Using Emotions as a Tool for Growth

The baseline of life is neither happy nor sad. Happiness and sadness are tangents off of the central point of life which is to BE.

From the moment of birth, people have projected onto you that your mood and emotions dictate your personality and identity. Are you sad? Are you angry? What would make you happy? Hmmm… interesting. The last time I checked I am neither mood nor emotion. The simple fact that I can check in on my emotional sate or notice mood shifts indicates that I am part of something larger.

Not to throw shade at your worrisome parents and guardians, but seriously, can the habit of identifying through emotions fall away with time.

The truth of the matter is that you DO NOT require an identity of any sort. You are a cosmic wish. A feather floating down an infinite river.


Many of the issues plaguing our society are connected to the over identification with emotional states and feelings. The irony is that emotions and feelings cannot be fully used to their potential if we react or decide because of them.

This metaphor has always spoke to me, emotions are like GPS instructions. If the little voice says “in two miles, turn left”, do you sit and wonder how to ‘left’? What is turn? Oh dear, what caused me to be so not ‘left’ to start with? Of course you wouldn’t, you would turn left in two miles and wait for the next direction.

Emotions are similar in this way. A feeling of anger can be a sign to step away from a situation, or to make a sharp turn deeper into oneself. Anger as a tool is a reminder to push out your boundaries, remove toxic people from your life, or to look deeper into your own actions. Perhaps the anger with yourself is due to the fact that the little whispers and voices are not being heard, so now they are taking a different, more poignant route to get your attention. A little caretaker if you will, bumpers on a bowling lane to keep you out of the gutter.


Happiness is a tricky one, not that there is anything wrong with happiness. However, happiness can feel so ‘good’ that we seek it over and over. Basically, we become addicted to the feeling of happiness or moreover, the ‘good’ feeling. It is our positive associations with happiness and negative associations with sadness that create the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ tag, not the feelings themselves. Many mindfulness practices help us to alleviate the past associations through presencing oneself.

As stated above, you can ‘notice’ your own feelings. You may even tag them and identify their root cause and seek to alleviate or increase the frequency of the cause. This is good practice, as long as these outer circumstances are under your control. In the end, you can only really control that which you do, think, and say.

Mindfulness and awareness at their core are most effective with little to no input from the observer.

The simple act of observing without objection is the single most powerful step you can take towards a state of bliss or joy. Bliss and joy can be experienced regardless of the emotional state, simply based on one’s perspective and attitude towards the emotions themselves.

When an intense emotion arrives at your cosmic doorstep, you are not required to let it into every part of your being. It is perfectly valid and respectful to observe what is happening from a space of love. This is the time when you have an opportunity to choose your level of engagement, as opposed to it choosing you. Remember you are doing your best, and growth takes time and more importantly, practice.

Making Emotions Work for You :: 3 Steps

Everyone is different, but these three practices will keep you in sound spirit when facing emotional deluge.

