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Flow of emotions

In the beginning, I stand at the edge of the pool with the waterfall cascading over me. I feel nothing of the waterfall of emotion as I am dressed head to toe in the diving suit of anger that deflects all and the water runs over me and into the pool. Over time, I take of the protective suit of anger until I am stripped naked and dive into the pool with the water calm below and the constant cascade of emotion pouring in. I relish the fall of the water, the quiet depths of the pool, the sparkling sunshine on the surface and the droplets. foam and spray as the water hits the pool. Naked, I am completely vulnerable and swim freely and can have part of me under the falls and part of me in the pool and experience it all at the same time. For the first time in my life, I am truly free and not that it is without pain, fear, shame etc. but it is also rich with joy, peace, contentment, etc. Not one or the other, but everything in this completely complex beautiful spot called life.
 
I used to do something called 5Rhythms dance as part of my recovery. It’s like free form dance that has a structure to the flow of movement through the songs that are played. I recently read more about it and the five stages of movement are also associated with emotions: Fear, Anger, Sadness, Joy, Compassion.
If you trained yourself to focus on those 5 emotions, it makes sense that they’d both remain pivotal in your everyday life, as well as be knee-jerk / well-practiced under stress, and be some of the easiest patterns to see others acting out. Like people who are familiar with the 5 stages of grief model, can see those stages in others grieving; or flashing the victory sign at jeeps makes one more aware of jeeps on the road. Seeing what we look for, or are familiar with.

I’m posting to see if it resonates with anyone. I fully recognize that emotions are complex and can each appear out of nowhere, depending on the situation. I also recognize that this model will not be helpful for everyone.
My own personal spectrum & patterns look different & have different components… but I still (ditto!)… very much (usually!) see/connect/relate better with people I see those spectrums & patterns in.

(Sometimes it’s the exact opposite, and have little to no tolerance for; you know how some people fight because they’re too much alike? Or you know 2 people who will EITHER be best of friends, or hate each other on sight?)

Even though I tend to see/connect/relate better with people with my own patterns… I’m often more attracted to people whose patterns surprise me.
 
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If you trained yourself to focus on those 5 emotions,
Makes sense what you say about expecting patterns. I never knew about the five emotions until last week. All I knew about the dance was that it started slow, got faster and then slowed down. I remember hearing there was a lyrical and chaotic phase but I never broke it down. I don’t remember what made me look it up last week. When I saw the video with the woman with dementia it made me wonder if there was something to it.

I’m thinking now… have I experienced going in a different direction with the flow of emotions? Fear-joy-sadness?
Sadness-fear-anger?
Stillness-anger-joy?
Not sure.

I think it’s helpful for me because I used to just think along the lines of, “How can I stop feeling this uncomfortable feeling?” It was like a discreet on-off awareness. And I remember this meme many years ago called “choose joy”, as though that’s all you have to do. Choose an emotion and do it. If you feel anger it’s because you choose that, so just stop. How many depressed people on here have been told by well-meaning friends and family, “Just stop feeling sad!”

But to think of it as a flow from one to the other was a shift in acceptance for me, and acceptance helps to release the grip that emotion tends to have on me, or did have on me much more in the past.

I was talking to someone about the flow of emotions idea and she said that the polyvagal theory reflects a similar path, which was interesting! It was more something like awareness—arousal—fight/flight/freeze—confrontation—integration—return to rest/digest.

My understanding is that in “typical” people who are not symptomatic with all the stuff we in PTSD land deal with, emotions are almost a non-issue. Events are the issues and emotions are bellwethers that motivate the person’s behavior. They don’t have to think too much about what emotion they feel because they accept that their emotions are a part of their being, and it’s relatively straightforward to communicate them.

People in PTSD land can get fixated on certain emotions, either staying stuck in or resisting them, and then also get raveled up in secondary and tertiary emotions, particularly shame.

By no means am I saying that “typical” people don’t feel distressed by their emotions or deal with secondary emotions, just that it’s not a dominant feature of their emotional life.

Anyway, agree that pattern seeking is a satisfying human activity and that seeking novelty is a fun diversion.
 
@Friday I have seen those matrices and I think it gets into secondary and tertiary emotions—which are super helpful for emotional intelligence. There is a theory of basic emotions—which I think are six: fear, anger, sadness, joy, contentment, and love. But from a neurological perspective it’s more like the polyvagal thing: attention, arousal, reaction, and so on.

Related to that, I just learned that when making Hollywood movies the production companies do test runs on people, and the bigger ones have test viewers do something called “cognitive consumerism” which is where the audience wear sensors on their heads hooked up to EKG machines and the producers see which scenes trigger the most arousal and then cut out all the scenes that don’t make enough arousal. Doesn’t matter the emotion, just that arousal is happening. So the movie becomes like a manufactured drug triggering cascades of arousal for the consumer.

If attention is the new capital, emotions are the currency. So it behooves the individual to be emotionally aware and literate, I think!
 
@Friday I have seen those matrices and I think it gets into secondary and tertiary emotions—which are super helpful for emotional intelligence. There is a theory of basic emotions—which I think are six: fear, anger, sadness, joy, contentment, and love. But from a neurological perspective it’s more like the polyvagal thing: attention, arousal, reaction, and so on.

Related to that, I just learned that when making Hollywood movies the production companies do test runs on people, and the bigger ones have test viewers do something called “cognitive consumerism” which is where the audience wear sensors on their heads hooked up to EKG machines and the producers see which scenes trigger the most arousal and then cut out all the scenes that don’t make enough arousal. Doesn’t matter the emotion, just that arousal is happening. So the movie becomes like a manufactured drug triggering cascades of arousal for the consumer.

If attention is the new capital, emotions are the currency. So it behooves the individual to be emotionally aware and literate, I think!
In micro expression land there are 7 foundational…

happiness, sadness, anger, disgust, contempt, fear, & surprise.

…but also a whole helluva lotta others (as well as macro-expressions, gestures, body language, etc.). 2 of my favorites are touching an eyebrow shouting “shame”, & that men have erectile tissue in the tips of their noses!
 
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