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Scheduling your Emotions

Posted Oct 20 2011 7:00am

Here’s what I’ve learned in the last six months: Grief has no schedule. And, it’s highly disorganized.

What a pain!

Wouldn’t it be nice to block out ten minutes on the calendar for “Have a Good Cry/Beat on a Few Pillows” and have emotions fit perfectly into your day? Many of my clients have remarked that they long for this. Me too.

Well, here’s how much luck I’ve had scheduling my emotions during the grieving process: 0%.

I’m kind of a grief newbie, because I’ve only been through it once before, when I was twelve. My aunt passed away, and I had no clue how to grieve. Being me, I just went ahead and stuffed all of that grief down and charged forward with my life.

No, that didn’t really work.

So, in the last seven months since my miscarriage , I’ve been learning how to grieve. This week, I find that it’s hard. Yesterday was the baby’s due date. I keep thinking about what it would have been like to be giving birth, to be experiencing that major life change, to be holding my child. It’s unimaginable. Somehow, even after seven months, my mind cannot believe it’s not happening. And, at the same time, my mind cannot believe I was really pregnant.

My mind is very confused about this whole grief experience. It can’t understand it. I felt so different during the weeks I was pregnant, and then WHAM, I was back to feeling just like me again. My body was no longer taken over by strange symptoms and sudden changes. There was no baby to nurse, no end product of what was started. My mind doesn’t know what to do with that.

As a result, it does things like criticize me to death. Here’s the short list:

You should be done grieving by now.

It was just a miscarriage – other people have had much worse losses.

People will think you’re weak for still being sad/mad/whatever.

Maybe you’re not really supposed to be a mom, anyway.

Yeeek. As you can see, my mind is not helping with the grieving process. I have to rely on my emotions, instead. They help me stay healthy on all levels. So, I’ve turned everything over to them and am letting them lead me. As a result, my schedule sometimes (admittedly, thankfully, not EVERY day) looks like this:

9:00 am – Coach Client

10:00 am – Have crying attack

10:15 am – Write blog post

11:00 am – Have angry pillow-punching attack

11:10 am – Put on makeup and fix hair

Noon – Eat lunch

12:30 pm – Teach class

2:00 pm – Feel depressed. Mope around.

2:15 pm – Realize I’m pretending not to be sad. Cry.

2:35 pm – Feel sudden rush of love and joy

3:00 pm – Coach Client


What I’ve noticed is, if I let my emotions happen, I can work around them. I can be okay with my clients because I’m having crying attacks randomly during the day. I can write a coherent blog post because I let the anger come out when it needed to.

The result of this practice? My mind pretty much throws up its hands and gives up. It quiets down and leaves me in peace.  I feel. I heal. I repeat that process.

So maybe we can’t schedule our emotions. But that doesn’t mean we can’t feel them. In fact, my hunch is that things are designed pretty darn well, after all. These emotions – they’re meant to help us stay connected to our inner wisdom. We need them. Feeling them helps us stay sane, physically healthy, and even emotionally peaceful. I notice that when I feel them, they pass quickly and I spend more time feeling calm and peaceful. It’s only ignoring them that creates buildup, stress, tension, and anxiety.

Whether it’s a quick break in the public restroom at work or a few moments in the car, time can be found to feel emotions. Even if you’re not grieving, it’s every bit as important, especially if you want your body to be healthy and pain-free. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to feel.

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