I apologize for no post yesterday! The week got away for me, and before I knew it I was heading to bed last night, without having posted!
We started the discussion on Stop, Breathe, Reflect and Choose last week. This week we will take a look at the last two.
- Reflect on the fact that you have been "emotionally hijacked" by a self-protection system designed for speed over accuracy. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Your system is doing exactly what it is programmed to do. Emotional reactivity is a part of an automatic protection mechanism designed to defend against a perceived threat. You are neither your reaction, nor are you responsible for its existence. Once you become aware of it, however, and if you would like to reduce its negative impact, you are responsible for managing it.
- Reflect on the question: What else could this mean? Before assigning mal-intent, ask yourself, what is really going on? Is this person really intending to hurt me or are they in the grip of an unconscious habitual reactive pattern?
- Reflect on the fact that 'this is not that' and 'now is not then'. It might feel like a different situation but it is not. It might feel like the past, but it is not.
- Reflect on awareness = options. Just becoming aware of it (objectively observing or non-judgmentally witnessing an habitual tendency) means you have disengaged from it enough to see it vs. being unconsciously controlled by it. As a result, you are empowered to make a choice. Without awareness we have no choices and without choices we are destined to unconsciously repeat well-worn habitual patterns.
- Reflect on the fact that practice makes permanent. If I react the same way I will reinforce the pattern and get the same results. If I want to experience different results I am going to have to think or do something differently. (change the recipe)
- Reflect on your desired outcome: What do I ultimately want? How do I want to feel? Is the way I am approaching this going to bring me closer to that?
- Reflect on the need for an honest, non-judgmental appraisal rather than assigning blame, assuming guilt, or feeling shame. Notice, observe, witness objectively and impartially.
- Reflect on the fact that everything is impermanent and this will pass.
- Reflect on the fact that the outcome I am experiencing is a logical consequence of the various factors (causes and conditions) exerting influence upon me at this particular moment. Mix together flour, sugar, eggs, put it in a hot oven and you get a cake. If I want to experience a different outcome I need to change the recipe.
- Reflect on the many and varied factors that influence your emotional state - time of the day, hunger, fatigue, stress, social setting, physical discomfort, over stimulation, and boredom, are but a few examples.
- Reflect on the fact that we tend to inadvertently generate our own distress by holding onto unhelpful beliefs or perspectives.
- Reflect on the fact that it is not circumstance that 'causes' emotional distress but the view we take of it. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
- Choose to respond reflectively vs. react reflexively (this goes back to Big Self vs. Little Self)
- Choose to acknowledge, accept, and allow the emotion. Instead of resisting, fighting, running from it; turn toward it and embrace it as reality.
- Choose to liberate yourself from the tyranny of your unconscious habitual patterns.
- Choose to either take constructive action or look at things differently in order to decrease emotional suffering.
- Choose to take responsibility for the quality of your inner state and experience.
- Choose the best option under the circumstances. Given the way things are what can I do? Not what I would most like to do, that may not be possible in the moment.
- Choose to challenge irrational or limiting beliefs.
- Choose to practice radical compassion/acceptance/patience/trust.
- Choose to reprogram the trigger that normally elicits contraction & tension, by softening and expanding.
- Choose what you are going to do, not what you are going to make someone else do.
- Choose to recalibrate your expectations so they more accurately reflect reality.
- Choose to use humor and not take things so seriously.
- Choose to act in alignment with your core values, purpose, or intended way of being.
- Choose to write it down or talk to someone.
- Choose to move, stretch, or change location.
- Choose to emulate someone you respect and admire.
- Choose to view this as training or conditioning. Use this as an opportunity to practice mastering the art of not disturbing yourself by generating unnecessary bodily tension or telling yourself an upsetting story.
- Choose the true path to reduced suffering and increased inner peace by 1) taking skillful, constructive action that is within your control or 2) letting it go.
- STOP perpetuating the cycle
- BREATHE in & out
- REFLECT on what is actually happening
- CHOOSE something within your control
This week we will hold a group, however since I am posting this on Monday and the group is also today, it seems to be a moot point to post about the content of the group. If you would like to check it out, feel free to do so inside the FORUM.