"how are you?", the feelings wheel, and the body

many years ago, i started to notice that i had a tendency to answer “how are you?” questions with a litany of actions. i would answer as if the person had asked me “what have you just done? what are you doing now? what are you about to do?”

when i realized it, i started to check myself on it. i wanted to answer the question people were actually asking me. (of course, then i had my whole revolt against the question itself, but that’s not what this post is about lol). even though i don’t like the question, i still try to answer it, when in the right circumstances, for real. i still fail… often.

some months ago, i started to realize that this way of answering the question was a trend among folks socialized as men. almost without fail, a man would respond with what he was doing rather than describe the state of his being.

as i learned about the divine masculine (doing energy) and the divine feminine (being energy), i made the (somewhat obvious now) link that i/men were redirecting a being question into a doing frame. i also started to think that this pattern potentially had a lot to do our unfamiliarity/discomfort with paying attention to our being.

so i started to, for myself and increasingly for other men, pull up the feelings wheel when answering or listening for an answer to that question.

the feelings wheel source

sidenote: did you know there’s a feelings wheel at feelingswheel.com

what emotion was i feeling at the moment? if i could go straight to the emotion, great. if not, i might start with a doing story and work my way through it to a being answer (a feeling).

honestly, it’s been a game changer. i could write a ton about what effect it’s had but i want to hop one more step forward.

another part of my learning on this edge has been, via adjacency to somatics practitioners, about learning how to location emotions in my body. the belief is that every emotion is actually a sensation that our nervous system passes to the brain where it is processed into a story (aka a feeling). and what’s really wild is that this work of finding emotions in my body is actually a decolonial practice. capitalism and colonization only work (long story) if the mind and body are (often violently) separated. reconnecting with the body, to find wholeness (which leads to liberation), is critical to undoing systemic oppression.

so. although i know this post isn’t maybe new ideas, these connections are new for me and it feels great. speaking of feelings…

how are YOU in this moment? :D

words / writing / post-processing
433w / 12min / 15min