My Roulette Wheel of Emotions

September 24th, 2020 by Kelly Kienzle

Photo by Peter Wendt on Unsplash

Waiting

I had posted more than 80 blogs over the course of 9 years without (much) fail every month.  Then COVID hit and I was suddenly and wholly unable to write.

I could not pin down my emotions from one day to the next.  My actions in and reactions to my and the world’s sudden new way of living were different from one week to the next.  I was swept up in a swirling vortex of emotions, tossed from one wave to the next.

And so I decided to wait until the waters calmed.  I waited until I had more clarity on what I was feeling and how to live with those emotions.  And then I waited some more.  And waited still longer.  Six months in and I’m still waiting to feel settled, to feel more certain.  I’m still trying new strategies, such as being highly flexible one week and then deeply determined and resolute the next week.

Uncertainty

On any given Blursday the roulette wheel of emotions gets spun by some unseen hand and my mood for the day appears.  I don’t know how I will feel one day to the next.

And this uncertainty is added to the already formidable pile of uncertainties each of is already bearing: the scope of the pandemic, the arrival of a vaccine, the forward or backward steps of the racial justice movement, the election outcome, and the environmental future of our planet, to name a few.

No wonder our only certainty is that we are going to feel uncertain.

So how do we live in the midst of uncertainty?  How do we manage this wheel of emotions?  We can begin with taking stock of where we are.  We cannot know how to move forward unless we know where we are starting from.

Noticing

So, I compiled a list of the emotions and mindsets I have experienced many times over the last several months.  I’ll be curious to hear what emotions you would add to this list:

Fear “How big will this pandemic get?”

Sadness “Every person has a story of loss associated with COVID.”

Resolve “I can do hard things.”

Peace “Today is about simple pleasures.”

Gratitude “My friends give me so much support.”

Awe “How can these front-line workers continue to put themselves at risk EVERY day?”

Worry “Can my mask touch the front seat? Is this 6 feet?”

Anger “How can we expect to quell violence with violence?”

Boredom “I cannot eat another bowl of that granola.”

Isolation “So, Mr. UPS Driver, how is your route today?”

Grit “Just keep Zooming, just keep Zooming…”

Calm “The trees are still as beautiful as they always have been.”

So notice where you are at.  What is your emotion today?  What is your mindset?  Simply noticing where we are helps us understand what we can do that day.  And then we can take back control of that emotional roulette wheel. Knowing where we are helps us take one step forward, towards where we want to arrive.

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