You’ve Never Missed the Boat

Do you ever experience a delay in your emotions? As in, something happens, and you don’t actually feel anything at the time, but later someone may ask you about your experience, or something triggers you, and you light up with the fire of it and think, “Wow! I didn’t even know I felt that!” And you might ask yourself, “Where was that emotion when it happened? How come I didn’t even know it was there?”

This morning I found myself irritated, angry, about little stuff. It was a familiar pattern, so I knew in this case I was angry because something that had happened had made me sad. And since I didn’t want the sad thing to be happening, I had resisted it, which meant I negated the emotion before I even felt it. I didn’t feel the sadness that was there – I didn’t even know it was there – until it popped out as anger. And there I was, surprised again! It’s kind of funny how many times I can surprise myself with this one!

I’ve seen the pattern enough that I now know to look for sadness when I feel that particular stream of anger. It’s borne of a circumstance that isn’t likely to go away, and chances are I will continue to feel sad about it (until I don’t). In the past I’ve beat myself up for not being more emotionally current, for not knowing what was there right when it was there, for not being present to how I felt, particularly because I’ve been down this road before. How come I can’t just feel sad when I’m sad? Don’t I get that yet?

But today, as I felt into the anger, I simply said, “I love you, anger. Thank you for showing me so perfectly how I feel.” This simple acknowledgment allowed the sadness to move. Tears flowed easily and simply. For the first time I truly saw the perfection of the anger instead of viewing it as the poor second cousin to the primary emotion. I simply thanked it for leading me, for showing up and being here to illumine my life. What a relief.

And suddenly the full realization came into view. I haven’t been missing the boat! I haven’t been missing my sadness because of my anger. I haven’t been missing the main thing by only getting some other thing (which would be getting it wrong, wouldn’t it?). I understood that the secondary emotion was the primary experience, which is the only thing ever truly happening. I realized I’ve never missed the boat, and neither have you. We are the boat. Whatever it is that’s happening, that is it. The whole thing. That is you. Not the wrong version of you, the less-than version, the not-quite-getting-it version. Your experience is the whole boat. And you are sailing your journey just fine, because you are the boat, and the water, and everywhere you go.

Whatever is showing up is guiding us beautifully. So maybe we can simply look with curiosity and wonder at what arises within and without, and know it’s leading us, as us, in perfection. 

Blessed sailing to you, dear friend. You are amazing.


Posted on

May 11, 2016


  1. Ellen Bacon

    Dear Christie,

    Thank you as always for your insights. I remember many times when I was feeling sad that Ernst was getting old and frail, and instead of letting myself feel the sadness, it came through as irritation, impatience, sometimes anger. It’s good to know that I wasn’t alone in these reactions – and to be reminded that they can still happen today. Love to you –

    • Christine Elder

      Oh I so understand this, Ellen. And how perfect that you felt what you felt when you did, and see past what you felt, as well. Love to you!

  2. Donna

    I love this post. So many times when something is happening to me I feel I’m in a tennis match and emotion has left the court. It is only later that feelings come into play and sometimes it takes a while to connect them to the actual event.

    • Christine Elder

      That’s a great analogy, Donna! Love to you.

  3. Megan judge

    I don’t usually feel bereft of feelings but instead when I can’t sort out how I feel, I tend to feel everything at the same time. I call this emotionally flooded. Only after I have released the emotions am I usually able to see the reason or trigger.

    • Christine Elder

      Hi Megan.
      I love your observation about becoming emotionally flooded. A great description! It also feels like there might be more to explore here, on the road to even greater emotional fluidity. Does your flood happen because there is a downpour of triggers at once, or because there is a prior build-up of times where less emotional processing is happening and it then gets your attention in the flood, or is the flood an indication of previous content that is now up to be met with love? Great explorations. 🙂


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