Ashlyn Ayers Ellington's picture

Around this time every year, I begin to clean out the drawers and corners that have been hidden away all year. It is an incredible feeling to clean out the old and finally be organized again. The hardest part of cleaning out for me is the beginning. Once I start, the mess seems to get bigger and bigger as I pull things out that have been hidden away all year. Halfway through, the mess is almost unbearable. It seems to take over everything and its hard to see that I am in fact, cleaning! I was reminded of this experience a few weeks ago during one of our skills classes. We are learning about mindfulness, which includes awareness of emotions.

In order to use skills, one must be aware of their emotions to know what skill to use, and how to use it. Yet, becoming aware of our emotions, especially when they are intense or negative, can be extremely hard and painful. Why would I want to become aware of negative emotions? Why pull out all the emotions that Ive worked so hard at keeping at bay?

Awareness is a necessary component to using skills, like that first step of cleaning out a room. Becoming aware of our emotions can be messy and painful and even feel like an explosion, just like my room looks like halfway through cleaning. If I am willing to put in the hard work in order to recognize and experience my emotions, I then have a chance to work with them. Being aware of our emotions is the first step to tolerating and coping with them. So its that time of year… lets do some spring cleaning for our mind, body and soul.

If you would like to learn more about mindfulness, our next module, Middle Path, begins this week!