90 Second Tantrum

Hey Soulmate,

I just had a tantrum at IKEA. Don’t worry, I made it to the car before I started screaming and crying and then laughing at what seemed to be happening to me or through or me. It only lasted 90 seconds and then I felt silly, a little pouty, and then I forgot about it. According to my hero, most-watched TED talker, and Neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte-Taylor, 90 seconds is all it takes to let a mini-emotional storm pass through.

When a person has a reaction to something in their environment, there’s a 90 second chemical process that happens in the body; after that, any remaining emotional response is just the person choosing to stay in that emotional loop. Something happens in the external world and chemicals are flushed through your body which puts it on full alert. For those chemicals to totally flush out of the body it takes less than 90 seconds. This means that for 90 seconds you can watch the process happening, you can feel it happening, and then you can watch it go away. After that, if you continue to feel fear, anger, and so on, you need to look at the thoughts that you’re thinking that are re-stimulating the circuitry that is resulting in you having this physiological response over and over again.” – Jill Bolte-Taylor

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Imagine what the DMV and IKEA might look like if we all took 90 seconds to honor our emotional reactions to whatever nonsense we are experiencing. It would look super weird and funny, much like a loony-bin I imagine,  but I wonder how it might impact our overall experience. Instead of waiting for the pressure to build and then freaking out on our loved ones or waiting for our hour of therapy, everywhere becomes a spiritual center. You don’t have to go to Bali or India, getting a traffic ticket will do.

I’ve been around babies a bit lately and watching their face is like watching a Doppler weather map where clouds, sun, rain, and snow are simultaneously flitting across the screen. They are little emotional weather systems. What is telling is how we react. We can know, for a fact, that all their needs are being met but when a baby cries it feels like a personal affront to the knight inside. “I must make it stop by any means necessary!” I have a theory that we remain a multifaceted weather system but instead of allowing the weather we build a biosphere around ourselves.

(I just googled “emotional weather system” and found this! EmoFlux is a system by artist Gil Park that visualizes the emotional flow as a weather pattern. It allows the audience to see the emotional circulation and distribution across the country and the neighborhoods that they live in.)

Soulmate, I don’t want you to think I am “crazy” or “drama”, god forbid I lose control (which I am actively seeking btw), but I have to be honest that at times there will be tantrums. There will be times when energy runs through me at every temperature and all I need are a few minutes to allow it, instead of judge it. It will probably be super helpful if you don’t judge it either but listen, you be you. I just wanted to let you know in case you needed a little permission to feel too.

Love, Me

90 Second Tantrum

I’m Sorry

Hey Soulmate,

I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I have probably met you a few hundred times and just wasn’t ready to see you yet. I confess I likely judged the shit out of you. My bad. It wasn’t always conscious. I felt “nice” and “open” and you would have felt that too but underneath there was something else. A few years ago during my first few months studying Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica I stood up in front of 250 people and sheepishly said, “People are crying and feeling all these emotions and talking about their unworthiness and I feel the exact opposite. Well, I kind of feel better than…everybody.” (Insert Teeth gritting emoji) My teachers, in their infinite and loving wisdom, smiled knowingly, “‘Better than’ is just a protection, it is the other side of the same unworthiness coin.” Of course I felt disconnected and lonely, I was actively separating myself from everyone. Here I thought I was super skilled because I could choose to feel my feelings or not feel them. I now know this is called “spiritual bypass”. It works great in the film business where everyone is superior and no one takes time to feel anything (except in the movie theater, oh, the irony). I was productive and in business productivity is next to godliness. And then 7-10 years in people start burning out, getting depressed, and having existential crisis that show up as fatigue syndromes.  So I now know that whenever I feel unworthy or insecure I immediately overcompensate by judging others and making them less than or wrong. I see how it is just my ego’s Pavlovian response to preserve the myth of itself.

So, I apologize. My expectations have been titanic and mostly unfair. I haven’t taken responsibility for it until now. I have been looking for a soulmate to meet what felt like a bottomless longing. I set a trap for you. My theory is that this deep longing/needing/desire comes from the binary nature of the ego (this or that, black or white). Beyond duality, in my soul or whatever you want to call it, I am everything. In duality, I become the battle between good and evil tethered by the aching memory of being one with the universe. Soulmate, you can’t be the universe. Well, you can’t be my universe. No person or thing can ever satisfy the dual mind, at least not for long. Phew. Are you relieved? I know I am.

I apologize that I have blamed you for the current state of the world; ie. patriarchy and the biological underpinnings that often make communication and emotional expression a challenge for your gender. I see how hungry you are to be understood. I also see how counterproductive blame is. I am sorry I was too afraid to get vulnerable and tell you the truth of what I wanted or what I thought. I am sorry I played accomplice in propping up ridiculous male archetypes (See Force Majeure & Channing Tatum). I am sorry that in my fear and longing I chose pseudo overconfidence and righteousness instead of truth. What I meant to say was…

  • I love learning about you. I can ask you questions all night. Please feel free to ask me questions on a first date or in general. Curiosity is my favorite trait. When you talk non-stop about yourself I feel frustrated and confused and judge you as a narcissist.
  • I should have told you from the very beginning what felt good to my body. How could you have known? Our entire bodies are erogenous zones and when you go straight for the genitals I find myself trying to perform being turned on instead of actually being turned on. Foreplay isn’t optional (unless discussed ahead of time and preceded by naughty conversation or texts). Oh, and please never say, “flick the bean,” the clitoris deserves your utmost respect.
  • You’re vulnerability sometimes scares the shit out of me but please keep it coming no matter what. It is the greatest gift you can give to yourself, me, or anyone.
  • Opening doors, walking on the right, and paying for first dates is always optional but please know these acts make me feel soft and taken care of and deeply grateful to both you and your parents.
  • I love when you take charge and plan things from time to time. I have a tendency to take control so any opportunity to surrender and rest in my feminine is such a refreshing and sigh-worthy experience.
  • I can feel how sensitive you are and I know sometimes I can trigger you. I will do my best to get clear on what is going on inside of me. Are you willing to do the same? I’m here to support you.
  • Are you willing to hold for all of me? Being emotional doesn’t always have to be work. Let’s play with it! Ham up a whacky king to my cold blooded queen.

I’m sorry for all the mixed signals. Tie me up! Don’t tie me up! Gag me, but lovingly. The truth is I am just figuring out what I want. I’ve never really be honest enough with myself or valued myself enough to really inquire within. I think I was waiting for your permission. I’ve been inside the matrix of conditioning for 34 years and I am just starting to find my way out. I hope you can be patient with me.

Love, Me

I’m Sorry