Taking Emotional Roll Call

Do you suppress, control, or do just about anything to avoid those more uncomfortable emotions? Our emotions carry important information about our needs and what we care deeply about. This exercise will guide you to practice listening to the messages of your emotions in a more skillful way. Let’s Practice.

14 Comments

  1. Justine

    I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right. I couldn’t find the time or image of when I first felt that similar resentment in my life. Every thing felt like a blur and I had trouble staying with the visualization. I felt a lot of other emotions when I tried to focus on that one that I was supposed to. It seems to keep slipping away, which suddenly led me to feeling incompetent.
    I tried to talk lovingly to my inner passenger but I didn’t know how or what to say. I felt unnatural and fake like I was trying too hard.

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    • Lara Fielding

      Hi dear Justine, Thank you for your share and question! I must say you are already an excellent Observer of your experience. Well done! And yes, it is quite natural that this practice is difficult at first. Us humans are just programed to move away from uncomfortable thoughts and feelings. And then of course the judgments come. So yes, this practice is difficult. That is why I repeatedly say ‘let’s practice’ over and over again. Getting kindly acquainted with our difficult internal experiences takes practice. AND I’m super proud of you for trying. I hope you will keep working on it. And do not hesitate to ask any other questions. I promise to be more prompt next time.
      Very Warmly,
      Lara

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    • Christine Ayu

      When I face my child version of me and see me crying I can’t immediately hug my self there, but rather crying pity of myself and after that offering a hug. I can’t tell myself that you’ll be okay because I am not okay too.

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    • Lara Fielding

      Hi Justine, First let me say thank you for sharing your brave and vulnerable answer. I’m so very glad you are trying and practicing the exercises in the face of your difficulties! The first thing I’m curious about in your response is this: What if you didn’t tell her ‘you’ll be okay’ to reassure her. What if instead you just say something like, ‘I’m here with you. Let’s just sit this out together for this meditation time.” As you proceed through the book, you will see, skillfully walking through difficult emotions is doing the opposite of what we have learned or do naturally. Instead of trying to change the crying and sadness, we’re learning how to lean in and be with our emotions in a kinder, gentler way. So they can get unstuck and move on on their own. This brings me to my second observation. Our word choice. I noticed you used the word ‘pity’ for how you perceive your sadness. The word pity has a bit of a superior or condescending feel to it. What if you switched pity, for compassion? There is a self compassion practice video in Chapter 8 if you would like to go try that one. I hope you find this helpful! And do keep checking back if you have any other questions. Stay with it as best you can. You may just be surprised by the outcome. Warmly, Lara

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  2. K

    This was my first experience here. While I was offering my child-self an apology and acceptance, I kept thinking it was my parents who owed me this. How do I give myself something that is owed by someone else?

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    • Lara Fielding

      Hi K, I can totally relate to your thoughts! It feels, and IS so unfair that we sometimes have to give ourselves the things our parents ‘should’ have. . . So, let’s just take a minute to let that set in. Your feelings are valid… (Self compassion practice in chapter 8 might be helpful). AND if there is something your parents might still be able to do, which will help you feel better (and they are capable of), see ch. 11. on how to skillfully get your needs met.
      When we cannot get the things we should have however, that is when, I’m oh so sorry to say… We have to offer it to ourselves and rebuild the foundation we were denied. You ask “how” can I give this to myself? That is the practice. Over and over again. We come back to the practice. Does that make sense?
      If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
      Warmly,
      Lara

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    • Annie

      So I’m a fully grown adult (53) who teaches mindfulness to adults and some teens and reading yr book to get a better understanding of young adults as don’t have kids myself. I did this practice for myself and it was so powerful thank you. A carer for my 91yr old dad after losing mum last year and I just saw my sad 8yr old self in the passenger seat. V useful visualisation!

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    • Lara Fielding

      Hi Annie, I’m thrilled that you tried it and it had the intended effect! I hope you will continue to identify and check in with little Annie… so she doesn’t need to scream to get your attention. I also hope the book inspires some creative ways to work with your students. I’d love to hear how it goes! Warmly, Lara

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  3. Banna

    Best article i read recently. I will definitely share it with my friends

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    • Lara Fielding

      Thank you for your kind words.

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  4. S

    Hi Lara, I just tried this exercise for the first time and saw my passenger not as a child, but me as the age I am now. What’s that all about? 🤔 (inquisitive)

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    • Lara Fielding

      Hi S. Thanks for commenting and reaching out! When the first image that comes to mind is you at your current age, this may indicate that the emotional experience is so relevant in your current life, it is difficult to see past, and into the origins. Be patient with yourself, and I hope you will keep practicing. Try asking yourself, does this emotion (find the one word label for the emotions) feel familiar? When in my history, and family did this feeling begin, or first show up strongly? Your adult mind has build a lot of structures to protect yourself from going back to those more vulnerable times. But the closer you move into little you, and offer the love and compassion you needed then, the sooner the structures can dissolve and/or become more adaptive to your needs, and the needs of your current situation. So you can be more effective! Hope this helps, and keep practicing! Lara

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  5. Yaris

    Hi Lara,
    When I tried this exercise I couldn’t picture 8-year-old version of myself crying because on all my childhood photos I am pictured smiling and that’s the way I think of myself at that age.
    However, after I held her in my lap telling her I will be there for her and never let her down or abandon her, I had trouble letting go of her. I wanted to keep holding and hugging her.
    Does it mean something?

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    • Lara Fielding

      Hello dear Yaris, First of all, Yay You! for diving in and practicing connecting with yourself. As you noticed, you learned something very important about both the grown up part of you and the child/vulnerable part. It sounds like you found how much little you is craving authentic attention. And I’m happy to hear that grown up you was able and wanting to give it! I believe that is a very important healing place to begin. . . Over time, as you practice this and other exercises like it in Ch. 8, you will be building your psychological flexibility. Your ability to be there for the vulnerable parts of yourself – and also step away from the urges and needs of your child self so you can continue to build a grown up life that keeps her safe and happy. When you notice you don’t want to move away, that is because something about the experience was pleasant for you. And that is a good thing. Skillfulness is always in the balance: Too much holding to the soft and vulnerable (village mode) and we don’t get things done towards our goals, too much hardening towards our deeper needs and we get cut off from our authentic self, loose touch with creativity and what we care deeply about. I can’t wait to hear more about your journey! Warmly, Lara

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