Fourth Day – Have you ever gotten really mad and said some stuff you wish you hadn’t. Don’t worry, we all have. While it is important and good to let people know how you feel, often it’s better to wait until those really strong feelings have passed so you can tell the person calmly. When we get that upset, it can be really hard to know WHY we are upset. This is an exercise to help us name how we feel.
First, if you possibly can, get away from who or whatever is upsetting you. Just the other side of the room will do.
Take three slow, quiet breaths to help you calm down.
Think of the word, or a word for how you feel – name the emotion. Are you mad, frustrated, feel like someone has treated you unfairly, are you jealous? What do you feel? This helps you use your thinking mind instead of your feeling mind – you are taking your brain back from the emotions that hi-jacked it. It will help you start to calm down immediately.
Name any other emotions that may be along for the ride, like if you are mostly jealous, but that made you mad or made you feel like you were being treated unfairly.
Where do you feel the emotions? I usually feel strong emotions in my throat. Some people feel them in their stomachs. Some people get headaches. Some people’s mouths get dry. Where is your body reacting to how you feel?
Listening for God for Parents
In her book, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Ruth Haley Barton spends a chapter talking about the importance of paying attention, or listening for God. One of the examples she uses is Exodus 3:2-3, “ There an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, I must turn aside and look at this great thing.” How many times during our lives, even during our daily life are we presented with God calling out to us but we don’t take the time to “turn aside and look at this great sight.” She goes on to quote an Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem,
“ Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes –
The rest sit around a pluck blackberries.”
Seeing the bush afire does mean keeping our eyes and ears, but more importantly our hearts and minds open and alert to God’s presence all around us; and to our being ready and willing to stop and spend that moment in God’s presence.
Let something essential happen to me now,
Something like the blooming of hope and faith,
Like a grateful heart,
Like a surge of awareness
Of how precious each moment is
That now, not next time
Now is the occasion
To take off my shoes,
To see every bush afire…”
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