The Power of Choice: Journey of Gratitude – Day 38

Copyright Tam Black 2015 Designed for
Copyright Tam Black 2015
Designed for

Guiding Thought

I seek only to Love in Unity. Love is Pure in Oneness. Let me Love All including myself in Oneness, that I may Know gratitude as the result of Being Whole in Love.


“How do you feel?” This is a simple enough question for most. Most people have a baseline for how they feel in general. When asked, “How do you feel?” if they are at this baseline, they will simply answer, “Good.” or “Fine.” If they are slightly above this baseline, they may respond, “Really good.” and if they are well above the baseline, the response might be, “Really good!” or “Excellent!” or “Fantastic!” If they are slightly below the baseline, they may respond, “Okay.” or “Okay.” —with a slight facial twist to indicate they are not quite baseline okay; if they are well below the baseline, they may simply respond, “Eh.”

Everyone has a baseline and a corresponding response. It’s almost as though it’s woven into the fabric of social relations that we understand the responses. Most of the time, the responses don’t really answer the question.

When I was about 8 years old I remember being in a fairly traumatic situation (this is a relative view, the perception of an 8-year-old. With maturity, hindsight, and a bit of inner work, it was not that bad). During this situation, I was not-gently prodded to express my feelings. I froze in that moment. I remember thinking to myself, “FINE. Then I just won’t feel”. In that moment, I made the decision to disconnect from my emotions.

Until I was about 23, when I was asked question, “How do you feel?” my emotions froze…completely. I never knew how I felt. I took the question literally, not as a social interaction, because the situation as an 8-year old made the question literal in my head. When someone asked me how I felt, I was not wired to give the expected social answer, but to analyze my emotions and try to answer the question, but I couldn’t, because I had shut myself off from them.

At age 23 I was introduced to a tool called the behavioral barometer. This has been the single greatest tool for me to identify my emotions and to work through them. With it, when someone asked “How do you feel?” I could pull out my barometer, look at the words, do an internal assessment, and answer the question (the full use of the tool goes way beyond this, but this is the simplest explanation for the current purpose). Though I still keep a barometer with me about 75 percent of the time, I can now feel and identify the feeling without it most of the time; it has become a natural tool for me.

For every emotion on the barometer (the right hand column), there is a corresponding “State of Being” (the left hand column). The goal is to work through the emotion and to realize (in the fullest sense of the word) one’s own state of being. The catalyst is choice.

When I was 8, I made the choice not to feel. Since age 23, I have been choosing to feel more and more, because I understand feelings as a clue to understanding my true state of being—who I really am.

Emotions are not who I Am. Emotions flow through me; they are not me. Emotions pass and I can watch them. They are an expression of something, but I do not have to define that something as me. If I am feeling, I am not being.

I can choose.

Who do I want to be? How do I want to be? Ultimately, I know that I will need to dissolve even the concepts of “I” and “me”…but I am not there yet. For now, it’s enough to want to be more. This goes beyond being a better person, a kinder colleague, a more loving and understanding friend, a compassionate teacher.

I want to be whole. I want to be pure. I want to be Love.

I choose. I am.