Emotions vs. Feelings

I’ve been puzzling over this for sometime. Maybe you fine, reflective, self-aware people can help me …

Is there difference between feelings and emotions? Are there inner experiences that you would consider to be feelings but not emotions? What about vice versa? Is the idea of semantically separating these two a revolutionary concept to anyone else?

Just to spark your thinking, here‘s some thoughts on the subject, courtesy of .

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A Scrapbook of Shadow – Purple Wings (Age Five or Six)

Mrs. Rosen-something teaches first grade. One plus one is two. I picture myself with wings, running outside in the sun, flapping them up and down. Two plus two is four. My wings are purple. The flowers are purple. The schoolyard fence is gone. I can fly away. No one would ever notice. Three plus two is…. My eyes turn at the sound of my name and my wings are gone. Every hand in the room is up—every hand but mine. My hands are gone. The teacher looks directly at me and asks again, “And you, dear, what’s three plus two?” My voice is gone. All that’s left is the endless emptiness in my stomach. I can’t breathe. I try for a gasp but instead I sob. My stomach betrays me. I can’t stop the sobbing. This is so typical for me. Why don’t other kids feel what I feel?

[Other images in this scrapbook can be found here.]

The Elegant Universe (DVD) and The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene

I’ve been reading The Fabric of the Cosmos and just watched the 3 hour Nova special based on his book The Elegant Universe. Brian Greene provides an entertaining walk through of the history of physics in comprehensible layman’s terms and the quest for the holy grail of physics: a single, unified theory that explains how everything works. Here’s the run down…

A Scrapbook of Shadows – Joanna, Susannah, something (Age Five-ish)

There used to be a girl down the street, older than me, maybe eight-—Joanna, Susannah, something. She was the crossing guard on my corner. That’s what I want to be someday. Everyone sees the crossing guard. Last week, two men drove up in front of my house and told her to hop in because her dad was in their car. Last week, she was on my corner. This week she’s gone. I hear she still lives down the street, but I’ll never know for sure. She doesn’t come out anymore. I wonder if those men thought she was me; after all, it’s my corner. Or, maybe no one knows I’m here.

[Other images in this scrapbook can be found here.]

The Spiral Staircase (book review)

Just finished reading The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness by Karen Armstrong.

I had great respect for her after reading the erudite yet accessible A History of God. And, now, after hearing her personal story of her years since she left the convent, I feel affirmed in my own process and preoccupation with the divine. From my sense of alienation, to my early disdain of my emotional sensitivity, to my later struggle with not letting my idealization of empirical reason completely undermine my intuition, to submitting myself to a spiritual training (or, as my teacher might say, not having submitted myself enough), to an acceptance of myself and even my feelings as my compass, to a respect for and cooperation with forces acting in my life, to a growing appreciation for paradox and the apprehension of God as an impersonal phenomenon beyond all conception and how much loving comfort that gives me, to the eventual academic endeavour (of which I have only just begun) of seeing if I can form a cohesive vision of history, theology, and psychology for myself.

Here’s a little taste from the beginning of the book …

“Exile is, of course, not simply a change of addess. It is also a spiritual dislocation…. Once the fixed point of home is gone, there is a fundamental lack of orientation that makes everything seem relative and aimless.” (Armstrong, 2004, p. 23)

And from the end …

“To my very great surprise, I was discovering that some of the most eminent Jewish, Christian, and Muslim theologians and mystics insisted that God was not an objective fact, was not another being, and was not an unseen reality like the atom, whose existence could be empirically demonstrated…. Most would agree with the Greek Orthodox that any statement about God had to have two characteristics. It must be paradoxical, to remind us that God cannot be contained in a neat, coherent system of thought; and it must be apophatic, that is, it should lead us to a moment of silent awe or wonder, because when we are speaking of the reality of God we are at the end of what words or thoughts can usefully do.” (Armstrong, 2004, pp. 291-2)

Thank you, Karen Armstrong, for hobbling along your path to give this back to folks like me.

A Scrapbook of Shadow – A Year Apart (Age Four)

Today is my first day of first grade. And although I’ve only just learned to tie my shoes, I’ve been reading for some time and that means my stay in Kindergarten lasted only two weeks. I’m four now. The new kids are five, an age apart. Every year, I’m one year younger and they are one year older. Eventually, I learn to play alone. Adults think I’m so “mature for my age.”

[Other images in this scrapbook can be found here.]

As long as I’m dreaming …

Dating Journal filter

Everybody has a list. I’m no exception. Thought that I’d write mine down so that I wouldn’t forget the next time I fall in love with someone that’s not good for me ….

  • Good sense of humor. Laughs easily. Especially at himself.
  • Has a sense of purpose that I can back.
  • Easy going. Not especially defensive.
  • Gets a kick out of the little things in life, or at least appreciates that I do.
  • Intelligent, introspective, compassionate.
  • Just physically fit and health conscious enough to show he’s got some self-respect.
  • Doesn’t outsource his emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs.
  • A little impulsive and open-ended and likes how grounded I make him feel.
  • Introvert, with a pinch of geek.
  • Enjoys sex but also enjoys being physically affectionate without using it to push for sex.
  • Shares my values. (hand waving here.)
  • Healthy dose of existential angst.