Building a Bridge between Logic and Emotion

Building a Bridge between Logic and Emotion

By: Lisa Templeton, Ph.D.

 

    You may notice while practicing mindful awareness that logic at times can become muddled and confusing when associated with intense emotions.  You may also notice that in times of stress or crisis, you become overly logical and push away emotions that appear intrusive.  This article offers a practice to learn how to connect your logic to emotion and your emotion to your logic.  We must learn to use our emotions, as well as logic, as tools for more understanding and clarity. 

     Generally, we each have a preference for either logic or emotion.  We become accustomed to using either logic or emotion alone.  Therefore, each of us are coming from a slightly different perspective in terms of building the bridge.  Some people live in a very logical way with emotion at bay, while others live more out of emotion and feeling sense.  Some seem to notice the intense emotion all the time without clear logic while others don’t feel their emotions at all.  Each situation also lands us somewhere between emotion and logic depending on the intensity and level of difficulty we are experiencing.

     When building a bridge, balance is the key.  Both emotions and logical thought are important for balance as they offer counter moves to each other.   Just as in the construction of a bridge, there is cement and rebar mixed together perfectly to create the balance needed.  Both emotion and logic must be offered to create balance. With this balance, building a bridge between our logic and emotion offers us effective tools to use when life hits us with very difficult experiences and intense feelings.   

     As we are all a bit unique, each of us will build this bridge from a different perspective.  Also, each experience may bring on more or less emotions or logic, depending on what’s happening.  The first step in building a bridge within between emotion and logic is to identify your preference in each moment and set an intention to lean into the side that feels a bit more uncomfortable – is it emotion or logic? 

     Once you establish your pattern, then you can change it.  If you recognize that you tend to get more emotional in tense situations, you might need to work on compassionately noticing how your logic is impacted during emotions.  If you identify that you are very calm in emotional situations and move into clear rational thought, you might take some time to notice your body, give space for your emotions, and breathe into anything you are feeling. 

Here are 6 tips to staying balanced while building the bridge of emotion and logic:

1)      Connect to yourself and ground to the earth - stop and breathe.   Slow your breath down to notice and experience both emotional (body) and cognitive (mind).  Use your breath to aid you in slowing down long enough to notice. 

2)      Engage presence/awareness of the moment.  Take the time to notice your thoughts and emotions.  Follow how thoughts and emotions play off each other and how they can influence and even distort one another at times.  You are not your thoughts or your emotions.  When you work with them (lean in just a bit to experience both emotions and logic in the situation) instead of resisting and pushing one away, the balance of both can transform your life to bring more peace, happiness, and joy.  Remember that emotions are not all bad.  Invite them all within each moment without excluding any.

3)      Stay connected to kindness and compassion for self, wherever you are and whatever emotion you are experiencing.  It is okay to feel however you feel.  We must bring compassion and understanding to ourselves for how these patterns have been created over time.  Balance is increased with connection and love.  With love, we can change anything.  With judgment, we are limited and pushed down.  Once we can see how our thoughts and emotions are interrelated, we can bring more love and compassion to this process. 

4)      Try looking at things from an observer stance/stay objective with a helicopter view. Step outside of your emotion to notice all larger perspectives. What would you say to a loved one in the same situation?  What would you want your loved one to say to you? Observe what is happening with more objectivity and less reactivity. 

5)      Bring in critical thinking.  Critical thinking is not being judgmental to yourself, it is a process by which you consider facts and true evidence of the situation.  Are your thoughts about an emotional situation true?  Could your thoughts be muddling your emotion based on false statements?  Ground in the truth that you know to be real based on evidence.

6)      Find an outlet for your emotions and your thoughts.  We need to keep emotions moving by acknowledging and caring for them.  Offer an outlet, perhaps doing art to express more emotion or writing/journaling to bring in more logic.  Additionally, mindful walking or yoga can aid in addressing emotion and logic while connecting within.  Care for your emotions compassionately and inquire what is needed to address them with love.

