The Richness of Feelings and the Thrill Factor of Life

By Mary Beth Hazeldine

December 29, 2016

I live in a beautiful place in southern Spain, right on the Mediterranean coast. Having spent many years in the UK with my husband, we were both eager to head to sunnier climes and I must say that we don’t regret it at all. 


Do You Really Only Want to have Good Feelings?


I never complain about the hot weather, no matter how warm it gets in the summer. In the winter, despite temperatures reaching 18-22º most days, it does get down to the single digits at night. As most houses don’t have central heating, but rely on portable gas heaters or wall-mounted units that supply a meager amount of warm air, it can get mighty cold here in the winter. 

Most Spanish homes, with their tiled floors, thick concrete walls and small windows were built for the purpose of keeping people cool in the hot summers, thereby doing us no favours in the winter. I find that “suffering” through the winter months makes the summer even more anticipated and desireable. 

My father used to say the same thing about living in the Midwest. He really enjoyed experiencing all 4 seasons, though anyone familair with Chicago weather might argue that there often isn’t much of a spring or fall. It seems to go from winter to summer overnight. Nevertheless, there is richness in the 4 seasons and different things to savour from each:

  • Beautiful snowflakes falling gently on the window pane
  • Spring daffodils and blossoming trees
  • The smell of freshly cut grass and the sound of cicadas
  • Trees that turn the landscape into a caleidescope of autumn color

So why is it, that in our lives, we only want to experience the sunshine? Why do we all strive to be happy and avoid all the bad feelings or even think we are “failing” at playing this game of life if we are not content all of the time?  

I often like to imagine spirits in heaven all queuing up to go on the most popular “ride” just as you might find people waiting at Disney to go on the Tower of Terror, Mission Space or Expedition Everest. The ride that the spirits are all waiting for is “The Human Experience”. The spirits are all waiting to be born into a body for this wonderful experience here on earth. Just as many of the popular rides at Disney aren’t for the faint hearted, neither is the Human Experience.  On the Coaster Critic Website Roller Coasters are ranked by their Thrill Factor:

  • Tame (1 out of 5) - Small Compact Roller Coasters and Kiddie Coasters
  • Traditional (2 out of 5) - Old-School Run of the Mill Woodies and Small Steel Coasters
  • Thrilling (3 out of 5) - Contains 1 Thrill Factor (Loops, Launch)
  • Intense (4 out of 5) - Contains 2 Thrill Factors (High Speeds, Loops, G Forces, Height)
  • Extreme (5 out of 5) - Contains 3 Thrill Factors (High Speeds, Loops, G Forces, Height)

Millions of people stand in line for hours waiting to get on those ride that rank Extreme to have their breath taken away. Yet in the Human Experience, we expect the ride to be smooth and without fear, sadness, or other negative emotions. We spend millions of dollars on self help books and courses to live a life that is only sunny and bright.    

Living life to its fullest potential is not about being emotionally neutral or only experiencing positive emotions. As our thoughts come and go, so will our emotions flow and follow our thinking. I often remind myself that it is this richness of feelings that got me to sign up for this ride on the Human Experience in the first place. The highs would not be as enjoyable, if it weren’t for the lows.  

Mary Beth Hazeldine is a teen mentor, executive coach, leadership consultant and corporate wellness advisor.  She helps individuals, professionals and organisations tap into the wisdom and intelligence that allows them to be "in the flow" more often and experience success and mental wellbeing. You can find out more about Mary Beth and her work at