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When intense changes occur in our lives, we often go back to our core triggers and accessible emotions. In the month of June, we are focusing on the theme “Be Right Back.” The theme focuses on bringing back emotional agility and compassion in our creative lives.

The theme name is inspired by the title of a Black Mirror Episode that grief and coping in the AI-led believable future. The episode is wonderfully written and has a sister episode, San Junipero that is also one we thought about.

The way we describe what Be Right Back means to us as a theme is through this quote:

“When I forgot who I was, creating art helped me find my way back.”

prachi gupta in They called us exceptional
Emotional Agility Be Right Back

What is Emotional Agility?

Susan David is a leading academic and researcher on emotional agility, so if you are one of the 10 million people who saw her TED talk, you already know about this. In her book, Emotional Agility that we highly recommend, David gets into the meat of the topic.

We can’t control situations and external elements. All we can control is how we respond to things. Our nimbleness in being able to accept feelings to use them as data points is what David describes as being emotionally agile.

David talks about various hooks we build that make it harder for us to be emotionally agile, including our obsession with happiness. Mostly though, the most powerful hook is the story we tell ourselves spiraling into angst and feeling overwhelmed.

“Emotional agility is about loosening up, calming down, and living with more intention. It’s about choosing how you’ll respond to your emotional warning system” – Susan David, Emotional Agility

Framing emotions as data

Raw emotions are data signals our bodies or minds present. We often get stuck with them instead of creating an objective distance from the emotion and controlling our responses better. This framing is very transformational. Things will change, and sometimes not to our liking.

Being able to show up for our feelings is critical. But it’s important to also view this as one data point among other things we have broader context for. Getting stuck or letting one data point rule our judgment is what creates an unbalanced emotional response. David talks about the see-saw principle that enables us to know and accept that feelings of discomfort are not inherently bad. Being in our comfort zone at all times thwarts growth. Staying true and open to our emotions and finding a way to handle them with a balanced mindset enables us to thrive.

Be Right Back

Sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back and gain perspective. It is important to be able to process and show up fully for our emotions as an act of self-compassion. 

Incremental changes and getting back to our core identities, emotions, and values to help process can take time and effort. But this also help us thrive.  What starts with awareness of our core values and context takes intentional effort to help us define a plan that can empower us to own our story and response.

“Studies from many different fields have demonstrated that small shifts over time can dramatically enhance our ability to thrive….Perhaps the best term to describe living at the edge of our ability, thriving and flourishing, being challenged but not overwhelmed, is simply “whelmed.” And a key part of being whelmed lies in being selective in our commitments, which means taking on the challenges that really speak to you and that emerge from an awareness of your deepest values.” – Susan David, Emotional Agility

June theme inspired ideas

Any change or growth is helped by good old-fashioned family, friends, therapists, films, stories, and books. So, going back to stories is what we can do best.

June StoryTime x Loving Hearts for All – We are going to partner with a local South-Asian nonprofit, Loving Hearts for All that works to support individuals with disabilities. Storytelling workshops will be held online for kids in this community through June.

Storytelling Camps online: In June we will be hosting kids writing camps online. Camps are available from June 17-21st and from June 24-28th.

MakerBox for June: We will be sharing book recommendations, writing prompts, and more ideas on the theme of “Be Right Back” in this month. The Box will be up and running this week. We will also be sharing our folk audio story of the month next week.

Summer is a wonderful time to refresh our ideas, and go back to our core values and what makes us, us. Being able to celebrate the nuances of lives, and our stories without fear is a privilege, but also a right.

For our friends celebrating their stories with pride, we hope to shine a light on your beautiful colors. For those who need some time to get them to themselves, we give you compassion, and say, be right back!