Spiritual Networks


Allow the surprise – and be ready for it!
What you feel is the value of your life. It’s worth a little work!

Exercises for Gathering Emotional Wisdom regarding
the fourth Cycle, Mutuality

Here is a brief description of each Core Emotion, accompanied by its synonyms.


Respect is the receptive justice of the Follower: pleasure in simply appreciating what another has to contribute. Respect recognizes an equal, someone with whom the power of choice could prosperously be shared. When I respect you, I perceive our differences as complementary. If we could co-ordinate what you bring, with what I bring, in a movement toward a common purpose, there is so much we could accomplish together!

Synonyms for Respect: considerate, hospitable, cordial, gracious, available, favorable, thoughtful, sympathetic, tactful, sociable, affable, attentive.


Regret is the receptive injustice of the Follower. When I allow myself to feel Regret, I find a way to limit Injustice by letting it pass. I recognize that something in my old way of being is contrary to our agreement and needs to die. A new way of participating in the agreement needs to take its place. I need to change. This is an opportunity for me and for the agreement to be renewed. I accept the vulnerability in bringing my Regret to the relationship. Our agreement may not survive. My clear intention, however, is to revitalize, improve, and prolong our agreement.

Synonyms for Regret: sorry, remorse, contrite, (“healthy” guilt); admit, confess.


Anger is the expressive injustice of the Leader. Anger is the movement of energy to bring a threat to our agreement to an end. Something needs to change. I am holding you accountable. I am saying that, as I see it, you are not living up to our agreement, and this is unacceptable. I may also be saying that the agreement needs to change, that I no longer perceive it as fair. I am standing up for my place in the agreement. We need to make changes so that the agreement seems fair to me.

Synonyms for Anger: cross, bitter, irate, indignant, infuriated, irritated, annoyed, provoked, offended, rejected, used, cheated, betrayed, outraged.


Generostiy is the expressive justice of the Leader. Generosity makes my contribution to the agreement available to others. I am giving from the sheer pleasure of what I have to offer, because I believe I have a valuable contribution toward our agreement. Generosity makes my confidence available to all of us. I give freely, no strings attached, no attempt at ingratiation or control. I believe in the value of our co-operation and it is a joy to play my part!

Synonyms for Generosity: valiant, loving, blessed, kind, bighearted, openhanded, munificent, giving, prosperous, tolerant, benevolent, gracious, lenient, sympathetic, accepting, considerate, triumphant, satisfied, productive, expressive, honest, capable, free, enthused, glowing, enthusiastic, vivacious.


    This exercise invites you to explore your relative comfort with the Core Emotions in the Cycle of Mutuality.

    1. Choose one Core Emotion at a time, peruse the definitions and synonyms provided above, and choose a specific word from the list, one that draws your curiosity at the moment. Reflect on specific experiences of this feeling, and, using the following chart, identify the degree of your Emotional Availability. Repeat for as many feelings and variations as draw your curiosity.




      about past experience

      Feel now
      within my body

      to another while
      feeling it now

      (don’t acknowledge:
      Invalidate the feeling)





      (feel it, validate the feeling, though challenging to do so)






      (feel it with natural, flowing ease)








    2. Gather your Emotional Wisdom: summarize what you learn about yourself with regard to each particular Core Emotion.
    3. How satisfied are you with the degree of your Emotional Availability? If you’d like to increase your emotional comfort zone, proceed to the next exercise.

    This exercise gives you a way to explore the history of your experience with any given emotion. The more you appreciate the roots of a feeling, the more you can make yourself at home with it, the more it can become a source of wisdom for ever better choices.

      I use a meditation exercise to get my awareness centered (5 minutes).  How am I feeling now, as I begin?
    2. FOCUS
      I browse through the list of feelings, carefully sensing which feeling word holds energy for me. Which stirs my curiosity, draws me into further exploration?

