Being Graceful When Triggered

I can recall so clearly what happens when I am triggered. It still surprises me when I am, but I also know that it will pass when I let myself feel what’s going on. I used to think that being graceful was putting on a brave face and not showing how hurt I was.  Rather than storming off and vowing never to speak to that person again …. I guess I’ve found my own way of finding grace when triggered.

The Argument

How dare you!! 

Come into the present moment and notice

the pounding head, the clenched jaw and hands in fists

the thoughts that spark like fiery daggers

Don’t control me! I don’t want this! I don’t need you!

Feel the tears and absolute frustration

the vulnerability at being in this place of hurt and loss.

Loss of control. Loss of connection. Loss of understanding.

Become that wee girl too young for words

crying girl

She knows this place. This sheer frustration. Hurting and not knowing why.

Let this rage turn into one of your biggest breaths ever

Open your mouth and gasp like a fish

take in the air that nourishes and calms

Let it out with a cry from your very soul.

Let the tears roll. Feel their heat running down your cheeks.

Breathe

Feel the energy dropping through you like a stone

allow it to release and pass through the mesh that’s your body

Feel the unburdening and letting go

notice the softening  in your body, your thoughts and your being

Say hello to this vulnerable part of you

Feel the relief and the love

You are still here.

And now you are ready to talk about what just happened.

Namaste.

Are there Missing Words from the Serenity Prayer ?

Most of us are familiar with the Serenity Prayer. It’s moving and inspiring.

“God grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

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I was reading it online and noticed some variations. Different words were emphasized.  Look at the interpretations below:

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Which words resonate with you?

No matter which words resonate, it dawned me that there may be some missing key words for me and some of you.

These are:

Controlling – Letting Go – Trusting

To me the Serenity Prayer is about letting go of control and trusting to something bigger than ourselves.

When you read the Serenity Prayer, instead of it soothing you in a “I wish it could be” sort of way,  think about how you can really bring it into your life and what you might consider differently. How can you live this wisdom?

One very practical way is to think in terms of what you are holding on to in order to feel in control and what is controlling you.

From the abstract bring it into the specific.

From the ideal make it work for you here and now.

What aspects of my life are controlling me right now?

What don’t I control but have been trying to?

What do I need to let go off?

What could I control that I have not?

Where can I trust where I have been holding back?

Just like the Serenity Prayer, when we see a new perspective it opens up choices.

Why not take a moment and consider what could you let go of or take action on to find serenity in your Middle Ground?

Surviving the Holidays

One of the biggest stress makers during the Holidays is when you spend an extended length of time with your family. Here are 5 tips for finding your Middle Ground … and feeling more balance this year.

perfect thanksgiving family

Let’s face it, spending 24-7 with anyone can be stressful, so here is some wisdom to help you make it through this year with less drama, tears and opening of old wounds.

1. Lower your expectations. This isn’t the movies, this is real life. And life has its ups and downs! We may put a lot of work into the decorations, food and the family setting to make it look perfect, but it can it really be like in the movies? Accept that there will be emotional baggage being brought into the house and through the Holidays. When we recognize that, we can think about how we want to handle it – before we get triggered. So reset your expectations and accept the reality that things don’t always go the way you planned them or hoped for.

2. Let it go. Have you ever noticed that you end up having the same argument or rehashing old sore points year after year? It’s time to let it go. This is not the time to get into an argument wishing your mother would not interfere in the kitchen. She will. Let her. It’s what she has always done, so be kind and let her feel useful.  This year resolve not to get sucked in. If your brother, sister, cousin, father, daughter or son  has a tried and true aggravating behavior … take a moment and ask yourself. Can I let this go this year? Is this truly a battle worth fighting?…. What’s more important to us as a family?

3. Be smart and be present with what you are saying and doing. Don’t over indulge as a way to escape. You can’t control other people, but you can control your own attitude and behaviors. If you want this year to be more peaceful and loving,  then take action that comes from kindness rather than being right or getting back at people! Whenever you notice you are being judgmental and critical, then take a deep breath … and choose to be kind. Resolve not to add fuel to the fire but to be the peacemaker.

take time out

4. Take a time out. If you find yourself starting to feel resentful or lashing out in your head, give yourself permission to have down time. Leave the room, take a walk, have a bath, take a nap, meditate or hit a yoga class. You need to unwind and recharge – and that’s okay. Encourage others to do the same. We all need a break from being “on” 24-7. Remember that laughter and deep breathing release dopamine and serotonin in our bloodstream and make us feel good.  Direct that pent up energy in a positive way and let it move through you!

5. Appreciate. Make a list of the positive reasons to spend the holiday with your family. There must be a reason, you show up every year! – And the family does too! Pull out the list whenever you hit a rocky moment. One thing about families is that you’ve got a long history with them, and unlike your friends, you have no choice.

On the other hand your family are just that – yours. Be grateful for them. Without them you may not be here …. and you would definitely not be the person you are today.

