Scared of Your Emotions?


When you see a mother with her baby, are you jealous? Or are you relieved it’s not you? Or maybe angry that she could have one, but you can’t? What about your feelings about your partner, or lack of? How do you feel walking in to work? When your kid flunks a test? When your computer crashes?

Are you afraid of what you feel? Scared that the emotion will cover you over like a tsunami and drag you out to sea? Take over your life?

If you’re trying to heal yourself, you will have to learn to release the toxic emotions you buried because you were afraid to feel them. You won’t want to dwell on the feelings as they come up or beat yourself up about them or try to change them. You’ll want to observe the emotions as if they are passing clouds—you feel the emotion arising, acknowledge it, and then watch as the storm clouds blow away.

Of course, it takes some time to be able to get comfortable with your emotions and not get caught up in them. I remember being in a courtroom as a young attorney during the time I was learning to name and acknowledge my emotions. I would write down what I was feeling in the margins of my brief, which was usually jealous, jealous, jealous. That’s how I felt about all those other lawyers who seemed so self-assured. It took a long time for me to feel comfortable with my jealousy and to stop trying to make it disappear. But when I did, I was able to uncover the fear that had created the jealousy, so I could then deal with it.

If I were to ask you, What are you feeling right now? would you be able to answer?

Here are words for some of the emotions, to get you started.

  • Fear is always the basis of the other emotions. It ranges from anxiety and nervousness (including worry, distress, dread, dismay) to fright, horror, or shock that can lead into panic, terror, or hysteria. Or maybe you’re just shaking in your shoes or have butterflies in your stomach!
  • Jealousy includes envy, wanting what other people have, or you can be filled with resentment, bitterness, or spite.
  • Anger goes from irritation to rage. You can be annoyed, mad, furious, disgusted, or spiteful. Do you see red? Maybe your anger is nothing more than displeasure or pique rather than being infuriated.
  • Sadness moves from feelings of self-pity to suffering hurt or anguish or grief. We can be wounded, upset, devastated, or simply unhappy, miserable, or gloomy. Maybe you’ve just got the blues.
  • Shame can come from disgrace or dishonor, humiliation, embarrassment, or indignity. It is closely related to guiltremorse or plain old regret.
  • On the other hand, you can be filled with love and affection, be cheerful, proud, full of optimism and joy. Are you content and happy? Hopeful? Maybe blissful, in good spirits, without a care in the world.

As you can see, there are a lot of choices when it comes to naming your emotions. Let your choice be guided by your “gut feelings.” When you feel a sense of connection with a particular word, write it down in your journal and try to elaborate on what is causing it.

Now can you answer the question: What do I feel right now?

Just pick a word. It would be nice once in a while to have words like peaceful, happy, and cheerful. But whatever the word is, be really honest about it. Don’t try to change it and don’t criticize yourself; instead, congratulate yourself for the awareness. Absolutely everything starts with awareness.


Leave the technology behind, for a few moments . .

What brought you to the point where you were ready to start the work of healing yourself? Was it a betrayal of some kind or a relationship crisis? Maybe it was a health scare, or simply a nagging desire for spiritual growth? What’s most important is that you are willing to face your personal emotional stew instead of burying those feelings. It means that you need some time and space to bring forth your emotional baggage—you know, the stuff that needs to be emptied out so your energy can flow more freely.

I bet you feel a sense of time pressure. We all are racing around with our noses buried in our latest tech gadget, making it very hard for us to live in the present moment. It was different before all the technology that we think is supposed to save us time. All of this equipment, in fact, makes us work longer hours because there is no getting away from it.

You have to give yourself the space in which to do inner work. Here is a technique that only take 10 minutes that helps you into the present moment and creates an inner spaciousness.

Spend 10 minutes outdoors. Most of us work under artificial light a lot of the time and use electronic devices that create disturbances in our energy field—phones, computers, pads and pods, television, microwaves. When we do go outside, we are either in the car or protecting ourselves so carefully that we rarely get any direct sunlight on our bodies. This creates a lot of abnormality in our metabolic functions and our sleep.

It doesn’t matter if the weather is bad or if you live in a city, the key is to feel nature for a moment. In a city, look at the sky and listen to the birds. When in the country, walk barefoot on grass or at the beach. Eat your lunch sitting with your back against a tree.

By spending ten minutes a day reconnecting with nature, you can get back a feeling of calm. When you are in a state of relaxation for ten minutes or more, you can get in touch with feelings that you have pushed down in your body. You will realize that you are actually upset about the conversation you had with your mother yesterday or the argument you had at work with somebody the week before or maybe a divorce that you experienced ten years ago. And those are all fertile emotional ground for your healing.

It’s summertime – go outside for a few minutes and enjoy!


Fathers and Daughters

A woman’s relationship with her father is a key element in how she grows up. Did she know that Daddy loved her? Was he there for her skinned knees and broken heart? Did he instill a sense that she could do anything she set her mind to? Or was he absent from her immediate family? Did she feel replaced, shoved aside by younger, cuter, smarter half-siblings? Did she see him batter her mother? Was he verbally abusive? There are endless possibilities for how this vital relationship plays out and the consequences it produces.

I always knew that my father loved me. Unfortunately, his love for me was complicated by sexual abuse. It took many years of deep spiritual practice, reams of journaling, and learning specific shamanic techniques for cutting the negative cords between us before I was able to clarify internally our complex relationship.

Whatever your relationship has been with your father, it’s never too late to change it for the better. It’s a relationship that always lives inside you, so even if your father has passed on, you can still work on it.

Read my blog on HuffPo about managing to love your father in “Three Ways to Keep Loving Your Father, No Matter What” at

Hope you “like” it!


Shame on Him, Not on You

Powerful men in the public eye seem to think they can have their way and get away with it all. But eventually they get caught, and the litany of their lies and excuses is embarrassing. Just look at the apologies offered by Anthony Weiner, DSK (the Frenchman vs. the hotel maid), John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer, Arnold Schwarzenagger, Bill Clinton, and a host of others over the years.

Some broke the law, like Edwards using campaign money to fund his trysts, while others simply lost the public trust and broke their wives’ hearts. These woman had to deal with public humiliation as well as with their private suffering over their husbands’ betrayals.

Read my blog, “Weiner: Shame on Him, Not on Huma,” in the Huffington Post at for more on this topic and be sure to comment on it there; would love to bring this shameful behavior more into the open, where it can be healed.