        I search my memory for my recollection of my most recent experience of the emotion which I wish to explore.  I let my memory and imagination recreate the event which generated the emotion.  Factual recall is not necessary. I let myself imagine the event vividly, as if it were happening now.  I allow myself to notice all the elements of my experience (Reason, Imagine, Feel, Sense).  When the Experience is complete, I identify its important elements on a blank page, perhaps even writing a comprehensive narrative of the event.
        I let my awareness regress through time to explore other past events which generated this emotion.  I stop at two or three which stand out with some clarity.  I allow myself, as in part a), above, to vividly process each event.  Upon completion of each recollection, I note its elements in the same manner as used in part a).
        I let go of all of the above awareness and imagine I am traveling further back in time.  I let images of experience roll by until I am at my earliest recollection of the emotion of interest.  I allow myself to vividly process the event where this emotion was first generated (as far as I know at this time).  I attend to each element of the experience as though to a sacred revelation.  Finally, I note significant elements of this experience as above.
      Now I review the fruits of my reflection.  I allow myself to really 'get a feel' for this emotion.  I imagine myself in a future event, experiencing the emotion.  What is the storyline?  What might be a core image or metaphor?  How might I artistically represent this image?  What physical positioning or movement seems to belong with this image?  Finally, I put my body into the imagined position, allowing the energy to move and sound to be made until I am more fully appreciating the embodied wonder of this emotion.
      What have I learned about myself with regard to this feeling?  What patterns do I notice?  How have some patterns changed across time?  To what extent do I allow my inner awareness and/or outer expression of this feeling?  What ways do I have in my body or mind of avoiding it? What new choices am I making now about relational challenges in my life?  What few words hold the core of my learning?  How might I use this mantra/belief/affirmation to deepen my access to this emotion?

    **NOTE: If I am unable to find sufficient memories (clarity or number), I can simply allow my imagination to create events as if they once happened or are now happening.  This will still inform me as to where I am with the emotion.  I can also consider vicarious experience, where I witnessed someone else's experience in a way that affected me.

  3. CORE EMOTIONS: further reflection

    1. RESPECT: I am quietly enjoying what you have to offer.

      1. If I track my feelings for a week, how often and for how long do I find myself feeling Respect? How often and for how long do I allow myself to contemplatively appreciate the contributions of another to what we share?
      2. What are the beliefs (self-talk) that get in the way of my feeling Respect? How do I talk myself out of appreciating the strengths of another? Do I automatically look for hidden agendas? What negative judgments do I have about what might happen if I open myself to what another has to offer?
      3. When I am having a moment of Respect, if I pay attention to my body, where do I notice tension that is not getting released? If I listen to this tension, what does it tell me about changes that I need to make?
      4. How intentional am I about noticing and voicing my appreciation of the contributions of others? Who do I or have I known that does this well? How might I do it better?
    2. REGRET: I am holding myself accountable, to protect our agreement.

      1. How willing am I to listen to my Regret when I am feeling it? To allow it to teach me what I need to change? Might I try just sitting, breathing with, and listening to the Regret to see what it has to say to me? What do I need to do differently?
      2. How quick am I to get defensive when I perceive my contribution as lacking? How do I distract myself in order to avoid holding myself accountable for my part in our co-operation?
      3. How automatically do I refuse to acknowledge Regret? How convinced am I that it is just an unwanted vulnerability, something that gives someone else power over me? How much do I consider Regret to be shameful, even humiliating, proving and exposing in some way that there is something wrong with me?
      4. How hard is it for me to say I am sorry? What has happened when I have said it? What has happened when I have avoided saying it?
      5. If I pay attention to myself when I am experiencing Regret, how much do I notice myself tensing up against it, not wanting to allow myself to feel it?
      6. How often do I avoid experiences that I anticipate might possibly lead to me feeling Regret? What might such avoidance be costing me? What moments of potential growth have I shut down because I was avoiding Regret? How much of my life is going unlived, how much potential unfulfilled because I automatically avoid possible Regret?
      7. What experiences have I had of a compassionate other, someone willing and able to be with me when I felt Regret, in a way that helped it to pass? Who do I have in my life at this time to whom I can turn to talk through my unresolved Regrets? If no one comes to mind, might I need to seek out such a resource so that I can discover how to learn and grow by listening to Regret?
    3. ANGER: I want this unfairness to end!

