How a Trekkie Became an Emotion Whisperer: My Story
Even though I don't speak Klingon as a second language like the guys in Big Bang Theory, in many other ways I'm just what you would expect in a Star Trek fan. I grew up an introverted bookworm, who loved logic puzzles and considered math to be my favorite subject (until I hit calculus - yikes!)
Like many cerebral people - and Star Trek lovers - I ended up over-developing my mind at the expense of my heart. Here's my story of how I found my way back to vulnerability, heart connection, and learning to love my emotions.
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As a child, my parents would tease me for being dead to the world when my nose was in a book.
My reading skills notwithstanding, school felt overwhelming to me at first, and books were my refuge. I remember getting in trouble with my first grade teacher for sneaking books into class and reading instead of listening to her!
Once I settled in, I became a great student, but that wasn't just because I liked learning. Focusing on schoolwork was also a way of coping with not having any friends, and being ostracized and rejected by all the other kids.
This became my lifelong pattern: going up into my head (and withdrawing into my own world) as a way of protecting myself from being rejected and hurt by others. I desperately wanted to connect and belong, but my early school experiences taught me that wasn't safe, and so I closed down my heart.
As I got a bit older, my parents let me stay up (until 11! I felt like such a big girl) to watch Star Trek with them.
I was enthralled by Spock, and loved Data even more. The Vulcan philosophy of valuing logic over emotion, and the innate android ability to stay calm and detached in any situation, were compelling to me because they matched the path I had subconsciously chosen.
I wanted to be mature, strong, and not needing anyone but myself and the comfort of my own mind. And I achieved this... on the outside, at least. Inside I was, quite simply, shut down.
It wasn't until many years later, as I worked to uncover my authentic self through shamanic practice, that I slowly began to realize how much I had been denying my heart, and my deep (and hidden) desire for connection and emotional depth in relationships.
My whole life I had been unknowingly putting up a wall between myself and other people, which blocked me from developing true friendships - and from having the intimate relationships I longed for. Even when I tried to connect with people, I wasn't fully able to empathize in a way that made people feel that I cared... so they invariably drifted away.
Long story short, a shamanic friend introduced me to Karla McLaren's book The Language of Emotions, and I was hooked. Not only did it open the door to a vast realm that I hardly knew anything about (except that I needed to go there), but it also made so much sense that my rational mind loved it too. It was a true win-win!
As I learned about my emotions and worked to heal the original wounds that had caused me to close off my heart, I found myself opening up more - and found others opening up to me as well. It took me years to work through the fear of vulnerability (which was paralyzingly strong at first!), but the more I sat in that fire the easier it got.
And I also discovered that I had a knack for inner exploration and a passion for emotional healing. I had learned the hard way how important emotions are for us to live happy, fulfilled lives, and how much we need effective ways of working skillfully with our emotions.
From the girl who wanted to be like Spock, I am now proud to call myself an Emotion Whisperer.
P.S. If you would like to hear more about my (rather unique) point of view about the problematic things we are taught about emotions in our culture, and what science has to say about it, check out my recent interview on the Mind Flipping podcast.
Rick and I had a great time discussing emotional mindfulness and how to achieve true emotional wisdom - and the reason why many "thought-leaders" out there may be steering you wrong. His podcast is brilliant, and is full of tips to up-level your mind and life. Enjoy!