Six weeks ago I found myself relaxed on a massage table in small wooden room in the island hills of southern Thailand. The Ayurveda specialist walked in and began examining my back, vertebrae by vertebrae. And to my surprise, she proceeded to present my 2015 Year in Review…according to my spine:
"Whoa," I thought. How did my vertebrae tell her my year so accurately? And why was I so blocked? I’ve had a banner year - five continents, sixteen countries, one half Dome summit, my first camel ride, an international marathon, and my most successful professional year to date. I was on top of the world!
Or not. I recall my momentum screeching to a halt in a matter of seconds as memories of accomplishment began spiraling down a drain of wasted energy. In that moment this serene woman paused her hands, and with all the benevolence in her heart looked me in the eyes and said, "My dear,
“Let your emotions finish”
Intuiting my confusion she continued, “Don’t stop your emotion. If you’re going to laugh, LAUGH. If you want to cry, CRY. If you need to shout, SHOUT. Go in a room, shut the door, and let your emotion finish. Because when you don’t, it stores up in here,” she said touching my shoulders. “See tight? Years of tight.”
With nowhere to go, my blocked spine and I sat with her words.
I’ve experienced a lot of emotion this year – in boardrooms, hotel conference spaces, offices, kitchens, airports, basically anywhere I’ve been in conversation. Reflecting on this last day of 2015, I hold her words as my favorite piece of advice for two reasons:
1) It will take me a lifetime to understand it fully
2) It has universal applicability for the executive and the parent
I still have years of tight, but I’m getting better at “letting my emotions finish”. As I do, I show up as a more genuine leader, coach, colleague and family member. When I’m unstuck, I’m more available to relationships that matter most to me. The quality of my life is the quality of these relationships. I offer this simple, yet sage advice in hopes it will open the abundant possibility within all of us this coming year.