Resolve to let gratitude in, keep your heart open and be present.

p.s. Refer to the guide on practicing being present by clicking here.

* A Self Love Inspiration for Today

“The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the others welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

blue door to our true nature

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread, Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.”

– Derek Walcott, “Love After Love” 1974

No matter what has happened in the past, all your past experiences have brought you to this present moment.

Let this awareness open your heart in loving kindness and gratitude.

Now is the time to come home.

Find your Self waiting with open arms.

* Finding Middle Ground at Kripalu

Kripalu LakeI’m just back from 10 days of yoga training and retreat at Kripalu Health and Yoga center. It is truly an amazing place. Kripalu means compassion in sanskrit …. and the center and people reflect the message in everything they do. It is a place where seekers come to find their Middle Ground. How cool it is to be in community with 57 classmates all on the same path.

Its one of the most nurturing places I have been to…. as well as a stimulating learning experience from masterful pranayama and meditation teachers Larissa Carlson and Sudhir Jonathan Foust.

I’m looking forward to sharing some of the insights and learnings here and in my yoga classes, as the stirred up mud settles in the water.

floating lotusNamaste and Jai Bhagwan!

Beginning …. to Find Your Middle Ground

Where do you find direction towards that place of contentment, peace of mind and connection? Your Middle Ground?

The first step is all about self discovery – really getting to know yourself.

Often we think of ourselves in terms of the roles we have in this life – in our families as parent, sister or spouse, or at work as an employee or professional, or in communities as a neighbor or volunteer etc. We’re so bound up with others that we miss getting to understand ourselves. We think we know ourselves, but we often only see ourselves in relation to other people.

Ask yourself,  “Who am I … without my children, my grandchildren, my spouse, my career?”….

Take time to get to know yourself and become aware of who you really are – your natural talents, core beliefs, values, needs, passions, triggers and fears. Much of what you will discover has come from those around you … yet there is so much more that is uniquely you! So freeing!

woman freeWhen we start to explore who we are, and see all aspects of ourselves,  we can become authentic in the world. No longer trying to live up to others’ expectations or playing a role. Our mask can be set aside and we become free to let our true nature shine through.

You become more grounded and confident, courageous and compassionate.

In my experience there are 2 ways to get to know yourself in this way:

Being Mindful

The first way to self discovery can come from yoga and the practice of mindfulness.  Noticing without judgment what is going on in your mind and your body, and acknowledging  it is incredibly powerful. I recall times on my yoga mat, when my left hip flexor tightens for no apparent reason. In the beginning I wanted the discomfort to go away and so I worked to stretch it out even more. Taking it to its limits in order to bring it into my idea of what it should be. Of course, I came across more resistance and more contraction instead. When I realized it needed some tender loving care and I backed off, the pain dissipated. I swear that hip of mine hears my thoughts!

Once you see and feel more clearly, you can choose to respond more skillfully and appropriately. My biggest lesson about myself in yoga is letting go of needing to control and accepting the way my body is….. and not to trust my thinking as being the truth.

Getting Curious

The second way to self discovery  is by taking  a coach approach and getting curious. Start to ask  yourself and answer these questions:

What are the best moments of my week?Woman journaling
What brings me happiness and joy?
What do I do at an excellent level?
What am I afraid of?
What beliefs, values and needs are important to me?
(Tip – Notice what makes you angry, because it is usually a belief or value that has been transgressed or an unmet need)
What do I want that I don’t have?

…. What else comes to mind about who you are and what you want?

In this place of questions and discovery, you may find it hard to access this inner part of yourself, or lots of judgments come up……. and that’s okay. It shows that there is room to grow into your true self!

This is just the beginning.

I truly enjoy connecting with those of you beginning this journey. Please reach out to me privately if you’d like a guide and supporter:

 

* Red Sox Win Brings Out Hidden Treasures

It was a surprising night last night! The Boston Red Sox won the World Series on their home ground. The last time was in 1918. WOW!  It was a great game! Don is a big fan and was glued to the TV. He rode the waves of hope, fear, hope, disappointment, and then the amazing high of winning. He felt the thrill of the great hits and catches. He was right there with every emotion surging through him.

Red Sox win World Series

What was special however, was not that the best team in the world won, but that he felt his brother’s presence right there with him. There was a sadness that Joe is no longer here to share in these moments, but also a heart warming surge of love and appreciation for his little brother and the times they had together. In the highs and lows of the game, this was his middle ground.

For me, the game was exciting, but what opened my heart was the shining appreciation and love in the eyes of the Red Sox team. Did anyone else notice all that love pouring out of Dustin Petroia?  They had come together from being the worst team in the league to being the best team. They could do it, not because they were the most talented and skilled, but because they respected and supported each other. After the posturing of conquering heroes, there was a softening and tenderness in them all. That’s what I will take away from the game.

Others may celebrate the victory, but I celebrate the love and connection in humankind.

Its is always there – through winning and losing. It is our middle ground.

Namaste