For a few silent moments, I sit quietly at my desk. Arms in a relaxed, open position. Eyes closed. I breathe in deeply. Then exhale. My shoulders drop. In my mind’s eye, I reach for my emotions. How do I feel right now? Nothing—I’m drawing a blank. Not high or low, just meh. Or maybe not even meh.

I’m in my focused, busy, productive mode. Thinking about what needs to be done. Setting my priorities. Doing what needs to be done. There’s not a lot of room for emotions in this space. To be honest, holding space for and attending to my emotions takes effort. I’m good at being the stable, responsible, and reliable one. I can create a holding space for other people’s emotions all day long. But creating one for myself can be challenging.

And so each day, I stop from time to time. Check-in with myself. Some days are easier than others. Sometimes, like today, I draw a blank. But then, I begin by focusing on my bodily sensations, drawing on my environment—the gentle breeze from my open window, the cooling weather of fall, the ease I feel in my body. And I begin to feel a surge of pleasure, the joy of being alive in this moment. With no judgment or consideration about what is going right or wrong. A spontaneous smile of happiness moves across my lips. I guess I’m feeling happy right now.