      1. If I pay attention to my experiences for a week, how often am I in situations where co-operation feels threatened? How willing am I to notice and speak up when the way things are happening seems unfair to me? How much do I allow unfairness to continue rather than engage my own anger?
      2. If I look back over moments when co-operation seemed threatened, even imagine that I am in the experience again at this moment, what energy do I notice moving in my body? What impulses am I aware of? If I didn’t restrain the emotional energy, what do I imagine myself doing? If I think responsibly about this event, and my feelings, what might I choose to do if it happens again?
      3. What experiences have I had that have led me to distrust my own anger? How convinced am I that anger means someone is about to get hurt? How afraid am I of this energy in myself? In others? How helpless do I become in the face of another’s anger? How much do I turn my anger into making sure I get my way, while disregarding how unfair it may be, or how it threatens an agreement?
    4. GENEROSITY: I am joyfully giving from my own abundance.

      1. How do I cultivate experiences where I share with others the joy of what I have to contribute? How important is this kind of initiative to me?
      2. If I pay attention to my experiences for a week or two, how frequent and how long lasting are the times when I am confidently making available what I have to offer others?
      3. How comfortable am I with spontaneous generosity? If I pay attention when the opportunity arises, how much do I allow myself to go with it? How much do I find a way to dampen the energy, to mute it, or bring it to an end?
      4. How willing am I to join in with others when they have initiated the Generosity? What self-talk goes on inside me that tells me to distrust it, that finds a way to negatively judge it, to find something wrong with it? How do I convince myself they have ulterior motives?
      5. How much am I afraid of initiating my contribution? How much do I expect that someone or something will come along to devalue it? Or that the generous response of others might diminish my own?

    Now that you have given yourself some familiarity with the Core Emotions of Mutuality, you are in a better position to give daily attention to these feelings. In our complex and fast paced lives, so much happens so fast that some of the feelings go unattended. The way to grow in Mutuality is to make a commitment to regularly noticing, experiencing, and processing these feelings.

      Use a meditation exercise to get your awareness centered. Bodyscan, Following the Breath, or Mindfulness can be useful here. The point is to become conscious of your embodied presence in the moment.
      Then spend time breathing while remembering the events of the day. Allow your awareness to sift slowly through your experiences as seen through the lens of the choices you made. Recall as many of the details as help each event to become real once again. Watch for any forms of these feelings: Respect, Regret, Anger, Generosity. Pause to acknowledge and honor your feelings, one at a time.

      Let yourself be present to each feeling as if the event were happening now. This means breathing with awareness of the energy of the feeling in your body, as well as thinking through the value that is highlighted by this feeling. If there is a particular feeling that is challenging for you to allow yourself to fully experience, review and use the Breathing a Feeling method from exercises in the Introductory chapter.
      As you acknowledge the meaning of each feeling, listen with care to what this feeling has to tell you about yourself, your relationships, your intentions, your choices. Gather your learning, if you wish, in a journal.
      Many days you may notice an incompleteness to some experiences.

      What has come into your awareness that requires further attention? What intention can you identify? What will you do to realize this intention? Perhaps the following exercise, Processing a Feeling, would help you to fill this out.

      Perhaps your feelings tell you that something in one of your relationships requires further attention. Following the next exercise is another called Relational Review. It will help you process specific interpersonal experiences, and clarify where you go from here.

    A step by step method for clarifying the meaning of a feeling so as to make a well informed choice what to do with its energy.

    Awareness + Choice = Personal Power

    EXPERIENCE -------------- UNDERSTAND -------------------- CHOOSE
    What’s happening?           What does it mean to me?           What do I do?

    Choose any feeling from the synonyms provided earlier, and reflect upon a specific experience of this feeling.

    1. Body: What am I aware of inside my body? How is the energy moving?
    2. Impulse: What do I feel like doing? If no thought held me back, what do I imagine myself doing?
    3. Meaning: What does my feeling tell me about what’s at stake for me? How is my relationship to what I care about affected?
    4. Options: What are the ways I might choose to express this feeling? What words and/or actions would identify the meaning of this feeling for me?
    5. Intention: What do I want to have happen as a result of my choice of expression of this feeling?
    6. Choice: I decide how to express (or keep private) the feeling.
    7. Learning: What happens as a result of my choice? How is my relationship to whatever I care about affected? What do I learn? What would I do differently next time?

