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Was it Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, or Anger?

These are the five main characters, in order of appearance, in Pixar's new must see
film, 'Inside Out.'
During the movie, I boo-hooed. I laughed. I felt the full range, or what mindfulness
teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn calls, the full catastrophe, of life's experiences during the
movie.
Inside Out beautifully demonstrates so many of mindfulness' most compelling and
remarkable life lessons.
Here are 7 must learn life and mindfulness lessons as seen in 'Inside Out.'
Which one is your favorite?
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1 - YOU MUST EXPERIENCE SADNESS TO EXPERIENCE FULL JOY
An open heart is a broken heart. There's no way around it.
Joy is determined and hell-bent to provide happy experiences for Riley. Joy is
unhealthily attached to happiness.

Joy thinks her job is the


best (insert the ego) and has to be protected at all costs. She clings and
holds to the yellow-lit happy core memories as if Riley would fall apart if she didn't
have smiley, shiney-faced memories to establish her personality around, but Joy
soon learns otherwise.
It is no mistake that Joy and Sadness are sucked into the long-term memory tube
together. One cannot survive without the other (notice Joy's hair is blue like
Sadness), and when Joy tries to make it on her own because Sadness is holding Joy
back, Joy gets sent to the dump - literally and figuratively - to discover a
deeper truth.
Joy doesn't want to experience Sadness, but in her darkest moment, literally in the
dump, she realizes that on the other side of Riley's happy core memory is Sadness.
It is the expression of Sadness, both in Riley's core memories and in Riley's
return reunion at home, that brings Joy to everyone through human
connection that can only be felt through our common human experience of
Sadness.
In the end, Joy and Sadness have an appreciation for each other and work hand-inhand.
Seek only Joy and push away Sadness and life is dull, anxiety-ridden, with a loss of
true connection. Welcome them both, and you experience a deep, rich life of heartexpansion, warmth, and possibility.
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2 - SADNESS ALLOWS YOU TO EMPATHIZE AND CONNECT WITH OTHER
PEOPLE

Do you know someone who has lost a child and someone else tried to console the
parent by saying, 'Heaven needed another angel?' #sodismissive
Did your best friend or co-worker experience a huge injustice and you tell them to
'look on the bright side' or 'it could have been worse?'
Folks like this have a low joy tolerance because they cannot tolerate
sadness.

In Inside Out, Joy emphatically and sometimes annoyingly, dismisses 'negative'


feelings to keep everyone looking happy. Joy even tries to recruit the other emotions
to make a list of everything Riley should be happy about (insert my beef about
gratitude journals), when Riley clearly is upset by relocating to San Francisco.
But Joy could not help Riley's imaginary friend, Bing Bong, when he was upset about
losing Riley. It was Sadness who was able to sit with Bing Bong's uneasiness,
embrace him, and help comfort Bing Bong by simply sitting with his sadness.
When Bing Bong was able to neutralize and move on after expressing his candyladen tears of sorrow with the presence of Sadness, Joy was totally surprised, and
asked Sadness, 'How did you do that?!'
The more comfortable you are with your own Sadness, the more you will
be able to empathize and connect with others that are hurting. (and I
guarantee you won't experience compassion fatigue this way)
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3 - DISGUST, FEAR, AND ANGER NEVER LEARN
This was hilarious to me! When Joy and Sadness are trying to return to
headquarters, Disgust, Fear, and Anger are left to their own devices and problem
solving. In failed attempts in trying to work together to keep Riley's personality
islands intact, Disgust bursts out, 'It's like we never learn!'

I laughed so hard. Exactly. Emotions left to their own devices without any
neutral and compassionate awareness, will never learn.
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4 - YOU HAVE TO EXPERIENCE FEAR TO WAKE UP!

Uh-oh. Joy and Sadness head into Dreamland to try to wake Riley up so they can
catch the Train of Thought.
In a turn of events, they end up in the Subconscious, home of the trouble makers!
Joy tries to insist to Sadness they can wake Riley up with funny, happy dreams.
Sadness knows and insists this isn't true. You can only wake-up through
fear. What a bummer.
Sure enough, when Riley's worst fear, represented by an over-sized clown, shows up
in her dream, she wakes up immediately.
Moral of the story? To awaken to the best of you, you must awaken to the
worst of you.
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5 - THE ONLY PLACE WHERE EVERYONE'S A WINNER IS IMAGINATION LAND
Hilarious! Bing Bong takes Joy and Sadness through Imagination Land. Yep, here in
your imagination is where all your trophies, awards, achievements, and social proof
of your worthiness goes. It's all your imagination.
In an awakened life, you are because you are, not because you achieve.
Only in Imagination Land is everyone, or anyone, a winner.

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6 - LET ANGER BURN A HOLE THROUGH YOUR PROTECTIVE BUBBLE TO LET
JOY AND SADNESS IN

When Joy and Sadness return


back to headquarters, they can't get in because of the protective bubble-shaped
glass of the building.
Anger steps in to the rescue. Anger gets so activated that he uses his fire power to
burn a hole through the glass, allowing Joy and Sadness to return.
Isn't that how it is in real life? You have to get so angry - at yourself, at your
fear, your disgust, or the injustice - to fuel your energy and burn through
the impenetrable so love can enter.
Don't push away your anger. Welcome it.
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7 - A RICH + MEANINGFUL LIFE COMES BY WELCOMING ALL YOUR
EMOTIONS
We often label our emotions as good or bad. We try to not experience or show our
'negative' emotions like fear, jealousy, judgment, depression, or anger.

Just like Joy, we try to carry around our bag of happy thoughts with
aggressiveness and clinging. By doing so, we hurt ourselves and others. We limit
our experience.
When Joy and Sadness come together in the end, all of Riley's core memories are
glowing with the rainbow colors of emotion. No longer is one better than the
other. None of them have to be guarded and protected against. Every
memory and experience is multi-faceted, and therein, lies peace.
By embracing it all, we get a chance at a more diverse control station to master our
experience. We become multi-dimensional, more flexible, more
appreciative, more open, and more loving.
1. When we meet Riley, most of the time Joy is in charge of her thoughts and
personality. Which emotion(s) do you feel most often?
2. Riley and her family go through a lot of changes when they move from
Minnesota to San Francisco. Have you ever gone through a big transition?
3. How are the glowing balls, or core memories made? What are yours?
4. What do the core memories have to do with Rileys personality?
5. When Sadness touches one of the happy core memories, she colors it blue.
What do you think is going on then? Is it possible that our current moods can
color our past memories? Or how we define our personality?
6. Do you think that the core memories were changed forever or was there a
temporary filter on them?
7. When Rileys mother tells her that she is helping her parents by being their
happy girl, Riley feels pressure to only show them her joy. What do you
think of this?
8. Do you think that our society values certain emotions over others? Which
ones?
9. At the end of the movie, Joy learns that other emotions, especially Sadness,
are also important. Why?
10.Do you think it is easier for males or females, or for younger or older people,
to express different emotions? Which ones? Why?