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 first Cycle, Trust

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


Calm is the receptive ease of the Receiver: pleasure in simply being present to what is happening, letting it be what it is. When I’m calm I open myself to whatever enters my awareness, allowing myself to become absorbed with it. I naturally slow down to let the carefree pleasure fill me, however ordinary or unusual the Source. I am attuned to this moment, to what is being given to me right now. I let it in.

Synonyms for Calm: content, secure, relaxed, serene, tranquil, peaceful, composed, relieved, refreshed, revitalized, comfortable, quiet, cozy, settled, cradled, held, snug, carefree.


Hurt is the receptive distress of the Receiver. When I allow myself to feel Hurt, I limit my Distress by letting it pass. When pain holds my attention, I need to allow my body to soften so that the comfort I need becomes available. Then I am able to discover the letting go that the Hurt requires. I breathe and release my fear of the pain. I breathe and discontinue whatever tightening up against the pain is happening. I breathe into my powerlessness, letting the pain have its way. I give in to it.

Synonyms for Hurt: pain, distressed, miserable, uncomfortable, suffering, ill, aching, injured, agony, sick, afflicted, tired, wearing down, weary, harmed, wounded, worn out, exhausted, zonked.


Fury is the expressive distress of the Source. Fury is the movement of energy to bring a threat to an end. Something needs to change, immediately! This threat to my physical, emotional, or spiritual well being cannot continue. My ability to Trust, to stay present to what is happening, is in danger. I must protect the continuity of my awareness. Whatever I find intolerable must be brought to an end. I am experiencing profound protective energy. I let it out.

Synonyms for Fury:  fearful, terrified, wailing, screaming, disconsolate, exploding, mad, wild, restless, bothered, angry, uncomfortable, appalled, enraged, disgusted, shocked, frantic, agitated, upset, hysterical, panicky, worked up, crying out, fierce, furious, intense, appalled, alarmed, threatened, violent.


Glee is the expressive ease of the Source. Glee opens the Source to make available to another the delight of the moment. It invites reciprocity, drawing the other into an exchange that sustains and builds the enjoyment. Who knows how wonderful this could get! How long might it last? There is no predicting or controlling what is happening or where the moment might lead. There is purely this shared pleasure with a life of its own. I go with it!

Synonyms for Glee: delight, glowing, thrilled, merry, excited, enthused, captivated, cheerful, elated, joyous, enthusiastic, ecstatic, glad, hypnotized, fun, vibrant, awed, fascinated, infatuated, elated, light-hearted, exhilarated, buoyant, vivacious, animated, bubbly, effervescent, energetic, invigorated, lively, turned-on, amazed, astonished, surprised, happy, delirious, pleased.

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

    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.

    Awareness Following a Feeling Through its Cycle

    1. Finding
      From the previous list, identify a specific feeling that you would like to explore.
    2. Anchoring
      Call to mind a time when you have felt or would feel this emotion.
             (Note that this could be a past event, something that has happened,
             or a possible event, something that might happen. You may also
             choose a recent event whose feeling you want to clarify.)

      Be present in the event as if it were happening right now.
             (Where are you? What are the surroundings? What do you see?
             What do you hear? Who are you with? What is happening?
             Who is doing what? What do you do? What is said?) BE THERE!

      Repeat, if necessary, with one or more other events until you can:
    3. Locating
      Notice where the feeling is inside your body.
      Be attentive to whatever is happening there.
             (Don't do anything. Don't try to change anything. Don’t think anything.) Just observe the feeling.
    4. Breathing
      Simply allow your breath to connect with the feeling.
      Feel what happens as the inhale and exhale flow through.
      Let your breath be the carrier wave for this feeling.
             (Don't do anything. Don't try to change anything. Don’t think anything.)
    5. Releasing
      Thinking will take you away from feeling.
      Let go of any thought; return to the feeling.
      If you lose the feeling, return to imagined events, recover the feeling.
    6. Riding
      Stay with the feeling in your body as it ebbs and flows.
      Let it come naturally to its own fullness, and pass when it is ready.
      Allow your body to do whatever is natural to the flow of the feeling.
             (Do this in whatever way you are comfortable, is natural to you.
             Drop your judgments about the right way, how you should(n't) do this.)
    7. Reflecting
      What did you learn about yourself and this particular feeling?
      What are you going to do with what you've learned?
    8. Praying
      What might you add to, or notice in your experience of, each of the above steps, that would support your awareness of your relationship with the divine?

