meta . . . referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential [Google’s “define: meta”]
Metacognition is thinking about thinking. Metadata is data about data. Meta-joke is joking about jokes. Meta-discussion is discussion about discussion. And then there is meta-emotion: emotion about emotion. Whew.
This past week, I was listening to a friend who was needing to take care of some personal business that involved a massive amount of emotional energy. It set me to remembering some of my rather spectacular meta-emotional experiences from the past. She shared what she was feeling and what was compelling her to move forward in her life in this particular relationship. As we talked, I sensed a thickening layer of doubt and dread and uncertainty blanketing her true emotions.
It was as if there were a miasma of other emotions fogging in and layering on top of her Truth. Feelings of fear and awkwardness and regret and . . .. I had to stop her and ask: What are you really truly feeling? What is the bottom-line feeling that is motivating you to act? What is it that you truly want?
It made me think of what I call some of life’s Liver Moments. I once read that the liver is composed of sheets of tissue that are extraordinarily connective. That it is a mass of layers that is seemingly impossible to sew up and repair. Insert suture. Oops. That might not have been such a good idea. Try again in a new spot. Nope, not there. Oops, the needle just messed that area up. Yikes. Now there is a bigger mess to repair.
You get the idea. Whether this is true in the anatomical and surgical sense in the life of a human liver, I don’t know. I have not researched the anatomy adequately . . . I read of this in reference to damaged connections and irreparable relationships, so I suspect it is possible that the author was stretching his or her simile a bit. Trying to fix things sometimes makes a muck of things. We sometimes believe in the possibility of healing when trying to re-connect. To repair and to heal.
But still. There is always the possibility that certain situations are not destined to be patched up like new. In some relationships, some things are pretty tough to doctor up. Things are done or not done. Words are spoken or not spoken. I love yous are rat-holed in some cubby of the heart. Patience is discarded. Kindness is ignored. Offense is taken. Affection is withheld. Green-eyed envy establishes residence. Fear dominates. Once that suture goes in, over and over again in an attempt to gain some purchase, maybe it is time to take a step back. Allow the whole thing to breathe for a bit. Let the liver have some healing time. Move in a new direction. Stop, drop, and roll.
There have certainly been times when I have really complicated things by embracing and nurturing some serious meta-emotion. Emoting about emotions. Feelings to the exponential square. I have blanketed emotion upon emotion to the point of suffocating my true feelings. I was no longer capable of recognizing the core emotion that I was trying to cover up with rational thought. When finding myself in an emotional sticky wicket, it seems that I always want to know the outcomes well in advance .
Today. Am I any wiser in the ways of meta-emotion? I don’t know. Occasions occur, and I sometimes allow an emotional hijacking to occur. I go to that place — that blind — that camouflages reality. I indulge myself by making something bigger than it is. Still. There are also those times when I take care of my true emotions and allow them to speak to me in a voice that is much louder than a whisper. I choose real-time life over what could have been . . . what could be.
This is powerful. I can be such a hard-driven optimist at times, I completely ignore all of the true and real signs that are directing or mis-directing me in life. High performance optimism has rewarded me so well. But it has also steered me wrong. I sometimes must caution myself to not always see how things can be. My life lesson: Be aware of meta-optimism: optimistic about optimism.
The ultimate meta life lesson for me? Aim for Meta-Living: living about living. Life as a self-referential entity and referring to the conventions of its genre. Not fighting the Now. Being in the moment. Embracing Now. Setting aside the suture and letting the liver heal and move on without relying on blind and extraordinary optimism as an intervention. Removing the blankets of emotions that suffocate my soul’s origin. Allowing my happiness to breathe.
My present moment? I embrace and subscribe to the state of meta-happy: happy about happiness. So much more fun! And so much more real when I allow my emotions, my thoughts, my dreams, my goals, my life’s work to guide me into the conventions of my own happy creativity. For this and for the people in my life who make my life so much bigger and more wonderful, I feel an abundance of appreciation and gratitude.