’, if you can get it from the library – I’d be very happy to help you out with any info from your chart you need to interpret the book, if you email me about it (I don’t do chart readings, but it’s no trouble to do a chart to find some particular piece of information).
    @Urban Panther – you know I’m a Gemini, don’t you? Your breakthrough came in a similar way to mine, in that I knew people thought I was aloof, and I wanted to change that. Ah… pussy cats and puppies – our family cat was a large grey male, and he lived to 22.
    @Mitch – thanks Mitch – and welcome! Thanks for telling us some of your story!
    @Cath – thanks – I wonder how blogging fits into the scenario, where you work from home but reach out all over the world. Blogging hadn’t been invented when Jan wrote the books! (I’m being facetious, though, she does mean getting out of the house. We could go to the cafe with a laptop, like Darren Rowse?) I could let you know if you have the same pattern as me if you drop me an email about it.
    @Evelyn – hi there – I feel much the same as you, in that I have never felt so at ease with feelings, but I know I will keep developing. Thanks for sharing your story with us!
    @Marelisa – I had an emotional response to your first sentence, so I think you have hit the nail on the head there – so thanks for that. And I agree, the balance you mention is tricky.
    @Chris – hi there – I had to grow up fast when I started school teaching – I had to learn to take the adult position. At that time the problem was more with my personal life (and later on things changed again).
    @Vered – I reckon you are lucky that you feel and express love freely, as that was a struggle for me. I think we try to change things when they become a problem to us.
    @Davina – yes – your insight is very similar to Mare’s – thanks. I don’t find this sort of thing tedious, though, it’s freeing (I don’t quite know what you mean). See you!
    @Tom – Great to hear your story Tom – I can see you smiling with the sunshine (especially as I’m looking at your gravatar). I heard of the inner child work, but did not know about it in a specific way – other than the obvious.
    @Simon – I think you’re right here – and that’s interesting about the Princess Di thing. We bloggers might have made a rather strange bunch of 14 year olds – I remember Hunter Nutall did a post about being proud to be an introvert (or something like that), and nearly all the bloggers responded saying that they were too.
    @Scott – hi there and welcome! All the best with working through these issues – I think, and it appears others agree with me, that it is do-able. Cheers!

  18. Hi Robin – What a revealing story. Although I would consider myself as an introvert, I’ve learned to express emotions for what they are. If I’m sad, I say “I’m sad”, or angry, happy, etc. Putting a name on my emotions has helped me to express to myself and others how I feel. Although at times I don’t like to “feel” some of the negative emotions, I try to release them so they don’t get bottled up.

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..It’s All About Me – Part Two

  19. Exploring feeligns is such an exiting and healthy thing to do. Life is all about learning and as you imply, the truth must be felt to be truly understood. Thanks! I am grateful you share these insights.

    Liara Coverts last blog post..How to access your deepest inspiration?

  20. Hi Robin,

    I’m also quite an introvert; but I know nothing of astrology beyond I’m a Scorpio.

    As for balance, yes, we need that. Both to express and receive emotions from others. I mean something like “listening” emotions, being able to read in the anger, sadness or happiness what’s really going on beyond that expression of emotion

    Miguel de Luiss last blog post..Comments back in moderation.

  21. I was like you when I was younger. I was even voted “most behaved”. And I think in some ways, that memory of myself at that age makes me empathetic towards others who might not zing through the sky like a shooting star but are more steady and unassuming like a star.

    Pink Inks last blog post..Who Is This Man?

  22. @Barbara – hi there – sounds like you’ve got a great handle on it.
    @Liara – hi and thanks for your comment!
    @Miguel – hi – you make a good point about reading the real feelings going on behind our emotion. I think we can use some feelings to mask other ones – like feeling angry to avoid feeling hurt, for example.
    @Pink Ink – hi there – “most behaved” – oh dear. I think I would have got that too, had the vote been taken – and I would not have been too happy about it! Glad you have found a way through – I love your star analogy.

  23. I’m so happy you participated in the project. Your post is brilliant!

    Stacey / Create a Balances last blog post..Introducing My Authentic Self

  24. Robin, this is a wonderful post. Emotional balance — probably just what I needed to hear (even if I don’t want to admit it). I think I tend to hold my emotions in too much, not letting them out. And that’s an imbalance. Just like letting them out and letting them take control is an imbalance. No, I know I hold them in too much. I now just need to determine how to comfortably let them out. Maybe the breathing sessions. I also think I am much better at expressing my emotions through written word than I am at doing it in spoken word. So, I’m not sure where that takes me….

    Anyway, Robin – I really loved this post. Because it hits a spot with me – one I need to address.

    Lances last blog post..Life Balance: A Very Personal Pyramid

  25. Hi Robin —
    Thanks for sharing that journey with us. If my family had a motto, I think it would be “Stuff the Emotions NOW!” I’ve seen the price people pay in disease and illness because stuffing catches up with you later in life. Part of me is so empathic that it can be too much, so I close down. It’s taken awhile to realize that it doesn’t have to control me, and I can help others if I use it wisely.

    SpaceAgeSage — Loris last blog post..Media fast opens inner vistas

  26. @Stacey – so am I! (happy that I participated, that is)
    @Lance – thankyou! I’m glad you liked it – I think it’s an issue for most of us. Expressing feelings through writing sounds like a good way to get going, to me.
    @Lori – LOL at your family motto! You sound very like me with the being “so empathic it can be too much”, and learning to use it better.

  27. Hey Robin. This is so neat that I come over here and see you talking on this subject. I have recently just started Yoga and I am learning different breathing techniques. I really feel a difference. Some good and some bad. I am the opposite. I was very open to my feelings in my younger years. I began shutting them out right after having children. I sometimes get a “drowning feeling”…and I am learning that I must work on this.

    This was such a great post. Your honesty is why it touches each of us.

    Tammy Warrens last blog post..Offer love to someone else

  28. Great post! Feel like you find the mood of your emotion while writing this post. By the way, thanks for your time to reply my mail.

    Tikno (love-ely)

    tiknos last blog post..Capital Punishment Against Bali Bombers

  29. @Tammy – good to see you – all the best for working through those feelings.
    @Tikno – thanks – I’m glad you understood my feelings.

  30. Hi Robin. What I meant by “tedious” is that in my experience, when I’m allowing myself to be fully in the feeling, there is a fine line to walk between feeling it and then running from it. I hope that makes sense 🙂

    Davinas last blog post..Awakening To A Balanced Life

  31. G’day… I’ve just read this… a long while after the post… I like you even more now :-)… I think that you’re a clever cookie to look after yourself.

    best wishes Ribbon

    Ribbons last blog post..Six Word Saturday… x 3

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