    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?
      What might you add to, or notice in your experience of, each of the above steps, that would support your awareness of your relationship with the divine?

      **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.

  4. CORE EMOTIONS: further reflection

    1. CALM: I am in the quiet pleasure of the moment.

      • If I track my feelings for a week, how often and for how long do I find myself feeling Calm? How often and for how long do I allow myself a carefree presence to what is happening in the present moment?
      • What are the beliefs (self-talk) that get in the way of my feeling Calm? How do I talk myself out of the value of slowing down to be absorbed with whatever is happening? What negative judgments do I have about simply being present to what is being given in the moment?
      • When I am having a moment of Calm, 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?
      • How intentional am I about spending time opening myself to whatever enters my awareness? What methods have I found that help me to simply be present (e.g. meditation, mindfulness, relaxation, yoga, Tai Chi, listening to music, etc.)?
      • What might you add to, or notice in your experience of, each of the above questions, that would support your awareness of your relationship with the divine?
    2. HURT: I am letting go so that the pain may pass.

      • How willing am I to listen to my pain when I am feeling it? To allow it to teach me what I need to learn? Might I try just sitting, breathing with, and listening to the pain to see what it has to say to me? What do I need to let go?
      • How quick am I to medicate my pain? How convinced am I that I must make it go away or it will continue to get worse? What are the roots of my belief that pain is intolerable, or at least unnecessary?
      • How stoically do I refuse to acknowledge pain? How convinced am I that it is just an annoyance, a distraction, something that has power over the weak? How much do I consider pain to be shameful, even humiliating if it is allowed to show?
      • How much am I afraid of pain? And how much does this fear make my pain worse? If I pay attention to myself when I am experiencing pain, emotional or physical, how much do I notice myself tensing up against the pain?
      • How often do I avoid experiences that I anticipate might be painful? What might such avoidance be costing me? What moments of potential growth have I shut down because I was avoiding the pain? How much of my life is going unlived, how much potential unfulfilled because I automatically avoid possible pain?
      • What experiences have I had of a compassionate other, someone willing and able to be with me when I was hurting, in a way that helped the pain to pass? Who do I have in my life at this time to whom I can turn when in pain? Might I need to seek out this resource so that I can relearn how to let go of my pain?
      • What might you add to, or notice in your experience of, each of the above questions, that would support your awareness of your relationship with the divine?

        (Note: following these reflection questions is a practice called Sifting that can help you to be present to the experience of pain so that it may pass.)
    3. FURY: I am bringing this danger to an end!

      • If I pay attention to my experiences for a week, how often am I in situations where I feel threatened? Physically? Emotionally? Spiritually? How often am I in experiences that are so threatening I do not allow myself to stay fully present and aware? How do I escape from the intolerable when it is happening?
      • If I look back over moments when I was feeling 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?
      • What experiences have I had that have led me to distrust my own self-protective energy? 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? And/or, how fiercely am I determined to be the one who causes the pain, rather than the one that gets hurt?
      • What might you add to, or notice in your experience of, each of the above questions, that would support your awareness of your relationship with the divine?
    4. GLEE: I am flowing with delight!

      • How do I cultivate experiences where the exhilaration of the moment is shared with others? How often am I having fun in my current life?
      • If I pay attention to my experiences for a week or two, how frequent and how long lasting are the times when I am engaged with another or others in an activity that sustains an enthusiastic exchange?
      • How comfortable am I with spontaneous play? 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? How often do I rain on my own parade?
      • How willing am I to join in with others when they have initiated the play? 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 much am I afraid of getting excited? How much do I expect that someone or something will come along to spoil it? Or that the free wheeling fun will lead to something bad?
      • What might you add to, or notice in your experience of, each of the above questions, that would support your awareness of your relationship with the divine?

    This practice is to provide a comforting way of being with the experience of pain so that it may pass. It is the practice of compassion with oneself.


      • Spend a little time becoming conscious of the space within your body. Begin with a simple bodyscan, starting with your feet. Notice places that are tense, in pain (discomfort), or numb (lacking awareness). Connect the flow of your breath so that you are noticing ever more clearly where the tension, pain, or lack of feeling lies.
      • Choose one particular internal location upon which to focus awareness. Continue following your breath and noticing what the energy is like in the area of concern. Simply notice whatever you notice. Don't try to change anything.
      • While maintaining awareness around the area of concern, begin to slowly and steadily allow your breathing to deepen. Let the soft flow of your breath brush up against the edges of the tension or pain. Allow the softness of your breath to flow all around the area. Do not try to make anything happen. Simply allow breath to flow softly where it may.