     With this practice of breath, mindfulness, critical thought, as well as compassion for self, body, and emotions, the bridge between your emotions (body) and thoughts (mind) is being constructed each moment with balance, intention, love, and connection.

    

Be A Compassionate Friend To Yourself - An excerpt from Dr. Lisa's book, Letting It Be: Mindful Lessons Toward Acceptance

AS WE CONTINUE TO OBSERVE OUR THOUGHTS, EMOTIONS and behaviors, we may still find a voice deep within that is negative or doubtful about our worth, abilities and personhood. This can manifest as a conflict inside of our head; the age-old battle between the angel and the devil; the id and the ego; the judger and the judged; the inner observer and the thinker; and the victim and the bully.

The conflict itself creates two polar opposites; a dichotomy within that can affect our thoughts, our emotions, as well as mindful choices. Yet, the polarization is an illusion. There is no separate self; there is no judge and there is nothing to judge. Conversely, I am the judge and I am also the judger. As we’ve already learned, we can choose our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviors, and hence, our inner dialogue between these two counterparts. Both sides need to be understood in order to integrate them.

We are one with our observer, our divinity, our sacred self, and our inner essence. Use this tool to guide you. We must observe all parts of our self with love in order to work in concert within. We can choose to be our own worst enemy or a compassionate friend to ourselves, depending on the past patterns of dialogue with our self and others. Look a bit more deeply within at your dialogue and relations within yourself.

We may hear thoughts in our mind that we don’t like and so we work hard to force the thoughts away, push them down. This, in essence, has created the battle. In forcing the thoughts away, we are creating an “other” and perpetuating the conflict between ourselves and this other being. This “other” continues to incessantly chat away about what we did wrong, how we are not enough and how we need to behave differently. For most of us, these are thought patterns that we have had for most of our lives, not realizing they are even there, much less that we can change them. Instead, we have worked to fight them, push them down, and create something separate from ourselves.

Separation within begets a perception of separation outside of ourselves. Our interpersonal relationships offer a lot of insight into what is happening within. How are you thinking about other people? What judgments do you have about them? By seeing your relationship with others as a mirror unto your own relations with yourself, you can see your inner world more clearly. When you are looking at others, see yourself for the reality of what you are creating. When we start to learn our power through self-knowledge, we can take ownership for our creations, and then we can more easily choose to be a compassionate friend to ourselves. Understand what you are creating and change it to align with the love you really are.

If we believe ourselves to be separate beings and treat others as such – this creates a sense that we are alone. Yet, we are not alone; we are all connected in a reflection of ourselves and each other.

***If you would like to read more, please check out 

Letting It Be: Mindful Lessons Toward Acceptance at Amazon.com 

Letting It Be - 2018 INDIES Book of the Year Award Finalist!

I am honored and full of gratitude as I write this post. I wrote this book for myself to help me through some very difficult times and lead me in the crossroads of my life, particularly as my husband and I struggled with infertility.  Now, as I work on letting it be, I’m finding that the book continues to aid me and offer grounding when needed in so many areas of my life.

I first started writing the book thinking that it would be useful to organize the skills I had learned in my psychological and spiritual training that I continued to practice.  The structure aided my own experience in understanding how being with certain energies offered strength and grace in my life. 

Over the years, I have cultivated so much gratitude for my job talking with others all day long, reminding them about the skills to practice, and ways to shift perspectives on life. Having the opportunity to remind others, works to consistently remind myself.  I am aware that those who work a focused, task-oriented job not related to self-care and balance struggle to find ways to bring this practice into their life, especially in a work place environment that can be ruthless with expectations and tasking.  

I have realized that the skills discussed in the book are tough for everyone to start and hone while continuing to consistently practice.  My hope is that with this structure, many can find more space and courage to slow down, explore their inner selves, and learn the joy and beauty that lies within.  There is much maintenance on this human body and mind.  We all have to practice regularly to maintain balance. 

