I love the Pixar movie Inside Out. The movie tells the story of Riley Andersen—a happy, hockey-loving Midwestern girl from Minnesota whose world gets turned upside down when her family moves to San Francisco for her father to begin a new business. Riley’s emotions (Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness) guide her on this journey of adjusting to life in California and all the changes this transition brings.
The emotions live in Headquarters (the control center inside her mind) and advise Riley on her words and actions. Though the emotions conflict over how to handle the changes because it ends up that our emotions aren’t always simple. It’s possible to feel the joy of a new adventure and the sadness of leaving behind people we love to begin that new adventure. People can have a complexity of emotions, and Pixar has a remarkable way of conveying this reality that affects everybody through Inside Out. (And don’t even get me started on Bing Bong because that scene gets me every time)!
I was thinking of Inside Out this week for many reasons.
Summer is coming to an end. The new school year is about to begin.
That alone entails plenty of changes and transitions for a great many people.
Some of us are celebrating.
Some of us are grieving.
Some of us are worried.
Some of us are excited.
Though the truth is that on any given day, we might be feeling more than one feeling. Complex emotions (or experiencing basic emotions like joy, fear, anger, disgust, and sadness) are not uncommon after all! It was the Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron who advised people to feel the feelings, drop the story. She said that to encourage people to be present to your internal landscape. We know that life is unpredictable, that we go through highs and lows. Allowing ourselves to feel our feelings (even the hard feelings) is part of the human experience.
May you feel God’s peace, sustaining you through it all.
Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash
Thursday Thoughts 8/25/22