What I can feel makes me feel alive, it allows me to participate in what is happening around me, and it gives me direction for my path.
My son, Christian Corona, gave me the Gefühlsmonster® cards as an invaluable gift. These cards really unleashed my scientific curiosity. After 17 years of using the cards in their current form I can honestly say that they are an exceptionally helpful tool for initiating conversations about feelings, with ease. During challenging situations they also help to understand oneself better and to get back into a functional state more quickly. My professional career encompasses (instructing) mediation and now consultanting for individuals and organizations. In these roles, the Gefühlsmonsters have become increasingly important to me. They have inspired me to thoroughly explore how to manage feelings, both for my clients and for myself.
We can cope with all of our emotions using self-determination. We can determine which feelings have to do with ourselves, with our past experiences, and with the present moment. This gives us the freedom not to let difficult feelings limit us or stop us from doing what we think is right and important.
A conscious and reflective approach to feelings leads us to welcome all feelings. We accept feelings associated with unpleasant experiences as helpful. We notice them, take the time to feel them physically (instead of dwelling on thoughts about the feeling), allowing them to express themselves completely—and then let them go.
We perceive consiously the emotions associated with pleasant experiences, moving into the physical experience and taking the time to prolong them, to feel it throughout the body. By doing so, we achieve to balance that tendency of our brain to take difficult experiences too seriously.
Exercising these conscious positive feelings is a requirement for developing resilience.
A few words about my background:
The generation before me – and unfortunately the generations of those currently experiencing war – had to, and still have to limit themselves to survival.
“Where will we end up if everyone is constantly thinking about how they feel?” my father replied to my youthful attempts to strike out in new directions.
In retrospect, I unerringly took a path to my feelings.
Since I “didn’t know what I wanted” but had inherited discipline and perseverance from my parents, I studied what I was good at: Mathematics and Physical Education. I became a teacher. I worked part – time, because I had three children in the 12 years of my teaching carrier. It was only after a breakdown in 1994 and subsequent early retirement, that I was able to look back and see which part of being a teacher had given me deep satisfaction: getting to know the students in their diversity and bringing them together as a group. This is what I valued most, while the part of my job giving “fair” grades and intellectually guiding my students to graduation while my children were home with a high fever made me sick.
It took me a while to recognize that this was not a “failure” on my part. I had not yet learned to look at what brings me joy and satisfaction. Once I achieved this, I noticed that my subject matter was successful communication amongst diverse people.
Exciting studies began. During a school project with my colleague, Margot Wichniarz, the idea for the Gefühlsmonsters was born (more about the story here – Video with subtitles in English). Process-oriented psychology excited me with its new tools that I learned from Arnold Mindell and many other teachers of process work in the connection of quantum theory and Jungian psychology. It also excited me that I could meet people from all over the world at these courses and that I could use my language skills. My mediation training gave me the tools to talk in a way that others felt understood and not judged.
What thrills me is to summarize interesting research in a concise form, to do this in such a way that it can be easily understood and put into practice. This has resulted in my book “Sometimes Feelings are Monsters”, in which I have summarized everything helpful that I have learned in my personal and professional experiences about dealing well with one’s own feelings.
The most important tools to help us deal with feelings, that I have developed in the years of using the Gefühlsmonster, I have summarized in the book “Leading With Empathy”. More tools are emerging everywhere from the people who use the cards. This is a great joy for me.