Life is filled with open roads, as well as obstacles.  Having a guideline of skills to remember and continue practicing in each moment is an invaluable tool no matter what situation I am in. Teaching the classes on the book has taken my experience to a much deeper level than I realized these energies/skills could go and I am excited that others’ are reading the book and finding guidance and inspiration for themselves. That is my ultimate goal with this book - to uplift others and offer cognitive, physical, emotional, and spiritual techniques that will be concrete and helpful for coping with life.  Thank you for your ripples of light in the world, your work on yourself affects us all (you know who you are!).

If you are interested in learning more about the classes, Actively Letting It Be, I offer them both online and in-person at The Interpersonal Healing Center in Broomfield, the 3rd Thursday of the month from 6-8pm.  Check out more information on my classes page – www.drlisatempleton.com/classes.  

Thank you for all your support and love through this journey that we are all on together.  May we each continue to shine bright, even in dark times.

The Body Knows Balance

The Body Knows Balance

By Dr. Lisa Templeton, Ph.D.

Life is a constant practice ground for learning. This classroom will involve a bit of pain, discomfort, frustration, and impatience – yet it is also riddled with joy, light, love, and comfort. When are we going to learn that in this dualistic society, we need to accept both sides in order to have wholeness?

As Einstein noted, we can’t solve a problem from the same mindset it was created in. We must change our one-sided mindset to see both sides, to see the beauty of life, both in pain and in joy. We might think that in order to change our mindset, we have to live in our mind, but we really must listen more to our body.

The body knows balance; therefore, if I can drop into my body and learn to accept all of the sensations going on, I can tap into the wisdom that it has to offer. After all, the body is the vessel that all of these emotions and sensations, both positive and negative, reside in. We are made of both light and dark.

With awareness in our body, we can learn more about ourselves, about our needs, wants, fears, and anticipations. With more care, mindful presence, and love given toward our body comes more clarity of self and mind. Our body has great wisdom and can accent the mind so perfectly to find peace and stillness in wholeness. Practice listening in to your body and give it the attention it deserves – neutral kindness and awareness, along with a curious listening that allows for an open heart and an open mind.

Join me for a Live Facebook Meditation this Sunday, March 17th at 10am MDT. This will be a guided meditation focusing on finding balance in our mind and body. Check out my Facebook page at:

https://www.facebook.com/interpersonalhealing/

Be Wherever You Are With the Loving Eye of Your Observer

Each moment is a gift of life. No matter what is happening in this moment, I see both the light and the darkness. I remember that the light is born from the darkness and I surrender. I breathe into the deep, the pain and the melting of my ego. There are no sides, no boundaries, just banks of a river that form to allow for the best flow. The best decisions I can make in this moment are for my nurturing and for those I love.

There is a stillness in this moment. The silence is deafening as time carves out each passing second, so many of which I miss and do not heed. I sink my heart right into the middle of now. My flesh tickled by the chill of the air within me. So much space I did not notice, the corners of the room that have now become sky. I listen intently to the breezes and the song of the birds opening their wings in freedom.

All of this I notice, all of this I experience, I notice, I experience, I notice, I experience back and forth until I fall into a lullaby, a trance within. There are whispers coming through reminding me to let go, offering melodies that lift the weight of my mind. My heart is lassoed to the base of my spine and my core is tangled in a spiral of awareness.

This temple of mine, I must let it shine, blinding the heart of darkness so that only love prevails. Yet, love is everywhere. It is a mistaken expectation that only light brings love – it is love that places the darkness over us like a soft blanket and offers rainbows shining through the storm. I experience, I notice, I experience, I notice…until they become one. May I hold both the dark and the light, the light and the dark. Being wherever I am connected with the dark and the light as one. I allow whatever is to come in each moment to envelope me in a shroud of love.

Check out Dr. Lisa’s Actively Letting It Be Course that will touch on love, breath, thoughts, emotions, mindful choices and the essence of life. Go to www.drlisatempleton.com/classes for more information!

Actively Letting It Be

Actively Letting It Be

By Lisa Templeton, Ph.D.

To be active in letting it be means to practice. Life is a practice ground for learning, although we often forget this. We are more at peace when we accept what is happening and actively let things be. To be in the energy of peace, we must let go of resistance to any situation and live in openness to what is. The more flexible we are, the more of the calm stillness of peace we experience. To express resistance is an argument with reality that we will ultimately lose.

