Category Archives: emotions

Getting Your Emotional House In Order

Sufi poet Jelaluddin Rumi, in his poem, “The Guest House,” compares being human to a dwelling, in which emotions come and go, not only as unexpected visitors, but as potent teachers and guides from beyond.

We are a Bed and Breakfast for our emotions.

They come unannounced, at all hours, with different agendas, and they want to be fed our attention.

Rumi tells us to meet them at the door laughing, to invite them in, and to entertain them all. They will leave when their time is up. Some will be frequent guests. Others may visit every so often. Sometimes they may come all at once, while we scramble to get them settled. And at other times, we find ourselves standing quietly at the door in their absence, but knowing full well that they will return as events unfold throughout our lives.

Running our inward Bed and Breakfast takes some skill. It takes emotional intelligence — the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage our emotions in positive, effective ways. When we are aware of our emotions, we can be proactive in relieving stress, communicating effectively and empathizing with others, facing and overcoming challenges, and defusing the bomb of conflict.

Upon meeting our emotions at the door, we find that some can be very intense, demanding, and quite petulant, while others are more low-key, quiet, and peaceful. Some throw tantrums; others remain calm. Hosting some of them can be quite the challenge. But the gracious host or hostess knows how best to serve each guest.

Hosting our emotions starts with knowing our attitudes and knowing our emotional comings and goings. If you find yourself feeling unexpectedly strongly about something, ask yourself why. Put a label on it, admit what you are feeling, identify why you are feeling it, and then take the steps to rectify it. This is an exercise in self-honesty. Many times, you’ll find that what you are feeling is ego-centered, rather than spirit-centered. Controlling your emotions isn’t about pretending they are not there; on the contrary, it’s about acknowledging them so that you can move forward without the extra baggage.

Some emotions require a serious time-out. They come in like a storm, blowing the doors wide open, nearly knocking us out of our place. Emotions are physical responses. Our heart rate increases. Our blood pressure skyrockets. Our immune system becomes compromised. These physical changes are led by the way we breathe. We literally have to catch our breath. We can deal with these changes by resetting our breath. Stop. Inhale slowly. Exhale even more slowly. Know that your out-breath will calm everything before heading into a discussion with these emotions.

Our emotions need our guidance and direction as much as we need theirs. They show up at our doorstep because we are a place where they feel safe.  When we acknowledge them by offering our hospitality, we can learn a great deal about ourselves. But, if we cater to them too much, we enable them to overstay their welcome, causing us to react blindly, often with unintended or unwanted consequences. As we come to know them and ourselves, we can channel their energy into constructive productivity for our highest good.

Getting our emotional house in order will ensure that we are not strangers in our own house whenever our emotions come for a visit. Prepare to meet them. Give them the attention they deserve. Learn from them. Channel their energy. Be grateful for their gifts.

Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our emotions are some of our closest neighbors. Treat them with the love and respect they deserve.


Denying our feelings and emotions leads to a host of physical issues and health problems. Now is the time to voice your unexpressed emotions.

Think of a challenging event or relationship in your life. It could be something you have done that incurred much guilt. Or, it could be someone you have not been able to forgive.

Take a piece of paper and write down all the negative things you’ve felt, done, said, and thought.

Now, shred it into pieces. You can either bury them in the yard, or build a fire and watch them burn. Notice how you feel as you let go.

In your mind, surround the situation or person with the white light of healing and transformation, love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Repeat this ritual until you feel a shift. You will feel lighter as a result because you are making a difference with your efforts.

Be sure to forgive yourself, too.


Related Posts:

Read the introduction to 31 Days of Spiritual Growth here, and find links to each post in this series.

Thank you to my spiritual mentor and friend Merv for inspiring this post.

Shift Happens

Let’s face it.  We have our good days and our bad days.  Things happen that affect our moods.  It used to drive me nuts when someone would say, “Think positive,” or “Keep your chin up,” as I faced challenging times.  Nothing like the obvious to irritate you.  I knew that thinking positively would help me, but I wanted to know how to get there when I felt anything but positive.  When my friend and spiritual mentor Merv told me to practice gratitude, no matter the situation, my eyes and heart opened, and things began to change for the better.  Something shifted inside.  I began to feel lighter in my being.

Giving gratitude for what you have is a great success technique when you need to raise your level of vibration from the depths.  Well, why should I give thanks? one may ask.  Well, why not?  You’ll actually do more harm than good by staying at a lower vibration.  Giving gratitude is a spiritual practice that will elevate your mood.  As you voice (or think) your thanks, you emit positive energy out into the Universe.  The Universe responds in kind by giving you more of those things for which you are grateful because it is a law by which the Universe abides.  It wants to give.

Another way to help you raise your vibration is to use the Emotional Guidance Scale* which charts 22 of our emotions.  The lower one goes on the scale, the unhappier that person is.  The higher, the happier.  One doesn’t have to work through each one to get higher on the scale.  Ask yourself where you are emotionally on this scale.  Then through positive self-talk, move yourself up.  Give gratitude for moving up.  Do things that make you feel happy.  Before you know, things have shifted and you find yourself moving right along.  You feel better.


1 . Joy/Appreciation/Empowered/Freedom/Love
2 . Passion
3 . Enthusiasm/Eagerness/Happiness
4 . Positive Expectation/Belief
5 . Optimism
6 . Hopefulness
7 . Contentment
8 . Boredom
9 . Pessimism
10. Frustration/Irritation/Impatience
11. Overwhelmingness
12. Disappointment
13. Doubt
14. Worry
15. Blame
16. Discouragement
17. Anger
18. Revenge
19. Hatred/Rage
20. Jealousy
21. Insecurity/Guilt/Unworthiness
22. Fear/Grief/Depression/Despair/Powerlessness

Let’s say you are feeling angry because someone you love said something derogatory to you.  Not only did it anger you, but it made you feel insecure and unworthy.  What you are feeling has tripled and now you are carrying a very heavy load of emotional baggage.  And you are telling yourself, “That jerk.  How could he say that to me?  Am I really that way?  Maybe I am!  I feel so terrible about myself.  I’m worthless.  He’s right.”  Now you’ve really piled it on! How do you even begin to change this?

Acknowledge how you feel.  Admit your pain.  Then give thanks for moving up the scale.  Begin thinking about things that make you feel happy.  Think about all the kind words that others have said about you.  And hold on to those thoughts.  Your self-talk may be something like, “He has know idea who I am.  What he said is merely his perception, not mine.  People have always commented on what a good person I am.  They have told me how kind I am.  I AM a kind person!  I AM a good person! No one can stop me from being me!”  Suddenly all that emotional baggage is gone.  You’ve shifted and moved up the emotional scale.  As you hold on to those positive thoughts, you automatically let go of the old, negative ones because you can’t hold both a positive and a negative thought at the same time.  You may vacillate between the two, but the more energy you give to the positive, the better you feel, and the higher you go on the emotional scale.

When shift happens, give gratitude!

*Emotional Guidance Scale as used in Ask And It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks, pg. 114.