I admit I am not the best cook. It’s a skill I never mastered. Even if I follow a recipe exactly, it never looks like the picture nor tastes as the superior adjectives in the description tells me it should. Then, there is the bonus of the smoke alarm. I can’t make chocolate chip pancakes for my kids without that damn thing blaring. The modern one in my new house goes beyond the ear-piercing hoo-ha. It actually talks to me – “F-I-R-E,” it jangles in the most monotone, moderated Siri-like voice. As if I don’t know what the fuck it is. 

“Shut-up!” I retort, stooping to having a realistic dialogue with technology. I know I can’t cook. I don’t need some loud shame-filled reminder.

So, I grab a chair. Wave a rag. Open windows. Turn on a fan. Rip out the batteries. Anything to just get the noise to stop. 

And, that obnoxious fanfare might be saving my life. After all, it is only doing its job. Telling me that there might be a fire in my house. That me and my family need to get out. And, we all know that when I’m in the kitchen, a deadly fire is a real possibility.

Emotions are that way too. They are there to serve the purpose of getting our attention before the whole house goes up in smoke. Something is not right in our personal house and we need to stop, notice and fix it. 

But often, like a real smoke detector, we just want the thing to shut-up. Stop feeling. Ignore the noise. Go away. I’m not listening. There isn’t an actual fire in the house – so we tell ourselves. Leave me alone, we say to our pesky emotions. You are a nuisance. Be quiet and go away.

And, feelings are just doing their job. They are not broken but rather, they are functioning perfectly. Serving a purpose as to share information of our full aliveness. If we ignore them, the fire will grow. They will get as big as they need to in order to grab our attention and they will not disappear until the issue is extinguished. Because, somewhere in us,a fire is burning and ignoring its presence could be fatal. 

So, embrace your feelings as your ally. Keep the batteries updated. Stop and listen when they talk to you. Better a false alarm than scorched earth. Commit to being a wise owner of your one beautiful mansion. 

For the rise of your life …