What do you do when you are tired? Lonely? Bored? Depressed? Frustrated? Anxious? What are your coping strategies? What or whom do you reach out for? What are your sources of relief? Your methods of escape?
Have you tried sitting with the emotion first for a while? Not fighting it, not running from it, just… sitting with it. Observing it, feeling it. Gently plumbing its contours, seeking its origins, diving deeper than just the surface source (we are rarely upset or have fights for the reasons we first think we are; triggers are usually not the true explosive).
Our habitual responses regularly lead us astray in two ways:
– “We continue to seek comfort and ease in ways that only strengthen our fears” (Pema Chodron). Like a child seeking relief from poison ivy by scratching the itch, many responses give temporary relief at the cost of perpetuating or reinforcing the underlying problem.
– We so rapidly reach for relief (really more for distraction) to alleviate symptoms of discomfort that we rarely take the time to get curious about the underlying root causes. Thus the cycle repeats and repeats.
Breaking the cycle, catching the pattern as it develops: These are vital to our growth, to achieving our full potential as humans. Reading inspirational literature, journaling, mediating: all these train the mind, still the mind, teach us that we are separate from our emotions, that we can direct our thoughts, that we can alter the stories we tell ourselves and thus create the flexibility of mind and spirit to truly craft our best selves.
“To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” – Mary Oliver, b. 1935, poet
“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.” – Shannon L. Alder, author
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar, 1926 – 2012
As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier