A Moment to Reflect

September is one of my favourite months. Here in the UK, the frenetic growth of spring and summer has eased and a mellow fullness has taken its place; the sunlight has both a clarity and golden softness to it and never fails to elicit joy and hope. It draws from me a certain type of reflective mood; there is something about September light that taps me into that timeless joy that hums just beneath the surface of everything; we can so often be blind to it, yet it only needs a shift in perspective for us to grasp it. It is deeply nostalgic but in a way that suggests that a happy memory can plug us into that place, but the place itself does not reside in the past, it dwells in an ever-present now.

I have been thinking a good deal about reflection as opposed to reaction, particularly with regard to my own emotional responses. There is a fantastic quote by Pema Chödrön:

You are the sky. Everything else is just the weather.’

Pema captures beautifully the notion that we can hold our centre if we connect to that wise observer within, the part of us that witnesses our emotions as they move through us. She reminds us that our emotions are transitory, constantly flowing and changing as they respond to, and reflect, the events of our lives. The emotions are ours but they are not our essence; our essence is wider, deeper; more knowing and in touch with the bigger picture (call it the soul, spirit, or higher self, if you like).

Expressing our emotions is vital; what we feel in any moment communicates so much useful information to us. When we allow ourselves a healthy connection with our emotions, they can tell us what feels right for us, what feels wrong; they can let us know when our boundaries have been violated; what gives us pleasure or pain. They can also show us what needs work, or tender love and care. If we block or suppress them, stagnant, unexpressed emotions can be poisonous for our bodies and our relationships with self, others and the world. But emotions are powerful things and sometimes we can be swept off balance by their intensity; sometimes – just like the extreme weather around the world of late – our emotions can be frightening and destructive. When we lose our emotional footing, it is easy to forget that wise-self and confuse the weather with the sky.

It is a balancing act between the constant flow of emotion and the still reflection required not to lose oneself in a torrent of reactions. I have had moments when I have caught myself experiencing an uncomfortably emotion, gripping on to it and stirring it with obsessional thoughts. Ultimately, I end up dumping on those around me because the building of pent-up emotion has become too much to hold inside. Not good – no fun for anyone.

I have learned the hard and painful way that we must all take responsibility for our feelings. Even if we have received bad treatment from someone, we are presented with our own choices as to what we do with the feelings that such treatment inspires. Do we react blindly, or do we feel the emotion, let it flow through and out of us, at the same time reaching for that still place within where we can take a moment before we act or speak? It has been helpful for me to remind myself that the emotion is merely a moment in time, if we can feel it and then release it. The pain and discomfort come when we hold on to the emotion, when we resist its movement through us; when we make it an obsessional focus that causes a far greater pain to ourselves and those around us than the original emotion. I have been learning to feel my emotions and be mindful of where I am focusing my thoughts.

Reflection is a valuable technique. It gives us the space to see the beauty around us; to uncover the wisdom in the lesson and to connect to both our intuitive selves and our powers of discernment.  When we take a breath and reflect; when we see through the eyes of the calm observer within, we are given the opportunity to both honour and bear witness to our feelings, whilst still being able to make mindful decisions based on kindness and care. Not always an easy task but one that illustrates that we are not helpless reactionary victims but conscious beings gifted with the power of a choice.

 

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Julie said,

    September 12, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Maria, I am so happy that you are writing again as I am so often inspired by your words. I am working on a workshop at the moment based around ‘autumn’ would it be okay to quote some of this post?
    Sending you lots of island love, Julie x

    • luckyloom1 said,

      September 13, 2017 at 12:14 pm

      Thank you so much Juile! :0) xxxx Yes, of course, you would be very welcome to quote from the post – I feel very honoured. Hope all is well! Miss you loads! Sending huge love and a big hug across the windy Solent! :0)) xxxxxx

  2. September 26, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Reblogged this on contemplativeinquiry and commented:
    Maria Ede-Weaving writing about September. As the month draws to an end, I find parallels in my own experience.


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