When life presents you with a challenge, how do you react?
“React – re-act – to re-enact an action or behaviour in a particular way”
Often during the daytime we are running on auto-pilot, thinking ahead to the next thing we need to do, think about, plan and anticipate. When things don’t work out the way we imagined, planned or thought, a feeling of unease can creep in; it may well leap in! It’s uncomfortable to deal with change, loss, uncertainty, yet this is one perceived life view.
In the moment, it is very real. However, ‘in the moment’ is also a state of mind. In that moment, we are caught in our mind, it begins to react, to unravel, to create stories around the feelings that are arising within. As we know our thoughts and our mind are extremely powerful; they are the gateway to stepping out of the present and into a space of distraction, which is essentially disconnection from the Self.
This may well sound quite surreal and strange. Well, it is! So what is the function? Why do we respond in this way?
We have learnt to exist in a world that is mostly running on a form of unconscious programming; one that our minds set. There is absolute use and necessity for this; it supports us to think rationally, logically, form judgements, carry out tasks, plan our day and so on. However, our mind does not always have our best interests at heart. What do I mean by this?
When life presents us with a challenge we have a choice; to stay present or be swept away by thoughts.
When we are swept away, we lose touch with the moment and drift into a repetitive thought cycle or story.
I have witnessed myself in such mental loops many times! It is a source of anxiety and can turn into negative thinking that holds us in a story we feel unable to come out of. This is particularly true for challenges. Understanding the mechanics of our human design, we are able to raise awareness to make better informed decisions, even if we need a lifetime of practice. Understanding the self is a journey free from time constraints and expectations.
Discovering some tools to bring us back to the present moment is an art form, a life work and I embrace that whole heartedly. I invite you to consider them too!
The power of the breath
Lots of people talk about breath-work and breathing exercises, there are many options available in this arena. Bringing our awareness to the breath, brings us back to the present moment. Focusing on our body, we return from our mind mayhem back to the moment. The very moment that pulled us away due to a reaction.
Asking the question: What is present within me now?
Through gentle self enquiry we can explore what is actually happening within us, rather than reacting unconsciously to something we did or did not like. Naming the experience, out loud, or in your head, can keep you present too…anger, tightness in chest, lump in throat, hot face, cold hands… This all helps bring awareness to what is actually happening.
Another question: can I accept this? Free from having to like what is happening, acceptance comes from a place of surrender, that we can and will be OK, the moment, or situation we find ourselves in will pass.
Acceptance; melting through the layers
The body holds wisdom and is an anchor for facing challenges as they arise. It takes courage to stay present, to face what is happening. The reason we disconnect, disassociate and try to avoid the present is because it can be painful, uncomfortable, awkward and we have been conditioned to avoid this at all costs. It doesn’t always feel safe and this method of self enquiry can ease you into a place of feeling safer and more secure in yourself.
This is not an invitation to wallow or seek suffering out, far from it! Invoking your inner strength and setting an intention to bring yourself back to the present moment as often as possible is a self call to action for a most wholesome approach. These small, gentle steps open a pathway to bringing greater self awareness in those moments of tension, anger, unease and resulting reactive behaviours.
We are familiar with pausing; counting to five, or ten and then responding, or continuing with what we were doing with less fire, which is supportive in not reacting with the original spark of fuel initially felt. Experiencing how a pause, a moment, to realise where we are and what’s happening can set us ready to respond, act or settle, depending what is most appropriate.
Like I may have done in the past, saving a dress for a more suitable occasion that ultimately never arrives, I am reminded that there are no rules or set occasions for saving an aspect of yourself for a time you perceive that is ‘best’ to be expressed. Tuning into and honouring those times of when we are being asked by our inner world to shine and share, with courage and love, we accept and respond.
As with all self enquiry and practices that are offered, I offer support and guidance with integrating tools and techniques shared. Feel free to reach out to have a chat, receive support or discuss any aspects considered in more detail.