by Joyce Wycoff and Lynne Snead
The work of Candace Pert, the scientist who discovered the opioid receptor and the idea that the molecules of emotions are our subconscious body, was a wake-up call to the importance of emotions and understanding their effect on our well-being. Since then, a lot of research has confirmed the power of naming our emotions. The ability to name our feelings makes us more aware of them, reduces their intensity, and gives us more power to handle them and the behaviors they stimulate.
The longer we looked at the complicated wheels and charts related to feelings, the more we wanted something different, more useful, more engaging. One day as Joyce was writing in her journal, she gazed out the window at the cold, blustery and rainy day. Against that wintery backdrop, a stained glass heart stood out, bright and beautiful.
As she was pulled deeper and deeper into its layers, a metaphor emerged, each bright layer representing variations of comfort and vulnerability. Clearly, expression of some emotions is easier than others; some are closer to the surface, others much deeper in our core, seldom revealed and sometimes hidden even from ourselves. Exploring those layers of expression, could bring us greater understanding of those lesser understood layers of ourselves.
Outer layer: The aqua and purple triangles are what you easily show to the world. A combination of light and dark, you could look at these as the feelings that are close to the surface, both positive and negative. Typically this layer includes, happiness, surprise, satisfaction… irritation, worry, moodiness.
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