Moving from the Reactive to the CreativeApr 04, 2023
Most of us find ourselves bouncing from day to day, dealing with everything that's coming at us: the job, the boss, the kids, the bills, social media, the meetings, trying to stay ahead of the competition, losing that extra weight...
It's endless right? And don't you feel sometimes like there's this weird inner driver...that's like, 'When we get THAT done...THEN we'll be good!' And then...there's no THERE there!
Truth is, our circumstances are just that: stuff that's happening. And it's kinda up to us to shift our orientation to those circumstances...as tough as some of them can be.
And trust me- I, too, have 'circumstances' (which is a really nice thing to call that kidney stone episode last Thursday! OW.)
So I'm not preaching at you. I'm in the choir with you.
If you're here you're PART OF THE CHOIR! We want to improve our ability to create lives that we love, am I right? I think I am...
So let's start with a few simple ways to shift gears...to move our nervous system OUT of the reactive mode...and towards the CREATIVE mode.
1st, a quick list:
There! Feel better????? haha. jk.
Here's how to apply this goodness:
- Pause: when something happens that's causing a knee-jerk negative reaction, it's a clue that you're about to fall into the Pit Of Reactivity (aka: hell on earth). And all reactivity- yes, all- is based in your history. That's how the brain works. That lightning fast processor between your ears zips through the files of your experience, and lines up the closest version it can to what you're experiencing. DING! And activates your response system to recreate the original version of your current experience as you're perceiving it. All of this happens in a nanosecond.
- If you have a fear of dogs...either because you had an scary experience of one as a kid, or because a parent always told you that you would, not to trust them, to stay away from them...when you see a sweet little puppy dog walking towards you down the street, you'll feel something...like fear, dread, anxiety...no matter how harmless this little cupcake is. Because you're not really experiencing THIS pup...you're experiencing your nervous system's response to the topic of 'dogs are dangerous'.
- Until you start practicing a mindful pause by noticing your reaction, and choosing to work to stay present, and really assess whether or not there's any real danger, you'll always react as you have in the past.
- For instance, when you notice your reaction, and you want to see if you can choose a different response, just start with the phrase: 'Ok...now...that's interesting...' and introduce curiosity to this moment.
- Breathe: The fastest way to down-regulate the nervous system is to breathe consciously. Slow your breathing. And in fact, try what's called a 'Box Breath':
- 6 counts in through your nose;
- hold for 3
- 6 counts to exhale through your lips, like you're blowing through a straw
- and hold for 3
- Repeat 6 times. Take note of the shift in your energy. Better, right?
- Watch: In this space of the pause for breath, notice...watch...your thoughts. What are telling yourself? What thoughts are you repeating? Are they yours? Do you know? Maybe you hear your mother/grandmother/uncle/older sibling? Try to catch the negative messaging. This is the entry into the advanced way to give yourself permission to...
- Choose: ...a better-feeling thought. Yeah, I know. If you're scared, really triggered, this can take a minute...but it's important! Your personal power is inside your ability to become the thinker of your own thoughts. Sounds so easy, right? I know. Trust me. when I was on all fours on the floor, flattened by the pain of my kidney stone...trying to talk myself out of believing that I must have some terrible tumor...the only thing I could get to was the breath...staying with my breath...and watching my thoughts racing to assess this 'danger that had attacked me in the middle of the night'.
- Survival systems are STRONG! And survival systems respond to anything that they perceive as 'dangerous'.
This process, whenever you get fired up, is the real way to your personal freedom. I promise.
I know it ain't always easy. But I promise, it's always worth it.