Library Archive #26

The Tao of Emotional IQ

Empowering the genuine you.

If I am walking a path that is empowering me, I feel it is a gift to share. And, I have experienced a journey that I feel can be of benefit to others, in different ways, unique to whomever wants to listen.

And, I found a path out of a very messy existence.

My life was upside down — an existential conundrum, just one-step away from total disintegration. The fact that I am sitting here writing this, is indicative of this personal growth — leaps and bounds from where I was in a not-too-distant past.

Now, brazing the world of the online publishing platforms furthers my personal growth. It challenge me on this path to be vulnerable and authentic, with integrity.I now refrain from making any decision (professionally or personally) unless I do so with a calm mind, careful reflection, awareness and understanding. But, my journey to this point has been challenging in every way possible.

Finding a state of holistic well-being can be difficult for even the most wise and steadfast individuals among us. As sentient beings, we have the capacity to feel, experience and perceive, subjectively. Plus, we have the capacity for rational thinking. This is great, when they are in balance.

There is a matrix of energies..

In the Tao, yin-yang forces of energy are two opposites that are actually supposed to compliment each other. The Tao is referred to as an entity, a path and a method. Someone could have described me as one who ‘lacks the Tao’.

According to Taoism, everything has both yin and yang. The ‘taijitu’ symbol reflects this universal energy system as an indivisible whole.

Additionally, the yin-yang moves from you to your environment in (what should be) a balancing, mutual exchange system.

balancing the matrix

Naturally we need our energy systems to be in balance. If it is not, we become unhealthy: physically, socially, emotionally, psychologically or spiritually.

Further, it makes sense that our connections with the natural world also suffer in this lack of homeostasis between natural interdependent parts.

Taoism is about acceptance, letting go of judgment and being open to new possibilities. The Tao suggests that we drop the struggle, smile more, and work with nature’s inherent stabilizing system.

Prior to my ‘stopping-my-life-as-it-was’ not-so-many-years ago, my path could have been presented as a downward-trending line graph (image A). This is what I call my own personal, psychological, emotional and spiritual chaosComplete disorder and confusion is how the online dictionary defines chaos — very apropos for the part of my path in red.

image a

My line chart now would show more of an upward growth trend (see image B) with setbacks and out-right failures. I accept these as part of my life but I work with them rather than bury them

Central to my philosophy of life is accepting that this will always be the case. I am committed to continue to learn and grow.

image b

Chaos was my life as a confused emotional sponge

I am a sponge, when it comes to my emotional world. But, now I see it and accept it for what it is. In retrospect, I can see that this ‘being-an-emotion-sponge’ began at a very young age.

From my earliest memories, I absorbed all emotions around me as though they were mine. In the company of others, who weren’t actually, verbally, sharing their thoughts and emotions, I learned to translate behaviours to find the message that lay beneath.

Tones of voices, eye movements, and gestures were all part of the fodder for my personal emotional radar inventory. Before I understood what intuition and empathy was, I used rational thinking as my filter for translation.This meant I deflated them immediately as indicative that I was weak or wrong.

Emotional energies had no place in that way of life. Depression loomed large in this repressed conundrum.

I remember being depressed so young — a pattern that habitually fed into a life of thinking that this was normal — my normal. But, it was an ineffable feeling for which I had no words to describe or properly deal with.

I was just so damned sad. All the time. But, like many comedians, my cover story was to be funny. The life of the party. I had lots of friends. But, I felt increasingly more alone with people than without. Nothing made sense. Everything felt wrong. My connections within and around me were all out of kilter.

the ‘happy’ facade

Yet, I pushed through all of this with a facade of personal well-being. Academically, professional and personally, I was a success story.

In addition to presenting a ‘happy’, ‘jovial’ facade, I worked extremely hard, at everything. I was a walking/talking machine looking for someone outside of me to tell me I was ok.Type A+A+ academically, personally, socially and professionally.Physically, I dove into long distance running to manage the very high anxiety levels that went hand-in-hand with this life style.

When the facade started to disintegrate, I used flight as my go-to remedy. This of course, solved nothing. It only created a domino affect of an exponentially expanding list of failures. It was a helix-shaped intertwining of emotional illiteracy, depression, anxiety, existential angst, personal and profession fails and falls.

Yet, I still didn’t stop to really examine my life. I just kept moving and repressing everything. Occasionally, I would stop briefly to go to the doctor who offered anti-depressants. But, those quick fixes never stuckThey weren’t addressing the core problem.

watch out for the inner voice of oppression

I have heard that the worst oppressor of the mind, emotions and soul is yourself. Don’t get me wrong. I know there are horrible situations of people being oppressed by others. That can be pure evil.

When we are emotional literate, have strong voices and are balanced in our rational-emotional sentient state of being, we are empowered to better stand-tall against external oppressors. Otherwise, we just double-down on oppression — coming from outside and within.

In my own experiences, professionally and personally, I know that now to be true and how to deal with it in a more balanced, constructive way. (Read Viktor Frankl’s book, Search for Meaning, to get a foundational take on this.)

Emotional starvation

I was emotionally starving although I didn’t know this for most of my life. Emotions were not a language spoken when I was growing up. Ironic that someone who has such a strong connection to the emotions of others, could, in fact, be starving, emotionally and spiritually. That is because the connections were not properly processed.

