How to Welcome Strong Emotions

Wednesday Wisdom. Welcome Strong Emotions.

With all the sunshine and warm weather right now in the Bay Area, it’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago there was a big storm here, with gusty winds, along with sheets of rain and hail. I remember that weekend quite well, because on Sunday I ended up getting caught in the rain and then the hail while riding my bicycle home from church through the park. I also remember because my heart felt as stormy as the weather.

There is such a powerful force of grief moving through me right now as I face the absence of my mother in my life. There are times when I just want to pick up the phone and chat with her, and share what’s happening in my life, things I’m grateful for and things I’m stressed about. I also miss talking to her about the quotidian, like what fruits are in season and available at the market. My mother always loved to talk about food!

As I pedaled in the stormy weather, with my glasses stained with raindrops, I felt tears bursts from my eyes, as my heart was overflowing with sadness and grief.

I welcomed the rain. It gave me permission to let my feelings pour out of me. It was a release to let myself rain with grief and sorrow. I kept pedaling, with more tears streaming down my cheeks, feeling the storm in my heart breaking open.

We must find ways to feel and release our feelings. This is a spiritual practice of staying opening, surrendering, and releasing, and trusting that we are held in these tender moments by divine love. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

How do we let ourselves feel our strong emotions?

  1. We welcome them. We don’t resist them. We let them pour down like rain, freely and powerfully.
  2. We give ourselves permission to feel them, and create a safe container for our heart.
  3. We remember that our emotions have cycles we need to respect and make room for.
  4. We connect our emotions to nature–to storms, to sunshine, to growth.
  5. We trust in our capacity to feel our strong emotions, and remind ourselves that “We are okay,” and we are not alone.

For today, I invite you to not hold back, to welcome your feelings, and let yourself embrace your strong and powerful emotions.


“The Guest House,” by Rumi as translated by Coleman Barks:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.