Groundless Emotional Chaos and a Moment of Insight and Clarity

Photo by Todd Turner on Unsplash

I could feel it. I could feel my thinking. I could feel the episodic and deep water waves of the moment. Triggered, I sat numbingly quiet, feeling cornered, attacked with no ground under my feet. I desperately craved relief amidst this inner chaos. “Please, vulnerable place, no tears, don’t cry!”

I was witnessing a painfully familiar chain of roller-coaster emotions. After three years of divorce proceedings, including restraining orders, financial hearings, and wrenching child custody sessions, the result, hopefully, is a final divorce hearing today. What I distinctly remember, 13 years later, is my lawyer leaning over mid-hearing and whispering to me. “Let him talk.” “Let him run out of words so we can finalize this divorce.” My response inside was uncontrollable rage. “But those words!!” A familiar strain of lies, slander, distortions, and fabrications sprang forth from the angry, mentally ill, abusive man on the witness stand.

“Shhh.” A quiet voice buried deep inside me begged to be acknowledged. “It’s your thinking.” “Your thoughts are running you around in circles.” My inner voice struggled to poke holes in this cyclone of turmoil. I recognized the voice and listened. “You have what you need to get through this.” I paused, took a deep breath, and then took a deeper breath. In the gap, my nervous system started to settle. “I have everything I need to get through this.” I gratefully acknowledged the simple, resonant truth of the Principles.

Thirteen years later, this courtroom experience stands out as my starkly profound “3 Principles Moment”, even though my introduction to the Principles occurred ten years earlier. In retrospect, the gift of this ordeal is an on-going personal and professional commitment to deepening and sharing my understanding. My profession has provided me the opportunity to guide students to access their wisdom and support them as they share their gifts with the world.

In future articles, I look forward to sharing my experience with the infusion of the 3 Principles into education and the development of a K-3 mental health curriculum.



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Paula Smith

Paula Smith


School Psychologist, Professional Harpist, Certified Dynamic Mindfulness Trainer, Certified SEE Learning Curriculum, Author of “Core Goodness” K-4 Curriculum