Search Blog Content

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cycles: Managing Emotions with Intention

by Judy Ringer


 I've been happily reading Margaret Wheatley again recently. Her writing settles me. Her style is poetic and her content is, in my view, sublime. For example, from her book Finding Our Way.

"Life is cyclical - we pass through different moods; we live through seasons; we have times of rich harvests and times of bleak winter. Life uses cycles to create newness. We move from the old to the new only if we let go.

"Instead of fleeing from the fearful place of chaos or trying to rescue people from it, leaders can help people stay with the chaos, help them walk through it together, and look for the new insights and capacities that always emerge."

In Finding Our Way, Meg Wheatley writes of our reactive need to "fix" things through command and control leadership when what our world needs today are leaders who will help us find the order that is trying to emerge from problems, fear, and uncertainty.

For me, part of finding my way back to peace, center, and purpose is a willingness to sit in the discomfort of uncentered chaotic feelings. These, too, are life. These messy feelings connect me to what is trying to emerge, to insight, to a source of inspiration - if I can pay attention.

What is difficult is the "paying attention." I am distracted by my resistance to the very emotions that might connect me to something new. Emotions like anger, shame, and sadness (to name a few) are difficult and distressing. I'd rather not be angry (who can't align with this?). I get angry and immediately cop an attitude toward the anger. Oh, I shouldn't be angry. What's wrong with me? Or I pretend I'm not, even to myself. Consequently, I don't receive the opportunity that exists in that moment to learn from the state of being.

What if I could sit with the anger and really let myself feel it? When I can do this - embrace the emotion, look at it, and let myself feel the power of it - I find I'm able to express the emotion more purposefully. I can decide what next steps to take. I become intentional and conscious, instead of reactive. When I resist by refusing to look or pretending it's not there, the emotion is expressed in unconscious ways.

Emotions may just be the way to finding our human-to-human connection with others in this oh-so-chaotic, oh-so-interesting world. Staying present with myself is key.

About the Author:
Judy Ringer is the author of 'Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict'and the award-winning e-zine 'Ki Moments'. Judy is a nationally known presenter, specializing in unique workshops on conflict, communication, and creating a positive work environment. She is the founder of Power & Presence Training and chief instructor of Portsmouth Aikido, Portsmouth, NH, USA. To sign up for more free tips and articles like these, visit

No comments:

Post a Comment