Letting it be is ultimately about letting go of resistance. The first step is noticing that resistance is there. Whether it is resistance to a traffic jam, resistance to an expectation that didn’t go your way, or resistance to self-forgiveness from the past, we have to understand that it is there before we can let it go. We can’t let go of something we don’t hold awareness of. Notice when you are in an energy of resistance and how that makes you feel. For me, the feeling can manifest as tension, irritability, and frustration. Sometimes I can feel disappointment as well given things didn’t turn out like I thought they would. I have found that having expectations at all will eventually lead to disappointment, which is a form of resistance.

Most importantly when actively letting it be, we must have compassion for ourselves and others. If I move into an energy of conflict and drama, judging myself or others for moving into this energy only perpetuates the same energy! We need to work on staying as calm as we can and as loving as possible as we move through life like waves of an ocean. Sometimes a huge wave comes and wipes us out. Ride it with love as best you can. While you are judging yourself for not seeing the last huge wave, another one hits you. Stay loving, present and aware of your actions and reactions at all times. Keep breathing and offering yourself encouragement as you are continuing to learn. This year, set your intent to practice and be active in letting things be.

Lastly, make conscious actions in your thoughts and behaviors to create peace. Our actions play a huge role in creating peace in our lives. Choose positive thoughts and bring in positive emotions to experience. Be generous with others. Do and say things to uplift yourself. Offer your smile to others and give light and love to everyone you meet. Be sure to seek out the beauty in the world. Nature is so grounding and amazing – we are living on a beautiful earth and life lives all around us, no matter where you are.

Set your intent to practice slowing down. Take time every day to slow your thoughts and consciously breathe. Open your heart in gratitude and name several blessings in your life. When you take the time to make an effort to actively change the quality of your being, the more peace you create in and all around you.

Peace always starts within. If the opposite of peace is conflict, then be a good friend to yourself! Try to speak kindly within to create more harmony. If you notice statements to yourself that are not kind, apologize and say what you mean to say, as you would with someone you love who might be hurt by your words. How can you find any peace if you are in a battle with yourself? You cannot let things be and criticize them at the same time. Pay close attention to how you are talking to yourself. Choose to speak kindly and compassionately to yourself within. If you find that you are struggling with this, simply move away from the conflict and remind yourself you are working to change this. Focus on something that uplifts and strengthens you. Spend time with others who elevate and inspire you.

Forget about what you think you are supposed to feel when you try letting it be, get out of your head and just feel. Let yourself be in that moment, whatever it is. Tap into the present for just a few seconds or maybe a minute.

We all need to practice and for more guidance on this, consider taking a monthly class presented by Dr. Lisa running in 2019 from January through June. The class is the third Thursday every month from 6-8pm at The IHC. The first class will be on Thursday, January 17th. Check out www.drlisatempleton.com/classes/

Also, practice the meditation for actively letting the moment be on January 20th, 2019 at 10am. Let us all slow down together for just 10 minutes to actively let it be in peace while moving into blissful stillness. Let’s spread that peace from our innermost place of calm to all who are in need around us.

One of the ways I uplift myself is to write poetry. I want to share a poem to inspire you:

Actively Letting It Be

Look around you, what do you see?

It all depends on the mindset you choose to be.

Only when there is something

You cannot accept

Can there ever a problem be.

It all depends on the love and beauty

I choose to shine from inside me.

Look around, flow in beauty

Look around, open to love

You are the light of the world

And radiate the peace of a dove.

In the present moment

Quiet your mind

Honor your body’s emotional words

And listen to your child divine.

Be with your dreams

Let your will unfurl

Transform your abilities

And open in empathy to the world.

Be the light in your life

Shine on with active passion

Put yourself out there

Support yourself with compassion.

Take space between each breath

Love yourself to no end

Take moments between actions

Time and space will bend.

You are supported by love

Truth and flow

Pay attention to your Goddess within

Float in her joyful river and row.

Take precious time

Sit in blissful gratitude

For letting it be

Is only but an attitude.

