Monday, August 2, 2010

Surrender, Breathe and Be Centered

There are just those days that will seem to tax you to the core of your being. On those days when you’ve grown weary of resistance and just too tired to fight it, there is one thing you can do—stop reacting. When you stop reacting you can take control a step further in a healthy way and just breathe. One thing about life is there just doesn’t seem to be any shortage of life lessons to contend with. Some of those lessons may involve dealing with trauma, regret, frustration and disappointment. Some of those lessons may involve finally getting the fact that you have no power to control the people around you or even the situations that you face. When you come to those moments and the toxic adrenaline reaches epic proportions inside of your body there is a moment when the will to resist just breaks. It feels horrible for a few seconds, but only a few seconds. Tears may fall, rage may wish to well up and out of you but also in that space, if you dig deep enough, there is a strong and unending stream of peace and tranquility. But it’ll cost you something…surrender.

Sometimes our ego gives us that “Never say die” attitude and we fight and resist the stressful things around us, the uncontrollable things swirling around us and the chaotic things seemingly knocking on all of our emotional doors. But sometimes the ego is a fearful child throwing a temper tantrum just from failing to get its own way. You can spot that in action if you pull your consciousness back to the position of an observer. Notice your thoughts in such circumstances and notice that the space inside of you doing the noticing is truly at peace and often amused even if more neutrally so. So, the will can be a funny thing when the impetus for reaction is fear. One can engage in the craziness and spin wheels and keep the machinations of temporary stressful insanity going OR one can stop all reaction, breathe and let go of stressful thoughts and find a way, one-thought-at-a-time if necessary, to regain composure.

It’s important when faced with stressful things to find a way to get to your center. It isn’t easy. Sometimes you have to cut back on the sheer volume of things creating reactions in you. Maybe you are trying to solve too much in too short of a span of time or maybe you are attempting to control other people (even if in a good way from your perspective). Sometimes you have to let go of something to get to a place where you can find peace, tranquility and serenity. Serenity is at the base of who we are on the inside. If left to our own devices without the demands of others always upon us, we can be happy if we choose to. We can also be miserably alone if we choose to. Choose is an amazing word. We have so many choices up until the moment we let emotion take control and begin to react. Once we are reacting instead of acting, we have already given our power over to the very thing we are resisting. It doesn’t have to be that way. But when we get to THAT edge—to THAT sort of breaking point, we have to find a way to pause, something to make us stop reacting and becoming overwrought with emotion. You have to find something healthy that works for you. Me, I leave the room, excuse myself from companions, cancel appointments and withdraw letting those around me know I will return in moments or shortly. Taking a time out is something I’ve found to be incredibly effective in helping me shift from a reactor mode to an actor mode.

We give so much of our power away every day without even realizing we have a choice. When we are overly emotional, we are in a space of deficit and if we do not want to say or do things that might hurt us or others in some way, we have to regain our center. Find something healthy that works for you and simply excuse yourself and go do whatever that is. Breathe. Let go of controlling thoughts. Say the Serenity Prayer if you have to but stop that frenetic urge to control, slip back into that observer position and remove yourself even if only mentally from the situation so you can regain composure. Only through regaining composure will you really get the lesson that is trying to present itself.

I have many stressful days and sometimes I will go days letting it build until I forget these simple tools. I tend to try to solve all of my problems and challenges at once. I habitually take on more than I can possibly handle until I cave from the stress. When I find myself heading in that direction, I have to stop everything – focus on just one thing at a time and just breathe. I can then begin to regain composure. I can ask for help only when I am centered and thinking clearly. I can solve whatever I face only if I am centered. I can admit defeat in a healthy way only if I am not overwrought with emotion. But that’s just me. Maybe it’s you too and if it is, find what works for you. Stressful situations and thoughts you dwell on can be like a magnet or a signal to the universe to send you more of THAT! So, don’t stay in that frame of mind for longer than necessary to understand what is happening. As stressful situations happen, don’t spend too long feeling like a victim either. Victims have lost their power. If you over-identify with feeling victimized, you have given away your power somehow. Fight to find another way to think about things…change your perspective from victors and victims to actions and consequences.

So much of what we experience is based on what we think. Think good thoughts. Think positive thoughts. Send away negative self-talk with positive affirmations always. Stop judging yourself and others harshly when under stress and you might find that you can regain your center so much more quickly. Everything in life is an experience to learn from. So pay attention, learn well and know that you are strong enough to handle your life…you are smart enough to figure out your life…you are loved enough to nurture yourself through any potential mistakes and you can be forgiving enough to not spend any energy spooled up in anger for long. Many blessings and much peace!

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