      • Stay with your breath, allowing the softening to continue, even as you let an image of a safe place come to you. Visualize yourself in a place that is entirely yours, that you can now make just as you need it to be, so that you can be perfectly safe there. Make it so the time of day, the season of the year, the quality of your surroundings, the sights and sounds are just right for you at this moment. You are giving yourself a wonderfully comforting place to be with your pain. Return now to allowing your breath to gradually soften the inner place where your pain is held.
    3. HEALER:

      • When you are ready, begin to imagine that a Healer is coming to join you, someone with whom you can continue to feel completely safe. This person is someone strong enough, wise enough, and loving enough to be able to be with you in just the way that you need. Allow the Healer to be present to you in the way that perfectly helps you to soften completely as you breathe through feeling the pain. Let your body mold into whatever is supporting you. Each time you breathe out, choose to soften and let go ever more completely. Your pain is steadily passing.

      • What might you add to, or notice in your experience of, each of the above steps, that would support your awareness of your relationship with the divine?

    Now that you have given yourself some familiarity with the Core Emotions of Trust, 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 Trust 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 simply being present to what is happening. Recall as many of the details as help each event to become real once again. Watch for any forms of these feelings: Calm, Hurt, Fury, Glee. Pause to acknowledge and honor your feelings, one at a time.
    3. 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, and the openness of your awareness. 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.
      What might you add to, or notice in your experience of, each of the above steps, that would support your awareness of your relationship with the divine?

    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?
    8. Spirituality: What might you add to, or notice in your experience of, each of the above steps, that would support your awareness of your relationship with the divine?

    This exercise helps you explore specific relationships in terms of the interactive experience of the Trust therein. There is much of value to be learned by following these steps with regard to significant relationships with authority 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. Connection:
      In what way was the connection 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 interaction?
    2. Balance of Ease and Distress:
      Identify specific events where your experience of the relationship supported the ease of your connection with a significant other. Do the same with regard to distress.

      • What do you learn about the impact of your experiences of Ease and Distress upon your ability to stay connected with the other? Upon your ability to go with the flow of what is happening between you?
      • What patterns do you notice in the relationship over time? Did Ease or Distress predominate at certain times, or even throughout most of the relationship?
      • What relational experiences, in your personal history, have led to the patterns you are noticing in this relationship?
      • What do you learn about yourself in terms of how attentive you are to Ease, and what you might do to cultivate more of it?
      • What do you learn about yourself in terms of how attentive and responsive you are to Distress? How might you more productively engage with it so that it becomes even more helpful in connecting with this significant other?
    3. Balance of Receive and Express:
      Identify specific events where your experience of the relationship allowed you to Receive from this other. Do the same with regard to ways that you were able to Express yourself in a way that supported your connection with the other.

      • How did you allow the other to be a Source, and what was it that you were able to Receive? How did this receptivity support your connection with the other?
      • How were you able to Express something of yourself to the other? How did this support your connection?
      • How did your clarity about receiving and expressing help to keep the boundary clear as to what was you and what was the other? How is a clear boundary important to supporting the connection?
      • What do you learn about how comfortable you are in allowing yourself to slow down enough to let in what is coming from the other?
      • What do you learn about how comfortable you are in allowing your energy to quicken in order to take the risk of letting out what is happening inside you?
    4. Unfinished Business:
      Now take time to reflect on what there is in this relationship that requires further attention.

      • What is the overall impact of the relationship upon your Trust, your ability to continue being open to your experiences in a way that supports your connection with yourself and with the other?
      • 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?
      • Would it help to talk this through within this specific relationship? Is there someone else with whom you might consult?
      • What else occurs to you that, if you followed through on it, would deepen your ability to Trust yourself 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 Trust 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?
      • 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?
      What might you add to, or notice in your experience of, each of the above steps, that would support your awareness of your relationship with the divine?
      Look back through your experiences with the above practices. Open your heart, soul, and mind to what you may discover in terms of the following:

      • In what ways have you directly experienced the presence of divinity within your own body?
      • How have you connected with the divine presence in one (or more) other person(s)?
      • Where and how have you experienced your connection with the divine Spirit in your surroundings?
      • If you let Spirit speak to you through these experiences, what do you learn about the meaning of your life, and how do you feel about it?
      • What challenges call you to make changes in your life so as to be more fully alive in Spirit?
      • How do your experiences connect with stories, quotations, wisdom from the faith tradition(s) with which you currently identify?

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