Sometimes the greatest insights into ourselves come in the most unexpected ways.
At the end of January, Dennis and I got to take an amazing trip, just the two of us! My dad and stepmom gifted us with a trip to New York City to see my childhood friend Sara Bareilles perform in her Broadway musical Waitress. We had a simply wonderful time! In addition to Waitress, we saw two other Broadway shows: The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera. In four and a half days we saw so many of the major attractions in NYC – Central Park, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the 9/11 Memorial, The Met, Rockefeller Center, and Top of the Rock, to name the highlights. It was so fun to be just the two of us, exploring and having adventures. We left plenty of space in our itinerary for spontaneous plans, which made for a more adventurous and exciting trip.
While touring the Michelangelo exhibit at The Met, I had an insight into myself that stopped me in my tracks. Instead of gazing at the art and experiencing it directly, I was drawn to reading the commentary next to each piece. Rather than having an emotional reaction to the art, I wanted to understand the history, context, and importance of the artist or subject. When I realized this, it was somewhat startling. I feel like I’ve come so far in my personal growth of being present in the moment and accepting emotional ups and downs, but still… I’m naturally inclined to analyze and think about something as emotionally significant as art.
Returning home, I’ve been contemplating this realization. I want to give my emotional life more of my attention, and not spend so much time “in my head”. Why do I tend toward analyzing rather than experiencing the world?
This afternoon, I read my mom’s recent blog post at her website: A Woman’s Path. She wrote about a book she read called “Starting With Why” and the concept of getting to the why behind your behavior through the Golden Circle exercise:
The Golden Circle, as described by Sinek, is a method we can use to bring about a clear understanding of why we do what we do. The Golden Circle represents 3 circles, one within the other. The largest circle represents what we do. The middle circle represents how we do it, and the inner circle, or the core, represents why we do what we do.
Returning to the epiphany at The Met, I struggled a bit with the words and then drew out a Golden Circle that went like this:
- What: I tend to analyze and pay attention to my thoughts instead of directly experiencing my emotions
- How: By ignoring feelings and fusing with my thoughts, I have a sense of safety and control
- Why: I ultimately fear that I’ll encounter something that’s emotionally overwhelming
I can feel that I’m on the cusp of another deepen layer of growth that is necessary for my personal development. It’s important and necessary, but not easy. It’s so obvious to me that the path to peace is through Christ. I can’t keep devastation and pain away, but I can certainly seek the Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, and Creator of the Universe to provide love, hope, guidance, and wisdom.
I’m clinging to my Savior as I pray for continued growth. I want to feel life more than analyze it. But, the only way that feels safe for me is when I’m trusting in God. When I’m “in my head” my ultimate trust is in myself, my thoughts. But, when I am present and not trying to control my emotions, I put my trust in God. So much more comforting! I know that I’m a more loving wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend when I can accept my feelings and be in the moment with my loved ones. I’m praying that God continues to draw me close and show me how to embrace Him more.