Emotional Intelligence? No, Thank You
I spent the first 40 years of my life practicing strategies to cover up, push away or otherwise keep deeper feelings “at bay” because…well because I didn’t know how to deal with them. The feelings, (that is, the ones I could actually name) seemed irreconcilable, useless really. And if I was going to “get ahead”, I’d better buckle down and deny permission to that kind of self-sabotage. What am I–gonna be one of those guys, “still trying to find himself” as the message goes? Baggage, dude. Lose it, or at the very least, keep it in one of those public rental spaces away from the mainstream, Okay?
About 180 degrees from where I needed to be, but “getting ahead” and “doing well” were at the helm for the master plan in the first 40 and hey, isn’t that what life is all about? A grown man with a beautiful family and everything anyone could ever ask for–without a clue. Now and in retrospect, I give myself a break because active addiction was onboard my mind, body and spirit and in fact, an intergenerational legacy in my family. Emotional intelligence and active addiction do not go hand-in-hand.
But as authentic good fortune would have it, at the age of 40, in a burning bush kind of experience, I found myself on the water’s edge saturated with anger, disappointment and shame and asked out loud, “What am I doing here?!” Without skipping a beat another voice as clear as mine responded by saying, “You’re here to feel.” “Feel what?” I asked. The voice said, “You’re here to feel everything.” “I’ll need some help with that”, I admonished and then and finally heard, “You got it, and remember, you are part of the help.”
I Can Feel It
At age 40 I gave up some of the emotional repression practices I had including the use of drugs and alcohol. And over the course of the last two decades, I’ve been learning to feel better–to feel everything better in a process of progress and certainly not perfection. Early on, the practices inspired me to create this video clip, I Can Feel It.
So now, soon to be a part of the 60-something crowd, I frame my quest for emotional intelligence in an even larger context. Having not anesthetized myself with drugs or alcohol for two decades, I’m frequently startled by just how much I do feel–and feel better. Because oh yeah, I can feel it…”Coming back again, like rolling thunder chasing the wind, like forces pulling from the center of the Earth again, I Can Feel It”…with amazing, unadulterated and often raw gratitude.
With all of the reasons to stay armored and, “I’m Okay!” becoming no longer valuable, I revel in the emotional domain in a way I never knew was available–and I really am Okay, right now…today. I’ve learned that no matter what feelings are passing through, to be hospitable to them as Rumi’s ancient poem, The Guest House suggests, “Be grateful for whatever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”
Emotional Intelligence? Yes, Thank You
Daniel Goleman wrote the seminal, Emotional Intelligence back in the day and now has co-authored a sequel, Primal Leadership describing the emotional intelligence core competencies that are now gaining the attention of corporate America. In the development of the book, the authors describe the “neuroanatomy of leadership” and the paramount importance of emotional intelligence in the leadership of any successful organization. It’s a great read and maps seamlessly with the importance of including an ongoing emotional intelligence practice in addiction recovery.
Addiction is a brain disorder and disease having to do in large part with the center of the brain dealing with memory, motivation, learning, emotion and reward. The neuroanatomy of leadership in my life includes reinforcing memory by staying motivated and well invested in an ongoing learning curve about my ever evolving emotional intelligence practice. The healthy reward has been immense.
Emotional intelligence along with working on our core human competencies of intellectual, moral and spiritual intelligences brings deep empathy for self and others and the sense of unity for more joy, productivity and peace of mind.
I am very grateful for having listened to and acted upon that emotionally intelligent voice I heard in my mind–all those years ago.
Yes indeed, I am feeling better.Dr. Herby Bell is a Recovery and Wellness Coach and owner of Recovery Health Care, an integrated approach to wellness and addiction recovery in Saratoga, California. For more information please call 650 474 9411 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with me online too: Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin