Working with Difficult Emotions – free video

December 22, 2013

Many of us struggle with the experience of difficult emotions, such as anger, jealousy, sadness, grief, shame, anxiety, and depression. In the face of such challenges, how can we keep our hearts open? What is the most skillful way to work with these difficulties in a way where we remain fully embodied and radically committed to our lives as they are? Is there such a thing as a “negative” emotion? How can we most powerfully grow from the experience of difficulty and view these challenging experiences as messengers and allies on the path of awakening and love?

Join Sounds True authors Karla McLaren and Robert Augustus Masters, two pioneering teachers on the healing potential of skillfully working with difficult emotions, for this inspiring dialogue, moderated by Sounds True publisher, Tami Simon.

Karla McLaren

Karla McLaren, M.Ed., is an award-winning author, social science researcher, and empathy pioneer. Her work focuses on her grand unified theory of emotions, which revalues even the most “negative” emotions and opens startling new pathways into self-awareness, effective communication, and healthy empathy. She is the CEO of Emotion Dynamics LLC and the developer of the Empathy Academy online learning site.Karla is the author of Embracing Anxiety, The Dynamic Emotional Integration Workbook, The Art of Empathy, The Language of Emotions, and the multimedia online course Emotional Flow: Becoming Fluent in the Language of Emotions.

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The gifts of ALL emotions—including depression

Karla McLaren is an award-winning author, social science researcher, and educator whose empathic approach to emotions informs her studies of sociology, anthropology, neurology, and cognitive psychology. With Sounds True, Karla has most recently contributed to the anthology Darkness Before Dawn: Redefining the Journey Through Depression. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Karla and Tami Simon discuss depression as an essential human emotion—one that may carry important messages about what’s no longer working for you. They also talk about the questions you can ask of your emotions to determine their cause and the course of action they are asking you to take. Finally, Tami and Karla speak on the necessity of understanding and embracing the full range of human emotions—even those you deem unpleasant—in order to live a fuller, healthier life. (58 minutes)

Working with Difficult Emotions – free video

Many of us struggle with the experience of difficult emotions, such as anger, jealousy, sadness, grief, shame, anxiety, and depression. In the face of such challenges, how can we keep our hearts open? What is the most skillful way to work with these difficulties in a way where we remain fully embodied and radically committed to our lives as they are? Is there such a thing as a “negative” emotion? How can we most powerfully grow from the experience of difficulty and view these challenging experiences as messengers and allies on the path of awakening and love?

Join Sounds True authors Karla McLaren and Robert Augustus Masters, two pioneering teachers on the healing potential of skillfully working with difficult emotions, for this inspiring dialogue, moderated by Sounds True publisher, Tami Simon.

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The Place You Awaken

Establishing a place for regular outdoor meditation and nature observation is often referred to as a “sit spot” or “medicine spot”.  Like the Buddha, who found his own tree of awakening, we too can go to nature and practice being awake to the reality of the present moment.  This practice can also help us become more intimate with all the qualities of the land we live with.  

If one day I see a small bird and recognize it, a thin thread will form between me and that bird. If I just see it but don’t really recognize it, there is no thin thread. If I go out tomorrow and see and really recognize that same individual small bird again, the thread will thicken and strengthen just a little. Every time I see and recognize that bird, the thread strengthens. Eventually it will grow into a string, then a cord, and finally a rope. This is what it means to be a Bushman. We make ropes with all aspects of the creation in this way.” 

San bushman

Guided Sit Spot Practice

  1. Go to a place in nature that is close to where you live and that you can visit regularly.
  1. Take a few moments to center yourself, breathing in and out, and arriving fully in the present moment.
  1. As you are ready begin to walk mindfully with an intention to find a spot that calls out to you, a place you can sit and deepen your relationship with this place.  The spot should feel welcoming, safe and comfortable.  It could be under a tree, beside a boulder or in an open space.  Often, east facing spots can be nice for early morning sits.
  1. When you find a spot that feels good, in your own way, ask permission of that place and wait to see what comes to you.  If you feel invited, sit.  If not, keep looking.
  1. Once in your spot, sit comfortably and become as still as you can.  Imagine that you are melting into the earth, becoming a part of the land.  Sit for at least 15-30 minutes, noticing any movement, sounds, or other sensations and activities.
  1. Return often.

Find more practices for connecting to nature in Rewilding: Meditations, Practices, and Skills for Awakening in Nature by Micah Mortali.

Read Rewilding today!

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