Challenge Your Perspectives

When I was a young girl, my sister and I used to visit an aunt who had a swimming pool. It was always a treat, as all we had was a small, kiddie pool and sprinkler at home. One summer, we even got to spend a whole week at my aunt's, and we got as red as lobsters, as we were in the water every available minute.

One of our favorite things to do was to make a whirlpool. If you've never done it ? you've missed out! Seriously, though, it seems to me now to be a lesson about the ability one has to make choices around emotions.

You see, the purpose, in our eyes, was to go round and round and round?getting the water to "follow" us. What eventually would happen is that the water current would get so strong, we wouldn't have to work at it any more. As a matter of fact, not only would we not have to work at it, it would carry us along. It was difficult, if not impossible, to resist being carried in the direction it was going in.

By the time it got to that point, we'd decide that we would want to make it go the other way. Often, especially in the beginning, we would have to quite literally hold onto the side of the pool to get ourselves to go in the opposite direction. At first it was difficult, but it got easier and easier, the more we did it. Eventually, you probably guessed it, we would be carried away by the water going the opposite way.

Funny thing about this exercise?we thought it was FUN! Apparently, according to my aunt, it was a good thing we did, as it would stir up any debris, and help to clean the pool. Can you imagine how it might have been, if we thought we were doing WORK? Yuck! The experience would have been all together different. It would have seemed difficult and like a chore instead of a challenge and fun.

Interestingly, in a metaphysical sense, water is related to our emotions. I tell you this because I find it adds an interesting dimension to the lesson I have uncovered.

In my work as a StressBusterBuddy, people are often confronted by what is going on in their life. Oftentimes, it is because these people are caught up in the emotion that they are feeling. Perhaps you see where this is going?

Just in the very same way my sister and I were caught up in the whirlpool, with very little choice but to be carried away, or fight it, these people are caught up in their emotions. The problem is, if there is one, is that the strength of the pull is so strong, that they don't even realize that they can grab onto "the side of the pool" (another way of putting that is to be determined) to help themselves go in a different direction in regard to what they are feeling.

So often I have heard someone ask what they can do, only to receive a response that is similar to, and feels like, "I can't do that." I know how it feels, I have been there, too. I used to be (and occasionally still am) carried away by my emotions. If I was down, well, how the heck was I going to be anything else?! If anyone tried to help me out of it, I certainly wasn't going to let them. Of course, it wasn't a CONSCIOUS choice on my part. I just wasn't aware that I had an option.

Plus, I have often heard you have to allow yourself to feel what you're feeling. I wouldn't disagree, but I think in the midst of it all is a very important question: how long will you let yourself continue to go in a direction that is not suited to what you want, and who you want to be?

What I have come to realize is that as my thoughts go, there, too, go I. At first I seemed to control the water, but then it seemed like the water controlled me - that is, while I let it. In very much the same way my thoughts seem to control my emotions, until my emotions seem to control my thoughts - that is, while I them.

The fact is that I very much had control of the water, as long as I CHOSE it. In very much the same way, I have control of my thoughts, and ultimately my emotions, as long as I CHOOSE it. It may seem that I have to work very hard to get myself out of whatever it is that I am feeling, but in much the same way that I saw something that cleaned the pool as fun, I can also choose to look at what I am doing in a way that is in some way empowering, maybe even pleasurable.

Is this easy? Ha! I can almost here you say. Well, I am not saying that it is easy OR difficult. What I am saying is that the cool thing is that it is...up to YOU.

Essa has a varied, non-judgmental, and fun approach to the work she does as a StressBusterBuddy. She is an author, publisher of a mindful meditation CD, and a Hypnotist. Anyone stressed would benefit from Essa's soothing voice, style, and stressbusting techniques. To learn more about Essa, her CD, or to listen to her online recordings, visit http://www.StopKickingYourself.com or call 212.560.7582 (where you can also hear a 3-minute Relieve Stress Recording ? only local, toll, or long distance charges apply).

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