The other day I took a ride on an emotional roller coaster. It started at 2 o’clock in the morning. The night before, our one month old refrigerator stopped working properly and started to warm up to room temperature. By 2 o’clock, the motor was running so loudly that we couldn’t sleep. We unplugged it and went back to bed. I tried to go back to sleep, but the excitement of having the refrigerator die was too activating for me. I started worrying about the situation. When I bought the refrigerator two months before, it took two and a half weeks to get it delivered. I started wondering how long it would take to get a replacement. Also, I cook a lot and I keep the refrigerator well stocked. So what was I going to do with all the food? And next week is Thanksgiving and I plan to cook turkey dinner. You can’t do Thanksgiving dinner without a refrigerator!
I separated my intellect from my emotions. I found some new intellectual messages. I realized that I can return the defective refrigerator and buy a new refrigerator from another store. I planned to check with all the appliance stores in my area until I found one that would deliver sooner. Or, worst-case scenario, I would have to delay Thanksgiving dinner. While this was annoying, it wasn’t the end of the world.
With my new messages, my intellect was happy. But my body and my emotions weren’t so easy to placate. The stress of waking up in the middle of the night plus the stress of dealing with the whole refrigerator issue triggered fear in my body. My heart started pounding and even when my intellect relaxed about the situation, my heart kept pounding. I was on the emotional roller coaster and there was no getting off.
I lay in bed with my heart pounding for about 2 hours. I turned on my MP3 player and listened to a book on tape to entertain my intellect while my body felt my fear. I know from experience that when my emotional organ opens up and decides it needs to feel emotions, I need to just relax into it and let the emotions flow. I don’t try to stop feeling them. I don’t try to talk myself out of feeling them. I just quietly let them flow.
When my body was done feeling emotions, I fell back asleep. Then, when I woke up the next morning, I felt fine. It was time to start my day. I went about my morning errands. I got dressed, drank my soymilk for breakfast and cleaned out the cat litter.
It was when I was cleaning the cat litter that I got back on the emotional roller coaster and hit a high point with joy. The reason I got so happy is because this summer my 17-year old cat’s arthritis started making it hard for her to climb into the litter box. She started having accidents at the entrance of the box. It was a mess. And it took me a few months to figure out. I don’t have the habit of watching my cats use the litter box. So this was a mystery that took a while to solve. In the meantime, I went through a lot of paper towels and cat-urine neutralizing solution. Yuck!
Once I figured out the problem, my friend told me about cat wee-wee pads that are plastic-backed absorbent pads that can be set on the floor in front of the litter to catch the accidents. I started to use those pads and they changed my life. Overnight, I went from facing a stinky mess every morning to floating on air as I pick up the wet pad and replace it with a fresh one. I can’t express the joy I feel when I change the wee-wee pad. It is a natural high.
That was the end of the emotional roller coaster ride for that day. After I changed the wee-wee pad, I went out and bought another refrigerator that was delivered two days later. So far it works great. My defective refrigerator will be taken away later this week. Everything turned out fine.
You can live a life where you try to fight your emotions. You can pretend you don’t feel your sadness, fear and anger. You can deny your emotional roller coaster and all its highs and low.
Or you can live the way I live. You can embrace life and live it to its fullest. You can feel all the uncomfortable emotions in addition to the joy. You may have times where you need to stop and rest as your body does its work of feeling. Sometimes the emotional roller coaster ride is long and intense. Sometimes you will feel emotions for days, weeks, months, or even years at a time. You may have emotions left over from the past, emotions you’ve been suppressing that are still inside of you waiting to get out.
The process of riding the emotional roller coaster can be intense and exhausting at times. Some days you may choose to get off the ride and take a break. But you will find that the more you commit to feeling your emotions, the more your body will wake up and become activated and alive. Your joy will be more intense as you open up to all the potentials in your life and see things from a new perspective!