Fireworks

This 4th of July I had watched the fireworks from the sun deck of a friend’s apartment house on 42nd Street, and from a different perspective.

I am writing this post because what went on during that day amazed me about me.

What was interesting was that I did not plan anything. Usually I plan to have a day, especially a holiday, a particular way. Certain things need to happen, as I go through a certain routine. This time, I found out about a party a day before. I did not plan my day, or the dress I am going to wear, or the conversations I am going to have, or – my special – how this day is supposed to go, and if it does not go that way, I will try to control it and will be miserable – that sort of thing. This time I decided I am just going to have a good time. I made this decision and it felt right to me. I decided to keep a position of the excitatory bias and spend a whole day without being in the inhibitory.

Amazing thing happened. I became flexible in how things need to be around me, or how people need to act, or how I responded and it was fine.

There was no fear. I felt fearless in my decision to accept what is to come. I had no other agenda, then the agenda to have a good time.

I observed myself having conversations and having fun and it was truly interesting. I noticed that being at a party and having fun did not mean to be drinking booze or eating party food like I’ve never seem food before. This was my behavior in the past. Out of uncertainty what to say to people I don’t know I ate. Now I was fine just saying hello and listening to people talk. I actually ended up meeting a couple of really nice friendly people, with whom I intend to stay friends. It was like coming out after a long time being away from home.

Finally we came down to the sun deck, it got dark and the fireworks started.

The Macy’s barges parked seemingly right in front of the building started to explode with stars and sparks, and the crowd yelled out at the top of their lungs. Immediately in my body registered a sensation of energy shooting through and upward and outward, and with excitement, I took a deep breath and yelled, Ahhhh! along with others!

My body resonated with each burst of sparks as the fireworks went on. The time seemingly stopped and seemed endless. I was in a time warp.  Yet I was distinctly aware of each moment. Each moment was separated from the previous one by the settling sensation of peace and curiosity, about helicopters, about the colors of the sparks, about the flashing photo cameras, about the people around, and I caught myself smiling and taking pictures of the fireworks with my G-phone, permeated by emotion, all excited to tears.

I heard about someone who since childhood did not like the fireworks. That the noise and the blowing bursts triggered memories of gun-shots from the past. I also worked with someone who was afraid of crowds in the dark.

How does a memory start, how does an emotion start and how can we release the unwanted emotions, unwanted responses in our life? So we can be free….

So we can let go, soften our responses in the everyday life?

Change the responses to our environment to more useful and effective ones?

In Paul Ekman’s study of emotions, I learned that an emotion is a process of delivering signals to the brain, which are triggered by the neurotransmitters, created by our body responses to the environment, which in turn trigger a survival response, fight of flight, and is not a conscious awareness process.

Although learning to live in a civilized society, since childhood, we learn responses that are triggered by feedback rather than survival. We begin to use the leads from the environment, specifically from our caregivers, to modify our behavior. Which is also a survival based learning, but of a different kind. We begin to modify who we are in order to have the feedback the way is most accommodating to our need to survive in the society. We begin to learn by that feedback.

Sometimes we don’t learn so well, sometimes the feedback is off track. Those giving us feedback may be compromised in their learning…

Expressing emotions with a wrong intensity, responding to a wrong stimulus, or feeling the wrong emotion altogether, are some of the ways we get off track.

I have been there, off track, for years. To be exact, for 47 years. I would get angry, I would get really mad, when I could not control the world around me. It is not easy to give up what you do as a pattern, every time a trigger is introduced. But it is possible to consciously re-learn, with guidance and with practice. And then, one day it all falls into place, and becomes easy. No more unconscious responses. No more unknown uncontrolled feelings. Just peace in knowing you can be who you are at the best you can at all times, and you can do it. And nobody has to know! It does not mean to never do it again, it just means to do it consciously, not by previous life triggers, but from a position that you hold when you experience your life being at your  best.

Then you can have the fireworks of your life!

If you are interested in this discussion, post your comment, or let me know that you would like to have a private conversation about how to take a hold and learn about your emotions.

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