Monday, July 14, 2008

Creating the Holistic Emotional Life

--Feature: "Life w/Fyfe: Confessions of a Holistic Mom"--

Don't we all, secretly, really want life to be only good?

Of course, we all know that life is a combination of many emotions, happening simultaneously. At any given moment I can feel happy, annoyed, confused, and a little anxious. The trick is to be able to accept all these feelings at once and stop trying to fight the ones we don't like.

For example, my family recently took a vacation to the mountains. We had a great time, especially the kids, who loved running and playing outdoors with the children of friends we traveled with. We had great conversations, enjoyed an amazing outdoor concert, enjoyed wonderful food and wine, and had lots of laughs. The traveling part, however...

The challenge for me was not to let the difficult parts -- crying children who do not enjoy sitting in car seats for an extended period of time and who require lots of interaction -- overwhelm the wonderful part, which was real quality time spent together as a family.

I practiced a meditation I learned from Dr. Jennifer Howard, which was to imagine holding both experiences --the enjoyable and the difficult -- in either of my hands at once. I visualized the enjoyable feelings in my hand as light, airy, and smooth, and the difficult feelings as heavier, more angular, and dense. Rather than wishing the heavier feelings would become more light, I simply "held" both of these feelings at once, until they morphed and began to feel naturally balanced and indistinguishable from each other.

I love this meditation because it provides a visual for living a balanced, emotionally integrated life. In order for our feelings not to become out of balance -- as in depression where sadness becomes the primary focus, for example -- we need to work to accept all of our feelings, not just the pretty, desirable ones.

What's helped me to do this has been the realization that even the most challenging experiences have brought my life some value. To take a much lighter example: during the difficult drive to the mountains I discovered that my son has an wonderful sense of humor and that he has a engaging social disposition.

Coming to this realization required several steps: I had to acknowledge that his fussing was making me angry because it interfered with my version of a perfect vacation -- something to do with quiet children in a car so that I could enjoy the mountain view. I had to acknowledge this anger and the feelings that lied beneath it, which freed it to dissolve. This allowed me to focus my attention on him, (which is the ever-present requirement/challenge in parenting, to turn our attention away from ourselves to our children) so that I could help him to manage his emotions. Through engaging with him we strengthened our bond, thereby enriching both our experiences.

I find it very healing to return to this theme of accepting both the pleasant and the unpleasant because it helps me to realize that life is both of these things, at all times. I stop grasping for the unattainable -- an easy life -- if only for a few moments. I'm able to glimpse in to see the beauty in the midst of the struggle and often the beauty is so intimately connected to the difficult part that I have to laugh. How truly perfect life is, in the midst of imperfection.

Lisa Fyfe is a contributing columnist for The Lohasian. Her column, “Life with Fyfe: Confessions of a Holistic Mom” delivers a perspective on the everyday life of a modern holistic mom, as well as provides an insider look into best strategies for natural health and healing for the whole family.

Lisa is a Reiki Master, and an expert in Essential Oil Healing, and has spent the last several years extensively researching traditional diet and nutrition, with a focus on “whole,” locally grown and raised natural foods. She is also the creator of a website that focuses on the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental aspects of depression which can be found at She is a married mother of two children, Sophie and Max.

To Reach Lisa, Email Here at lisafyfe (at)

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