In one of this year’s most celebrated Superbowl advertisements (titled “Saving Sawyer”), a motley, floppy-eared dog bonds with his family through a colorful, smile-filled montage. The ad–accompanied by emotional music, of course–carries the viewer through several emotions. We are sad when Sawyer is left gazing out a rain-splashed window as his people leave for the day. We’re anxious when he then proceeds to shred clothes, break lamps, and chew up the remote, among other things. We feel trepidation as the family then orders a crate from Amazon (remember, this is an ad). Yet those negative feelings dissolve into joy and relief as we learn that the crate is not for Sawyer, but rather for a new puppy who will keep him company.
And with a final shot of the two furry friends curled up on a bed, we feel relieved. Blissful, even. We have changed, somehow, because we have personally connected with a family’s story and experience through emotion. That’s because feelings connect us to a part of our shared humanity, not to mention to ourselves. A recent study from Kantar showed that ads eliciting strong emotions in consumers are a whopping four times more impactful than those based on information alone!
As we enter the month of Cancer (Tammuz), feelings move into the spotlight, along with a tremendous opportunity for personal growth. This month invites us to tap into the emotional aspect of our nature… to tune into the messages our feelings are trying to convey. From there, we’ll learn more about where action is needed most to bring positive change to our lives.
Our feelings are far more than peripheral experiences. They are our inner barometers, as important to our self-understanding as knowledge or reason. Our emotions have the ability to guide us with incredible accuracy to what is or isn’t working in our lives. They can push us towards our purpose, motivate us to take positive risks, and warn us of dangers or decisions that don’t suit our higher selves.
Whether or not you’re born under the sign of Cancer, the energy of this month can help you access such essential information with greater ease and clarity. That’s because beneath Cancer’s seemingly solid exterior (consider that Cancerian crab shell!) lies a deeply emotional interior with the capacity for great empathy towards others. (Note: When you’re facing a tough time, a Cancer is the friend you’ll want on your side! They are fiercely loyal and compassionate… I know this–I married one!) Such heightened receptivity can help us get in better touch with our DESIRES, too. As Kabbalah teaches, knowing and increasing our desire provides fuel for transformation of any kind.
And beyond their essential role in spiritual growth, our emotions can also help us in more practical ways. A recent article posted by the American Academy of Family Physicians cited myriad ways our emotions impact our health. Positive emotions, such as hopefulness, joy, and contentment, boost our overall well-being and often manifest in more positive choices in every area. However, negative emotions, such as anxiety and stress, can lower immunity and cause issues with sleep, digestion, and other bodily systems. We’re more prone to bad habits (including more negative thinking) when we allow those negative feelings to consume us.
So how can we cultivate more emotional self-awareness in the days and weeks ahead? Start with the basics:
If something in your life feels off or negative, pay attention. Your inner compass is likely guiding you to turn a different way. Does something need to be decreased, removed, or redirected? Conversely, if something stirs excitement within you (you know, that uplifting, “butterflies” sensation), it may be a call to further explore that pull.
Think of every emotion as a mark on your own internal map. Yet as with any other map, we have to learn how to read the signs correctly if we’re to chart our best course.
That’s why it’s important to give yourself time to process any strong feeling fully before acting too rashly. Cancer is a water sign ruled by the moon, so expect that the tides of emotion may rise and fall more dramatically this month. To counter the turbulence, try pursuing mindful activities such as meditation, nature walks, yoga, or other practices that help tune out the noise. The more we connect with our inner calm, the clearer the waters will become, and the more accurately we’ll see what needs attention and how we might best address it.
Above all, the energy of this month asks us to peer inwards, rather than outwards. When we connect fully with our emotions and the messages they’re sending, we expand our powers to manifest change in our lives. Our feelings no longer rule us, overwhelm us, or send us running for cover. We face them. We learn from them.
And through our conscious decision to feel our way forward, we find our joy, excitement, and desire expanding, too… opening us to receive all the blessings that were and are meant to be ours.