Feelings. As you’re well aware, they’ve been on my mind all year. Haha Something that I’ve really been thinking about lately in regards to feelings is how central they are to our lives. Yes, our thoughts are super important as well, as I have already talked about here and here, but thoughts don’t mean anything unless they spark the chain reaction and continue down through our feelings, actions, and results.
Here are a couple of entries from my journal that explain some of the thoughts I’ve been having about the importance of feelings…
January 18, 2018
I was thinking about that experience this morning (about a prompting I had the day before) and I had the thought that maybe certain, more urgent, promptings in the heart/feelings produces a more automatic response because it kind of bypasses your logical brain and skips down to the F line in the CTFAR model. So you just act, without seemingly thinking about it (even though there may have been a thought, but there was no time to dwell on it). If you sit still (instead of acting immediately,) then sometimes your brain gets in the way and starts questioning if it really was a prompting or not.
I was thinking that in the CTFAR model, the F is the middle. It’s the heart of the model. Just like there are times when I have an automatic response to a negative feeling and it feels like it just “happened” to me, I think it can go the same way with a positive feeling / prompting from the Holy Ghost. We can have an automatic response and go straight to the action, without having to pause and think about it, or without even realizing that a thought preceded the feeling.
Photo by Anna Kolosyuk on Unsplash
March 14, 2018
I was reading my book this afternoon while I was waiting to pick up the boys from school and this part really stood out to me.
“For years, I subscribed to the notion of an “attitude of gratitude.” I’ve since learned that an attitude is an orientation or a way of thinking and that “having an attitude” doesn’t always translate to a behavior.
For example, it would be reasonable to say that I have a yoga attitude. The ideals and beliefs that guide my life are very in line with the ideas and beliefs that I associate with yoga. I value mindfulness, breathing, and the body-mind-spirit connection. I even have yoga outfits. But, let me assure you, my yoga attitude and outfits don’t mean jack if you put me on a yoga mat and ask me to stand on my head or strike a pose. As I’m sitting here writing this, I’ve never practiced yoga. I plan to change that between now and the time you’re holding this book in your hand, but to date, I’ve never put the attitude into action. So where it really matters – on the mat – my yoga attitude doesn’t count for much.
So, what does a gratitude practice look like? The folks I interviewed talked about keeping gratitude journals, doing daily gratitude meditations or prayers, creating gratitude art, and even stopping during their stressful, busy days to actually say these words out loud: “I am grateful for…” When the Wholehearted talk about gratitude, there are a whole bunch of verbs involved.
It seems that gratitude without practice may be a little like faith without works – it’s not alive.” (The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown, pg. 78-79)
This goes in line with what I have been thinking about lately. Our thoughts are powerful, that’s for sure. But thoughts don’t always lead to actions/results. They don’t even always lead to feelings (which are really what fuel the actions/results) – or at least they don’t lead to feelings that go anywhere.
According to google, it’s estimated that we have around 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts per day. I’d say that most of these thoughts are inconsequential and don’t really lead to anything. They might be a thought like “There’s a car.” or “The shirt is pink.” etc. Of course, these thoughts have the ability to become important enough to us to then invoke feelings and actions and results. But most of the time, these little, insignificant thoughts just float by in our minds like clouds in the sky. We barely even notice them.
And then there are the other kind of thoughts. The ones that carry more weight and that trigger feelings. Those feelings then fuel our actions and lead to our results.
I think that it’s really the combination of thoughts/feelings that is really important. I thought it was really interesting when Brene said “it seems that gratitude without practice may be a little like faith without works – it’s not alive.”
That got me thinking. And the theory that I am proposing is that when we really “feel” our thoughts (our thoughts trigger feelings), then they are “quickened” (dictionary definition is “spring to life, become animated”) and come to life in our actions. It seems to me that in the space between the thought an action, that’s where life is breathed into it. That’s when it becomes real.
I don’t exactly know how to explain this on the negative side – I mean, it sounds weird to say that it came to “life” if we have a negative thought and then negative feeling and negative action. I mean, does Satan really bring anything to “life”? I guess it wouldn’t be him bringing it to life though. We have the power to create life (I’m not just talking about babies). And we don’t always do it in a righteous way.
So I’m still gonna have to think some more about the negative side.
But on the positive side, it makes a lot of sense to me. Positive thought -> triggers feeling that we feel in the heart -> The Holy Ghost quickens/arouses/stimulates and deepens our feeling -> our feelings fuel our actions and we are driven to act -> result
I’ll have to keep thinking more about this, but these are my thoughts for now.
So just like it’s very important to be intentional about the thoughts that we choose to allow in and to believe, we also need to lean in to those thoughts. Really feel them. That feeling will then bring the thoughts to life and fuel our actions.