Actively Letting It Be Classes Offered By Dr. Lisa

An Online OR In-person Monthly Course

In person: Meet every Third Thursday of each month at The Interpersonal Healing Center in Broomfield beginning January 2019 – 6pm-8pm. $50 per class or $250 for full 6 month class (a $50 discount)

Online: Participants will receive 2 emails per month with self-study tools including audio meditations, videos, exercises, and an invitation to a group Facebook page.

$25 per month or $125 for full 6 month class (a $25 discount)

Sign up at www.drlisatempleton.com/classes or call The IHC at 303-514-4058

Course Description:

The class will offer a path to freedom and knowledge of self that will change your perspective on life. Each month will address particular energies involved with acceptance and working with grief, loss, change, fear, and other difficulties of life.

Sign up/come to one or all of the classes! The classes will renew again every 6 months. The courses will be an experiential opportunity to learn and grow with yourself and with others through a process to bring about more peace, love, objectivity, surrender, and inner power to your life.

Each class will include:

-A brief lecture addressing the focus of the month

-Handouts/resources/videos to aid with your work

-Discussion between participants

-A guided meditation

Dr. Lisa Templeton, Ph.D. is the founder of The Interpersonal Healing Center, a clinical psychologist, and published author of Letting It Be: Mindful Lessons Toward Acceptance.

Finding The Middle Path: Healing Dualism in our Minds and In America

Finding The Middle Path: Healing Dualism in our Minds and in America

By: Lisa Templeton, Ph.D.

I just recently attended The Science and Non-duality (SAND) conference in San Jose, California and found myself really thinking about the duality of America. When I think of duality, I think of separation and extreme patterns of thinking that don’t take another side into account. Extremes seem so dissimilar and each side can villainize the other with judgment. What is important to notice about this separation is the parallel it has to our inner world. If we want more unity, let’s begin inside of our own minds.

The most problematic fake news is not so much the news we watch on the television, it is the news that happens in our minds. Let me ask you, are you listening to your inner channel to see what is being said? We might not be able to change anything on CNN or Fox News, but we can certainly change the report going on moment-by-moment in our minds. Still, we can’t change it until we name it.

In my work and in my own experience, our inner channel reports many extremes about ourselves – “I’m not good enough” or “I am a failure” or “I can’t do this” or even “I’m a terrible person for thinking this.” Often times, if we are not focused on ourselves, we are focused on others and what they are doing wrong. Thoughts such as “I hate republicans/democrats” or “He/she doesn’t care about me” or “How come that person has more than me?” or “I do everything around here” or “Why does this person think they are so great?” These thoughts create more separation and can lose the context of what is really true about ourselves and others.

Judgment and criticism of self or others only serve as a false protection – protection from fear. Fear that we are not good enough, fear that we will lose what we have and feel pain, fear that we won’t feel special, or even fear that we will feel different and alone. To separate for protection is a normal reaction to the society in which we live. No one is immune to this, especially as our society continues to play on our fears. The only way to address this within is to have the courage to notice our thoughts and challenge them with truth. The truth is that in these moments, we are scared and fearful. Fear underlies all negative emotions. When the context of fear is brought in, we can have more compassion and understanding for the extreme thoughts.

This article is a call for action to us all. If we can notice these thoughts with non-judgmental awareness, understanding that these thoughts on both sides are trying to protect us and to help us in a unique, though unhealthy way, we can begin to find the middle path. The truth is that these extremes are conditioned into our mind and without some mindfulness, our assumptions can easily fall into a box where our perception is limited and context is lost.

We, as humans, don’t fit into boxes, we are way more complex than that. We come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and we need to be able to see the grey areas amidst the black and white. The only place to start is with ourselves. Practice noticing the ways in which you are seeing things in an extreme way – from good/bad, constricted/free, right/wrong, right/left, and success/failure. Can you find a middle path in the ways that you are thinking about these concepts? Can you remember the context of what is going on around you and consider alternatives to your own initial assumptions? We are assumptive creatures and if we don’t have awareness of our assumptions to counter them with other perspectives, we fall into looped patterns of narrow-mindedness, missing the whole picture.

