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Feelings Wheel for Earth-Based Women

woman with outstretched arms embracing her feelings
by Corinna Wood

You feel deeply. Not only the sweet feelings—but also the rough ones.

Yet as a woman, you may have been told you’re too emotional . . .

Or that being emotional makes you “weak” . . .

woman looking out the window, full of feelingsPerhaps you’ve been told all those feelings are just because you’re at “your time of the month.” Or in menopause.

Ah, sister, let’s talk. All your feelings are natural and normal. Allow me to share the Wise Woman Feelings Wheel with you—to support you in identifying aspects of your emotional world.

What you can identify, you can name.

When you can name your emotions, you give yourself permission to explore and embrace what’s stirring below the surface.

Table of contents

Your feelings are as natural as the rising and setting sun

woman on mountain top, the landscape of feelingsDoes your emotional world sometimes seem like a vast ocean?

I get it. It can be hard to nail down exactly what you’re feeling.

Sometimes you may get so overwhelmed by your feelings, that you end up shutting down or numbing out.

Yet when you squelch your feelings, you suppress part of yourself. It takes energy to hold your feelings back—energy that could be used for more creative or nourishing endeavors.

Over time, you might even become just a shadow of your full self. Two-dimensional and flat—rather than the complex, messy, and beautiful gift you are to the world.

It’s understandable that you may hesitate to express your feelings—most of us were conditioned to stay calm and get along.

Do any of these sound familiar?

“Don’t be too loud or unreasonable.”

“You shouldn’t be so emotional.”

“Whatever you do, don’t rock the boat.”

The trouble with that messaging is that’s not the way we work. Feelings are as natural as the rising and setting of the sun.

Imagine giving yourself permission to fully feel.

Imagine yourself speaking to the depth of your passions—loving and joyful as you connect with yourself and those around you.

Imagine yourself having the courage to name, with empathy for yourself, when you feel hurt or sad. Imagine yourself flowing with mourning the changes and losses in your life.

And, yes, imagine yourself being deeply connected with your own anger or rage in the face of disrespect or injustice. That anger can fuel you forward towards creating happier, healthier ways of being for yourself and others.

Identifying your feelings helps you embrace your emotional world

woman pondering to identify her feelings while looking at oceanEmbracing your feelings starts with being able to identify and name them. That’s where my Wise Woman Feelings Wheel comes in. Let me tell you how it came about.

I studied Nonviolent Communication over several decades . . . circling back again and again to study with various teachers who popped up in my life.

Regardless of the teacher, when the class inevitably came around to a list of feelings and emotions, I got overwhelmed. Not only because I felt so many of them. But also because there were far too many to remember. I just couldn’t keep track of them all!

Struggling, I wondered, “Where are the hooks to hang these things on? Do I have to memorize a list in alphabetical order? Geez, could I place these on my body somehow? ”

phases of the moonThen one day, I realized . . . aha, I could overlay them with the cycles of nature!

On a seemingly separate track, I’d become a lifelong student (and teacher) of the Wise Woman Tradition, in which we honor the spiral of light and dark. We see the natural cycles reflected within ourselves—the cycles of night and day . . . dark moon and full moon . . . winter and summer.

You reflect nature and nature reflects you.

Then it all fell into place—if feelings are within me, they must also have a place in the cycles of nature.

From there, I overlaid groups of feelings with the phases of the moon, a visual reminder of the natural range of feelings. An invitation to embrace my feelings day and night, one season to the next.

Feelings Wheel pdf

download the wise woman feelings wheelThe Wise Woman Feelings Wheels are designed for you to recognize and honor your sweet feelings as well as your rough feelings.

To be clear, when I say sweet and rough feelings . . . this is not about good vs bad, or right vs wrong.

All of your feelings are as intrinsic to humans as the cycles of nature. Not only your sweet feelings—like joyful and loving—but also your rough feelings—like sad and angry.

To reduce overwhelm, I’ve grouped various feelings together. Each of the 8 moons for “Sweet Feelings” and the 8 moons for “Rough Feelings” represent a primary feeling—summarizing a whole group of feelings.

It’s true there are dozens or hundreds of words to describe your emotions. Yet as you’re reconnecting with your feelings, discerning among such a long list of feelings can be overwhelming.

That’s why the Wise Woman Feelings Wheels are based on the 8 moon phases. Rather than getting lost trying to keep track of the nuances of every possible emotion, this is a summarized version for you to identify and work with the primary groups of feelings—both sweet and rough.

As you take time to familiarize yourself with the energy of each group of feelings, you’ll find it easier to embrace those emotions.

And then when you have those down, you can always dig deeper to explore more of the flavors of feelings that make up each group—for example the joyful group of feelings could include other feelings like: elated, tickled, or jubilant.

You’re welcome to grab your own free copy of the Wise Woman Feelings Wheel pdf, with the 16 main groups of feelings (8 of the primary “sweet feelings” and 8 of the primary “rough feelings”).

You may want to keep this page close at hand. Slip it in your journal, or hang it on your fridge. I even know therapists who keep it on their wall for quick and easy reference as they’re empathizing with clients.

Here’s a sneak preview of how the Wise Woman Feelings Wheels are organized . . .

a sneak peak of the wise woman feelings wheel

How to work with the Feelings Wheels?