    This exercise helps you explore specific relationships in terms of the interactive experience of the Mutuality therein. There is much of value to be learned by following these steps with regard to significant relationships during formative years (mother, father, teachers, religious leaders), as well as with regard to important friendships, past and present.

    Choose one specific relationship and reflect on your experience of it using the following questions. Repeat with regard to any relationship that has been important to you.

    1. Sharing:
      In what way was the co-operation between yourself and the other(s) invigorating at specific times during the course of the relationship? How much did you allow yourself to notice and value the collaboration?
    2. Balance of Justice and Injustice:
      Identify specific events where your experience of the relationship supported the fairness of your interaction with a significant other. Do the same with regard to unfairness.

      1. What do you learn about the impact of your experiences of Justice and Injustice upon your ability to sustain agreements with the other? What supported or prevented the agreements from lasting, or being formed at all?
      2. What patterns do you notice in the relationship over time? Did Fairness or Unfairness predominate at certain times, or even throughout most of the relationship?
      3. What relational experiences, in your personal history, have led to the patterns you are noticing in this relationship?
      4. What do you learn about yourself in terms of how attentive you are to Justice (fairness), and what you might do to cultivate more of it?
      5. What do you learn about yourself in terms of how attentive and responsive you are to Injustice (unfairness)? How might you more productively engage with it so that it becomes even more helpful in collaborating with this significant other?
    3. Balance of Appreciate and Contribute:
      Identify specific events where your experience of the relationship allowed you to Appreciate the other’s contribution. Do the same with regard to ways that you were able to Contribute in a way that supported your agreements with the other.

      1. How did you allow the other to be a Leader, and what was it that you were able to Appreciate? How did this receptivity support your co-operation with the other?
      2. How were you able to Contribute something valuable to the collaboration? How did this support your agreements?
      3. How did your clarity about appreciating and contributing help to keep the boundary clear as to what was you and what was the other? How is a clear boundary important to supporting your agreements?
      4. What do you learn about how comfortable you are in allowing yourself to slow down enough to let in what the other has to offer?
      5. What do you learn about how comfortable you are in allowing your energy to quicken in order to take the risk of making available what you have to contribute?
    4. Unfinished Business:
      Now take time to reflect on what there is in this relationship that requires further attention.

      1. What is the overall impact of the relationship upon your Mutuality, your ability to continue being open to your experiences in a way that supports your co-operation with yourself and with the other?
      2. What patterns do you notice that you would like to change? Are these changes specific to this relationship, or related to how you are in many relationships? How will you go about making the changes?
      3. Would it help to talk this through within this specific relationship? Is there someone else with whom you might consult?
      4. What else occurs to you that, if you followed through on it, would deepen your ability to be Mutual with this other?

    A way to stay current with what is happening for me in any significant relationship, to learn about myself, and to take what I’ve learned back into the relationship.

    I use a meditation exercise to get my awareness centered. Then I spend time remembering what happened in recent memory. I choose one specific experience that involves my Mutuality in relationship with another person, an experience where further reflection might help me to learn about myself.


      I write a description of the relational event I have chosen, identifying what actually happened, in terms of what I observed outside myself (Sensing), as well as what happened inside me (Thinking and Feeling). I write this as a story, including all the information that has value in understanding what happened.
    2. REFLECT

      • How am I feeling right now, as I begin to write this review? How do I understand this feeling?
      • How does the interpersonal event described above represent a pattern in my way of relating? (Situation … Organism … Response … Consequences).
      • What are the roots of this pattern? Where does it come from in my history?
      • What else have I learned about myself?
      • How do I understand myself in relationship to the significant other in the current interpersonal event?
      • What impressions have I formed about the other? What have I come to notice in terms of their personality, personal characteristics, behavior patterns?
      • How am I feeling toward this other as a result of this event?
    3. DECIDE

      • How do I take what I've learned here back into the relationship? What is my intention? What will I actually do?
      • How am I feeling now as I end this review? How do I understand this feeling?


    Steps in tending it well.

    Accept It.