This is not an easy practice by any means, yet it is vital to find some sort of unity. Separation creates pain and unrest. If we are all separated from ourselves, how can we even begin to heal the dualism of America? Start within and take stock in ways that we each perpetuate this unhealthy pattern. With more awareness comes more love, compassion, connection, and unity in our minds and our world.

Learning to Be Grateful in Difficult Times

Learning to Be Grateful in Difficult Times

By: Lisa M. Templeton, Ph.D.

     Staying grateful is essential to feeling a deeper love and joy in our lives.  Taking the time to appreciate the beauty in nature, art, or in the eyes of a loved one benefits us all.   Generally, energy is attracted to similar energy – like attracts like.  When we take on an attitude of gratitude, we live in a more abundant state of being which in turn brings more abundance to us.  We also feel much better physically, emotionally and spiritually when we focus on abundance, rather than lack.

     It can be challenging to stay in this energy of gratitude, even during the easiest times.  We get habitually caught up in day to day life and just getting through it.  Many of us have worked to cultivate more gratitude in our lives here and there.  When things are going our way, we stop and give thanks that things went so smoothly.  We get what we want and we are grateful.

     Alternatively, during times of struggle, considering the blessings in our life can seem impossible.  The irritability and frustration of difficult circumstances overrides and we forget about gratitude altogether.  In times of struggle, we often try to change or get rid of what is difficult and attempt to minimize our pain.   As a result, we end up giving more attention to the problem and living in resistance with the difficult circumstance, which ends up giving the problem more energy than it needs, leaving us drained and depleted.

     If we can work to focus on the blessings, seen or unseen, relating to whatever the situation, it is much easier to let go of our resistance to the situation and open ourselves to learning from the difficult.  No matter how difficult a situation is, start with taking a step back to gain a broader, vaster perspective and then begin to look for blessings that you may learn from.

     To do this requires a small element of faith.  It may be years before you are able to see something positive from a terrible, traumatic experience.  Or, you may have something not go your way and minutes or hours later realize why that happened.  The question is – do you believe that there are positive learning experiences to be had in difficult times?  If you do believe that, why resist the negative at all?  There are many jewels that arise from dark places.  Would you give back the jewels to avoid the dark?  My answer is no as I want to experience life fully and uncover what the universe has to offer me.  We can work to welcome what comes and let go of our resistance and need to control with the aid of gratitude.  

     It is so hard to see the positive in difficult experiences, yet hindsight is always 20/20.  Take a moment to think of a past difficult situation you have faced and try to find one positive aspect to guide you in why that experience might have occurred.  Find the jewel in a dark place you once traveled.  What did you learn from the difficult experience?  What positive aspects came from this difficulty that you can be grateful for today?  Did you meet someone new as a result?  Did you acquire a characteristic that now shapes you?  Would you change the past if you could?  Stay thoughtful in this exercise before answering.

     Resistance and fear are the biggest obstacles to staying in gratitude.  When things don’t go our way, we want to change it, control it and mold it into what feels better for us.  Letting go of our resistance creates room for the light to shine within the darkness – for the jewel to be much easier to see.   It also takes much less energy to focus on abundance than it does on lack.

     The next difficult situation you run into, big or small, take a moment to detach from the negative emotion that arises, observe the feeling without judgement, take a breath, and remind yourself that there are or will be positives from the situation to draw from, even if you can’t see any in that moment.  If no positives can be gleaned, stay attuned and look for abundance with love and joy.  Be grateful for any positives that can be seen – for the strength that the pain will create, for the support and resources you have in your life.  This takes extra energy at times, but it is totally worth it.  Make this a habit and the difficult times suddenly become more like the brief afternoon storms that settle into a glorious sunset.

     Being grateful opens up our heart to allow more to come into it.  The bigger our heart, the bigger and better our lives become.  No matter your circumstances, there is always something to be thankful for- it may be just that we are alive knowing that the difficult will always pass, just as the storms move away to bring out a beautiful divided sky of dark and light.