Discover the hidden narrative within difficult mental and emotional states. In some self-help and meditation circles, it’s common to hear the refrain, “Just sit with your feelings”. What’s often left unsaid is how each emotion has its own signature movement or “story to tell”. In other words, sitting with confusion is different from sitting with anger, which is different from sitting with loneliness, and so on. Not only does each emotion have its own distinct narrative and manner of unraveling, but each has its own unique gift to impart to those who are patient enough to sit through the unfolding. In each of these short books, I focus in on a specific emotional and mental state and present a map of the terrain you’ll likely traverse when you eventually do sit with and process that particular emotion at hand. My hope is that you’ll find inspiration and value to sit with and to digest these difficult emotional and mental states as they arise and offer their hidden and sometimes surprising gifts.
Are you having difficulty with your emotions? Maybe you can find some strategies to working through your emotions within the pages of ‘The Gifts that Lie Hidden within Difficult Emotions (Part 2): Feeling Stuck and Frustrated’. And today I’ve been joined by Yuichi Handa to chat a little about emotions and a lot about writing about emotions. Yuichi, thanks for joining me today to uncover what you’ve learnt through your meditative practice. If you were pushed pick a single learning that is covered in this book, what do you feel is the most important?
It’s that what we normally call “negative” emotions are only negative because we fail to see the gift that they bring with them. We’re not trained or taught what these gifts are in school or from our parents, usually, unless we’ve been exceptionally fortunate. What I want to share in these books are these gifts so that each person might become more motivated about embracing these difficult emotional and mental states without trying to fix or run from them.
Embracing the difficult states in life is a huge challenge to tackle, and I’m feeling that this is probably not something that can be addressed within a single book. Are you also working on new books or projects to help people confront these challenges of life?
Yes, I am continuing to work on parts 3 through 5 of this series. I am also putting together a book on how to build a sustainable daily meditation practice.
What pushes you to keep documenting what you’ve learnt from your meditative practices?
It seems one way to share some of what I’ve learned or gathered in my time so far.
I’m sure over time you’ve gathered a vast amount of information, and you’ve already mentioned that you are working on at least another 4 book projects. Do you find yourself keeping idea journals or something of the like, to keep track of all of your current and future ideas?
No. Or I do, but I don’t find them useful because I never go back to them. Instead, once I begin the writing process, I begin compiling information pertinent to the project at hand. I find that much more useful!
As you’ve found that focusing on the book at hand is more effective than collecting endless notes, do you find it easy to clearly see where it will end before you start writing?
I never know how it will end. In my case, I don’t consider it to ever end. It’s more that I simply make a decision to stop, knowing that there is more to say, more to write, always.
As there’s always more to say, do you spend a large amount of time in editing to streamline your ideas?
I edit my books at least 20 times. The first three to five edits are drastic, meaning that I’ll add up to 50% new material while cutting away about 20 – 30% of old material in the process. It’s more work than the original act of writing. Then, the next 10 -15 edits are quicker, mostly focused on flow, coherence, language use, and so on. Then I send it to my editor. Then, I usually edit it five more times.
Wow, that is a huge amount of editing. Do you approach writing with the same attention to detail?
I meditate before I write. Then, I do my best.
What happens on days when you’re struggling to do your best?
If I’m blocked, I don’t try to write. I just go enjoy life. Or I enjoy being blocked.
I think that’s the first time that I’ve had anyone say that they embrace and enjoy writer’s block, but I can see how you have found success with this approach from your research into dealing with difficult emotions. Yuichi, thank you for joining me today, and I hope that others will be gain the ability to enjoy their brushes with the less pleasant emotions of life through your book ‘The Gifts that Lie Hidden within Difficult Emotions (Part 2): Feeling Stuck and Frustrated’.
Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘The Gifts that Lie Hidden within Difficult Emotions (Part 2): Feeling Stuck and Frustrated ( ASIN: B072FPMSH8 )‘.
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