The other morning I lazily shuffled about the kitchen, not yet awake. My parents were in town visiting, and they too wandered around in a sleepy haze. Suddenly, a burst of energy popped into the room. “I saw the beautiful sunrise, Mommy! Did you see it?!? I saw it out my bedroom window! Look. Look!!” The Tornado bolted across the kitchen toward the widows, pointing to a breathtaking sky. It looked as though an Impressionist painting had been stretched across the heavens. Fluffy pink and gold clouds dappled an impeccable blue canvas. It was stunning.
My parents and I stared out the window, amazed at the view and that we had nearly missed it. Had Neve not jolted us into awareness, the moment certainly would have escaped all three of us. More than just alerting us to the beauty outside, my little firecracker of a daughter sparked an energy of exuberance and gratitude. We all woke up, started engaging and appreciating the grandeur and each other. The feeling in the entire house shifted, all thanks to Neve’s excitement, her liveliness.
The power of our personal energy is truly astonishing. We are all interrelated. What I do, say, or how I act ultimately affects you, and vice versa. There’s no escaping it. The energy we put out into the universe is like a magic wand. It can lift everyone within range up or it can squash them. And, that transfer often has a waterfall effect, cascading joy or gloom from one person on to the next and the next and the next…
Think about it. How many times have you been going about your day only to encounter someone so angry, frustrated, or simply sad that it stops you in your tracks? Their blues wash right over you and you feel every bit of their emotion. It affects you and can change the scope of your day.
Some people emit an angry, doomsday vibe that makes me feel teeny tiny and eager to hide. The air is sucked out of the room, my heart plummets into my belly. I want to scoop up my kids and zip away. Sometimes it can be felt through the phone: a voice sounding just like Ross from Friends responds, “Hiiiiii,” to my greeting. I yo-yo between asking what’s wrong and hanging up immediately to not be drawn into the soap opera on the other end. Either way, it’s in my brain and my heart. I feel the despair, panic, or hurt. It’s bringing me down and spinning my wheels to fix, solve, empathize, carry the burden. A text or even a post on social media can have the same effect. Sometimes I just want to say, “Umm, yeah, excuse me, but we were happy and having a fun day, so go on and pack up that monster and head back to the office, go out on a boat, try hitting the gym, anything until you can drop kick that misery. Please don’t bring that here. Okay?”
The kids do it too. Their tantrums, frustration, or just being tired, gnaw at my efforts to choose happiness. It’s nearly impossible to stay up, to not yell back, to not breakdown when you are being poked and prodded with negativity. Most certainly my people could recount many instances when I was the big fat downer. Yelling over little things, allowing my impatience to seep into the fun, quickly strangling it.
As humans, we have emotions of all kinds. We will always have moments of pure anger or sadness. Those feelings must be acknowledged and worked out. Often, that requires sharing our situation or feelings with those who know us best. It doesn’t mean that we should allow those emotions to overcome us, to weigh us down and distress those we meet. We need to take note of our energy and protect others from it when possible.
While in recovery from a stroke, Jill Bolte Taylor couldn’t communicate, but she could feel the energy of everyone who entered her hospital room, from caring nurses to those who were indifferent to her or her recovery. As has been indicated through scientific research, our state of mind and attitude plays a significant role in our ability to battle any difficulty, including illness and healing. Ms. Bolte Taylor needed positive energy, hope, love, kindness to fuel her recovery; not apathy, doubt and negativity. When she was able, she had a sign posted outside of her door that read: “Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.” She wanted to alert everyone that their energy is palpable, infectious, and yes, our own responsibility.
Wow! What an incredible statement: Take responsibility for your energy.
Recognizing that how we feel influences others, and that we have the power to control and be held accountable for that energy is life-changing. We all should heed the call to check ourselves and remember only we can tame the ego. Only we can focus on the light instead of the dark. Only we can work through the frustration, anger, or sadness to find the love, gratitude, and joy. Perhaps, with a focus on our responsibility we can create a waterfall of energy that lifts those around us up. Fosters hope and happiness. Cultivates a culture of compassion and care. Nurtures strength and cooperation. Sparks a contagious desire to wake up and see the brilliance that surrounds us all.
Read more about Jill Bolte Taylor’s experience and revelations in her book, My Stroke of Insight.