August 5, 2013

Get Your “Wheeeeeeee!” on: How to Ride an Emotional Roller Coaster. ~ Courtney Prosser

Photo: Fellowship of the Rich

Ever felt like you are on a roller coaster of emotions?

One day you feel on top of the world, skipping happily through your day, and the next, life has pushed your buttons and you begin the spiral downwards towards the pit of sadness or frustration.

Up, down, up, plateau, doooooooooown, up, down, plateau!  

This strange but oh-so-common phenomenon is referred to as the roller coaster of life. Happy moment, sad moment, joyous day, frustrating day, peaceful month, dramatic month, flowing year, stagnant year!  

This up and down momentum is triggered by the constant changes in our outside circumstances and our emotional world. The highs and lows are continually stimulated by the ever changing flow of life. Just like in nature, there is the changing of seasons, the ebb and flow, the rise and fall, and night and day; so too do our lives and emotions have their own cycle of high and low.

However, the constant ups and downs can get tiring, so how do we get off the roller coaster?

Well, on the surface, we can’t get off, nor would we want to! We can’t stop the natural flow of change that is part of being human and part of life. We can, however, reduce the intensity of the highs and lows by dealing with the emotional baggage that triggers such steep peaks and troughs. We can face the inner darkness that will often surface in patterns of avoidance and resistance causing greater ups and downs.

On a deeper level, we can use the roller coaster to remind ourselves to dive deeper than that which is subject to change. We can move our focus beyond the rise and fall of life to the essence of who we are—our true nature—which is beyond change and eternally at peace.

Three tips to find relief from the crazy ride:

1. Accept it!

Step one is to acknowledge that it is a natural part of life. Acceptance of the cycles of life. Acceptance that all emotional states are impermanent and will always be changing. Acceptance that there is a greater wisdom to the natural cycles of life—allow them to move through you.

2. Enjoy it!

Whhheeeeeeeeeee! Just like the roller coaster at the theme park that we go on for fun, we can learn to enjoy the whole spectrum of emotions that are part of being human. Clients in my sessions often ask me how to overcome certain emotions or to get rid of them, but true freedom comes from embracing all of life. To attempt to rid ourselves of certain emotions is unnatural and sets us up for disappointment. Instead, we need to learn to accept, embrace and allow them to flow through us. It is only then that we can be free of their impact.

 3. Move beyond it.

Meditation teaches us that whatever can be observed in our being is not our essence. The essence of who we are is the vast silence, peace and stillness that observes all phenomena. The unchanging observes the changing. The only true refuge from the roller coaster of life is found at the very core of who you are. Meditate and see for yourself!

So next time you find yourself frustrated by the roller coaster of life, let out a little wwwhhheeeeeeeeee in celebration of being human and allow the roller coaster to guide you home, to the unchanging essence of who you are.


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Ed: B. Bemel

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