June 02, 2014 Lana Jelenjev

I didn't think I would have more affinity for this question as I do now. When my mother was in and out of the hospital this question was the one that regularly greeted us from nurses to doctors to visiting family members or friends. The past few days, I have been asked the same question specially after being upfront with the "waiting" that we are experiencing after my mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy last Friday.

But instead of the usual shrug and "I'm ok", my reply the past few days varied. From "I'm feeling overwhelmed", "feeling anxious", "feeling scared", "feeling unsettled" and sometimes I blurt the occasional "I'm ok" because indeed at that moment that I was asked I did feel okay.

Yesterday was another range of emotions that surfaced.

Have you ever felt daunted?

I went for a photo shoot for the first time to get some professional shots for the book I am writing together with life coach Amber. Our very talented photographer Rubianca from xllens photography made the experience less stressful. She was very accommodating and intense with trying to find that right angle, right light, and right pose. That was my first photo shoot and it was DAUNTING! Especially the part when I have to go through all the shots made to choose which photos to get. I have never seen so many close-up shots of me in one screen! I realized that I haven't really allowed myself to feel comfortable looking at my self, my face, my body, nor have I, in the lines of my husband's latest song for me, "love  your curves and all your edges. All your perfect imperfections" (John Legend's All of Me). Lately I haven't been doing any of that loving, I haven't even been longer than 3 minutes in front of a mirror. Perhaps this is the time to start doing that now.

And now? For the first time since Friday I am alone and I am feeling edgy. I have all the house to myself and with no kids to distract me from my thoughts. In stillness and aloneness I face a great fear- the overspilling of black thoughts that I kept buried and the building up of new ones that I don't want to give space for. But I should. I should allow myself the time to feel and face all these emotions. Like how we embrace happiness, sadness too should be allowed to dwell in. During our Connecting with Children workshop, NVC Coach Yoram Mozenzon mentioned how we need to caress the jackal thoughts to bring out the beautiful need that is hidden. I am feeling anxious even more than since Monday of last week when I first felt that bump on my breast. I am feeling anxious because I don't want to be alone with my thoughts.

So many emotions felt in just a short span of time and with most of them being so potent that I am left wondering, why couldn't they put Emotion 101 as part of the curriculum. Surely there will be enough range of emotions to fill in a year long curriculum? Shouldn't it be better if we can understand how we feel in the same way that we can understand how to do our math or science or reading?

This month we are celebrating our emotions- caressing the jackal thoughts and bringing to light our deepest needs. To start of this focus on emotion I have created a Pinterest Board on Emotions that you can try at home to start building your family's emotional literacy skills.

Enjoy the activities and please if you have the time share the pictures at Smart Tinker Facebook Page or join us in discussing about Compassion, Critical-Thinking and Creativity at Smart Tinker Parents Network Group.

If you are a teacher, you might want to visit Smart Tinker Teachers Network Page where I will share activities that I curate online that promotes emotional literacy in the classroom.


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