  1. Observe, feel, and count. Some count to ten, some to one hundred, or even backwards from 1000 by 3’s. Basically, find something that your mind can do that provides logical structure. As you count, you can still feel and observe the emotions as they work their way through your body. Observe how your body changes and tingles. Maybe your gut tightens or loosens with the release of emotion specific chemicals into your body. Okay, nothing wrong with that, you are still in charge. Much like you would if you had stubbed your toe, give your body a minute to let everything flow before jumping back into your day. Keep counting as this will also assist in not ‘jumping to conclusions’. With the mind at ease and occupied with counting, you are more likely to keep your reactive little hands out of the natural flow of things. Trust me when I say this… actions and decisions made while emotionally charged will need to at the very least be re examined. At the worst, they can leave lasting stains on your reputation, relationships, and psyche. The key is to stick with it until the buzz of emotion begins to calm. Trust the body, feel it working in your favor, let the emotional chemicals run their course and drain from your system. Thank your body for being so beautifully unique.
  2. Journal, talk, cathartic release. Step 1 is an everyday, anytime practice. Step 2 however, might require some scheduling or private time. This actually makes step 1 even more important to stay on top of. At the beginning and end of everyday, or whenever you have the chance, take some time to reflect and release. Tougher emotional states (including happiness addiction) can create rigid structures within our energy field. You’ve done the work in step 1 to allow the emotion to flow naturally, now capitalize by releasing the imprint. Therapy is wonderful, talking about the situations that you have experienced. Journaling can be just as powerful, and the more you practice, the more powerful it will become. Remember there is no wrong way to journal, simply begin writing. Or, for bonus points, recall the specific situation that caused emotional upheaval and begin writing your honest and unadulterated thoughts. The key here is to show absolutely no filter in what you write. This isn’t about learning or sharing with anyone else (in fact there is no need to go back and read it) but it is about releasing, purging, clearing the decks. Finally, we are all different, so perhaps therapy and journaling aren’t for you. Cathartic expression is the final recommendation in step two. Recently here in Tucson Arizona a new business has arrived called the ‘Rage Room’. Basically, this is a place where you can pay to go break stuff. A safe environment for the expression of potentially dangerous and destructive feelings. This is just one example of catharsis, and in my opinion should not be relied upon, but once in a while, YES PLEASE! Catharsis can be YOGA, catharsis can be dance, catharsis can be gardening, chopping wood, playing sports, wrestling, physical and sexual play (solo and with another). This part is easy to personalize. For me the best catharsis is hiking, with dance a distant but effective second. The simplest form of catharsis I know is to simply go to nature and sit down, lie down, or walk slowly. If you are grieving or working through something very deep, try walking uphill with a backpack on. Hold crystals in both of your hands and see yourself ascending to the top of the experience with each step. You are allowed to feel at peace with loss. You are allowed to feel angry with pain. You are allowed to feel empowered and confident in times of struggle. Stand on top of the mountain of grief and breathe freely. Where grief is concerned, it is important to clear the lungs, so get out in the fresh air and get winded.
  3. Reprogram, upgrade. This is the final step and may require a few attempts or cycles. Never be afraid to ‘go at it again’ with your belief systems and emotional patterns. The word ‘upgrade’ implies that there is room for improvement and reorganization, so keep going. Throughout steps 1 and 2, you are learning about yourself and your innate patterns. Your thoughts will dictate your emotions, and without mindfulness, the patterns can spiral downward until you ‘living in your emotional body’ (these practices are designed to eliminate or avoid this). Alas, we are mindful ones. So here is where you break the whole cycle and choose to approach life from a different perspective. There is no need to blame oneself for the excess of this or the lack of that. In fact, every deficit or necessary change is an opportunity to align more with your divine self, so say thank you to the imperfection of life, and soldier forward. Through continually observing without reaction, you are loosening the connections of old thought patterns. Again, as stated above, you may find some habits of thinking harder to break than others. Stay strong and dedicated, you are resilient, you are massive, you are the universe, you are badass, you are loving, and also, you are human and just trying to figure out what the heck is going on here. This is where you own your existence, where you reclaim the unworthiness and victim mentality and turn them into abundance and opportunism. The best practices for this will, again, be dependent upon the individual. For myself, I am a big fan of mantras and affirmations. I will end this post with some of my favorites. Use a book like “You Can Heal Your Life” by Lousie Hay, or write your own. In many cases, I am not a fan of the use of mantras or affirmations, as they can be used as a panacea and never really get to the root of the issue at hand. If you aren’t in a good place and refuse to change, no number of affirmations or mantras will save you. The reason that this is step #3 is because you have done the first two steps with loving intention. To simply use step 3 would not be effective. Respect yourself through acknowledging shadow tendencies prior to attempting to disconnect and reprogram. Reprogramming can be challenging, because you are literally challenging the existing structures within your reality. You may have to edit your friend group, how you spend your time, your habits. Essentially, you have built your life around outmoded beliefs systems and emotional patterns. Because of this, you may have to do some serious renovating to make space for the abundance of aligned energy to find you. Keep this in mind, and use these steps to become aware of self sabotage along the way, your entire field of manifestation will thank you.


















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