As you’re working with the Feelings Wheels, remember that your feelings are natural—and they have a lot to tell you.

You may have a tendency to judge yourself for even having feelings. That’s understandable—you've probably heard those messages since you were a young girl.

When feelings do arise, you may look around for someone to blame. Maybe you point the finger at someone else.

Or all too often—especially as a woman—you may turn that finger of blame back in towards yourself.

That default of criticism and blame is the norm in today’s society—yet it only serves to distract you from connecting with your true feelings and the wisdom they have to offer you.

So the first step is to be curious to understand and embrace your feelings rather than trying to suppress them.

The Wise Woman Feelings Wheels give you language for your emotional realms. Identifying your feelings is a key step in taking responsibility for your emotions—and for the choices that bring you to this place.

As you work with your feelings and discover the underlying roots, you empower yourself to consider choices that will support your deepest hopes, dreams, and desires.

Sweet Feelings

sweet feelings connecting with a friendYou experience sweet feelings like “loving” and “joyful” when you’re relating eye to eye with another. When you have a sense of connection or community. When you’re seen and appreciated—after all, we all need recognition.

Have you ever had a close connection with a girl friend—leaning on each other through the ups and downs of life?

You can confide in her—your fears, your insecurities.

You no longer feel alone.

She knows what makes you tick and encourages you to follow your dreams and not to give up.

And when your creative project, artwork, or idea has been accepted, she celebrates your accomplishments with you.

You leave your time together feeling renewed, revived, and grateful for the connection. Taking the time to acknowledge and savor those sweet feelings is delicious. Drink from the juice of life!

Rough Feelings

woman expressing rough feelings such as hurt and griefLikewise, it’s natural to feel hurt, sad, or angry at times.

Maybe you’re mourning the loss of a sweet and meaningful connection. Maybe you’re angry because your desire for respect wasn't met in a recent interaction.

Or maybe you’re feeling depleted. It could be that so much of your time and energy has gone to taking care of your loved ones.

Perhaps you’ve been giving so much to your job and making clients happy, that you haven’t found time to care for yourself. You may even find you’re feeling irritable, agitated, and resentful.

Those rough feelings are signaling that something needs to shift. They’re calling you to re-evaluate how you spend your time—and to consider how to nourish yourself so you can be more replenished.

Your rough feelings help you initiate healthy changes in your life.

Your emotions point to what’s underneath. Think of them as guideposts to bring your attention to a deeper, truer part of yourself. Like diving down beneath the surface of the ocean—your feelings help you understand your deepest wishes, dreams, hopes and desires.

Sharing feelings gained a friendship instead of a fight

kristen and edith, friends after sharing feelings for deeper connectionEdith and Kirsten had lived in the same neighborhood for years but only saw each other in passing occasionally.

At a neighborhood block party Edith overheard Kirsten joking with another neighbor that Edith’s garden was out of control and looked like a “weed patch.”

At first Edith didn’t say anything, although inside she was stewing. When they bumped into each other at the drinks table, she decided to speak up.

With heat rising in her chest, Edith felt an impulse to cut Kirsten down. Edith took a deep breath, tucked away her boxing gloves, and took the risk of sharing her true feelings.

“Hey Kristen, I heard you joking about my garden being out of control. I feel hurt . . . and actually rather irritable, around that.”

“I’m experimenting with native plants as a community restoration project that I’m really excited about. I know you’re also into gardening, and I could actually use your help. But right now I’m feeling uncertain about whether it’s even up your alley.”

Kristen felt touched, surprised to hear Edith share her feelings so authentically.

Kristen’s heart opened, she acknowledged the impact of her comment and asked to hear more about the restoration project. She decided she’d love to contribute.

Having cleared the air, the two women made a date to meet in the garden that weekend. They quickly gained trust in one another. Enjoying the spunk they found in one another, they realized they shared other common interests.

Soon they became best friends. Over the decades, Edith and Kristen shared many aspects of their lives together.

They often joked about their rocky start—grateful that rather than devolving into a fight, Edith shared her true feelings. Thus they found a long-lasting, treasured friendship.


Knowing your feelings, knowing your truth

download the wise woman feelings wheelsMaybe you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of connecting with your feelings—especially rough ones like sadness and anger.

Or sometimes even the sweet feelings like passion or joy, can be unsettling as well!

You may be wondering, “Does this get easier somehow—all these feelings?”

Yes, it does get easier, starting with the key step of identifying what you’re feeling inside.

It’s okay to have rough feelings—look at the animal world. Doesn’t your puppy mope around if you’re busy when she wants to connect? Of course, she’s feeling sad or lonely!

And when animals are threatened, they show their anger in no uncertain terms—growling through barred teeth, claws poised to strike.

When you connect with your own rough feelings, you can plumb your depths for the truth of who you are and what you long for.

And it’s natural to have sweet feelings too! When your pussycat is feeling joyful and loving, she lets you know in no uncertain terms—curling up on your lap purring, rubbing her chin against your hand.

Embracing and savoring your own sweet feelings is nourishing and healing for yourself and those around you.

As you offer your own truth to others, you also open the door for authentic communications to flow both ways.

May you know your truth. May you speak your truth. May you embody your truth.


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