    • I am angry now.
    • Listen to my body. Identify what's happening (e.g. heart racing, face flush, breathing faster, energy surge, tight fists . . .)
    • Listen to my impulse, what I feel like doing (e.g. punching, yelling, name calling, whatever . . .)

    Think it.

    • Before acting on it, think about what it means.
    • When I feel it building, before acting out, stop and think.
    • Count to 10. Take time out. Walk away. Come back to it when I’m ready, if it's worth it.
    • What do I care about that is threatened or hurt? Get to the source.
      (e.g. self-respect, fairness, cherished belief, whatever. . .)

    Express it.

    • If I have pent up intensity, find a non-destructive way to discharge it
      (e.g. take a fast walk, hit a punching bag, pound a pillow, yell at the lake, in a forest, whatever . . . as long at it's safe)
    • Talk it out with someone with whom I’m not angry.
    • Decide how I can constructively address what needs to change. Take the action I want in the way that is true to my intention.

    Let it go.

    • Once I've done what you can to change things, let the anger go.
    • Even if I haven't been able to change things, let the anger go.
    • Do deep breathing. On each exhale, imagine gravity drawing the anger into the earth. Find calm.
    • Accept what I cannot change. Grieve the loss. Feel the sadness.


    • How do I avoid responsibility by letting the “more capable ones” handle it?
    • What do I assume that others can't handle? How do I expect very little of them?
    • How do "shoulds" and judgments about selfless or selfish get in my way?
    • What do I force myself to do for others that I'm secretly angry about or resent?
    • In what ways do I end up not following through on a commitment?
    • What happens when I catch others not living up to my unvoiced expectations?
    • What subtle ways do I have of chastising or censuring others?
    • What is happening when I go along with things that I really don't agree with?
    • How do I act as the hero, taking care of everything to save others the trouble?
    • How do I make myself responsible for the pleasure, pain, fear, or anger of others?
    • How do I make sure that others get their way?
    • What do I always/never do to avoid criticism?
    • How does doing what others want keep me from getting what I want?
    • How do I act as I think others might expect?
    • What am I afraid of if I do something that displeases another?
    • How do I try to prove that I'm right, and/or impose my way?
    • What do I do to try and impress others?
    • How does self-doubt limit my options? How do I prematurely give up on myself?
    • How do I keep myself overwhelmed and unable to contribute?
    • How do I operate on my own so that others won't let me down?
    • How do I act in ways to insure that conflict does not arise?
    • How do I defer responsibility to the authority or to the more capable others?

  10. Mutuality: Here’s How!
    Growing into the fullness of Mutuality is quite a challenge. It means engaging in a wide range of behaviors that support the reciprocity of the relationship. What follows is a description of these behaviors. The more of these behaviors in which you engage in any particular relationship, the more mutual is that relationship.

    • Self-Awareness
    • I am open to my experience within the relationship.
    • I actively reflect on my experience in order to understand myself better.
    • I explore current patterns and past experience in my interpersonal style.
    • I am the expert on what is true for me.
    • Self-Disclosure
    • I decide what I disclose and what I keep private.
    • I speak for myself, from within my own frame of reference.
    • I disclose genuinely: what I say matches my inner experience.
    • I am direct in making my needs and wants known to you.
    • I take the initiative to talk with you about my experience of our relationship.
    • Listening
    • I listen with care and respect to whatever you have to say.
    • I regularly communicate my understanding of what you are saying.
    • I work at a deeper understanding of you, beyond just your words.
    • I attempt to communicate this deeper understanding to you.
    • Balance
    • I keep the depth of my disclosure in proximity to yours.
    • I equitably share the decision making authority with you.
    • I maintain a relative balance of disclosing myself and listening to you.
    • Feelings
    • I am attentive to, accept, and decide what to do with my feelings.
    • I am attentive to, accept, and let you decide what to do with your feelings.
    • I make significant feelings available to the relationship.
    • Boundaries
    • I maintain clarity about what is you, and what is me.
    • I do not hold either of us responsible for the other's feelings.
    • I do not expect either of us to protect the other from the painful truth.
    • I do not presume to be the judge of your experience.
    • I let my judgments about you tell me about myself.


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