Another irony was that I did my masters degree in self-esteem development in education. I researched the theory driven by the felt-sense that I wanted/needed to ensure the students/others had a learning environment that best nurtured their self-awareness and emotional well-being — building confident voices of the future.

Then, later, came my very own #metoo moment. Without the inner strength I have now achieved, I was a sitting duck. It almost blew out the candle of my life once and for all.

This last ‘straw’ (more like an avalanche) that almost broke this ‘camel’s back’.This Humpty came tumbling down. It all stopped. No more flight. I was frozen, almost literally. And, it became the most significant watershed, turning-point, final-notice of my life.

Lock-down mode

I have always been a writer, but when this happen that became pretty much all I did. I would walk for hours listening to audio philosophy books. Then I would write and walk some more.

There was no going back to the way it was. My intentions were clear — finally. Simple but definitive. Not a single step forward unless it felt intuitively right.

Now, only with mindful contemplation, do I edit my genuine set of world views or personal beliefs, accordingly. Energy in, energy out.

Keeping the ‘tableau rasa’ as clean from clutter as possible is essential to healthIn doing so, my mind is more clear so I process energies with greater fluidity. My voice and productivity better reflect my cognitive and creative potentials.

Embracing my inner ‘empath’ as a gift

Until I embraced the genuine me, holistically, I continued to exist in that very dense fog. I gradually realized that intuition, emotions, empathy, compassion and my soul were important parts of my identity.

We are all, in fact, enmeshed in a sea of emotional energies. Some people are more perceptive, open-minded, receptive, and in-touch with this stream of energy than are others. Even if we are so very aware, we need to understand that everyone is different and that will be conveyed at work and at play.

Emotional literacy is about consciously recognizing, understanding and accepting this flow of emotional energies. And, it is about having building an understanding and realization of your emotional IQ — a language and a voice for communicating, perceiving and connecting effectively.

7 Chakras: physical guides for building emotional IQ

In terms of the 7 chakras or energy fields, I now recognize I was very ‘stuck’, holistically and in each field of energy. Below I have listed the chakras with the positive emotions associated with them. When they are blocked opposite emotions such as fear and anger in the heart chakra might be present.

7 ~ Crown Chakra ~ feel empowered, calm, valued

6 ~ Third Eye Chakra ~ inner vision, empathetic, focused; can see delusion and truth

5 ~Throat Chakra ~ strong voice, communicate needs, decision making

4 ~ Heart Chakra ~ the energy centre which neutralizing emotions such as compassion and joy

3 ~ Solar Plexus Chakra ~ self-esteem, personal power, confidence, assertiveness

2 ~ Sacral Chakra ~ brave, passionate, creative, outgoing, energetic

1 ~ Root Chakra ~ being grounded, strong survival instincts, securely rooted to the physical world, connected in a positive way with the earth/nature

working with empathy

The problem with ‘picking up the vibes’, I realize now, is not the fact that it is a weakness, but rather, in mis-managing it and not realizing it as a strength.

I pay attention to thoughts and feelings that arise. I observe — not over-think — them. I do not own them unless I am sure they are a good energy fit. And they certainly do not own me. The ones that fit, I decide how to integrate them or I just let it flow.

I don’t fuse my identity to it but I take heed and consider, why. Pay attention, observe and let it go — drop the rope.

Listening to emotions, physical sensations and thoughts.

Below I have included some pictures. Spend a moment looking at each of the pictures I have included below.

What is the first feeling (mind and body) and thought, that comes to mind, instantaneously? Be completely honest with yourself and sit with the thought, feeling and emotion.

Whatever you feel it is important to listen. It is telling you something. I have learned to pay attention and trust this.

The first image is what is called a Rorschach test or inkblot psychological test. The subject’ perceptions of inkblots are interpreted. And, it’s also fun art activity if you are so inclined.

Reflect, mindfully to thoughts, emotions and physical sensations….maybe write it down.

Reflect, mindfully to thoughts, emotions and physical sensations….maybe write it down.

Reflect, mindfully to thoughts, emotions and physical sensations….maybe write it down.

Reflect, mindfully to thoughts, emotions and physical sensations….maybe write it down.

Reflect, mindfully to thoughts, emotions and physical sensations….maybe write it down.

Reflect, mindfully to thoughts, emotions and physical sensations….maybe write it down.


Reflect, mindfully to thoughts, emotions and physical sensations….maybe write it down.


Build your intentions that will orient you along your path. Without an intentional mindset and strong emotional IQ, I couldn’t possible navigate my way towards a personal and professional balanced state of Tao. I build this by expanding my knowledge, understanding and creative thinking.

Embrace these wholeheartedly as an essential part of your core value system and your energy flow within and with the world improves. Choose your own and stick to them, ‘grit-fully’ personal and professional growth, productively, and healthy living.

William Blake wrote about emotional energies, imagination and rationality all fitting into this paradigm shifting process.

love and harmony combine

and around our souls intertwine

whole they branches mix with mind

and our roots together join

We are connected in a Tao container of energy. Subtle shifts in the way we see ourselves can expand our loftiest goals and dreams. Energy in. Energy out. This is the balance and ultimate connection we have with everything.

In embracing this philosophy, I am working steadily through the process of healing, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually. It is an empowering series of awakenings.

Namasté, Leah

© 2019 Leah J, M.Ed. Psychology writer/artist/teacher
The ART of Living the Matrix

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Photos courtesy of Unsplash and source.