First, some questions to prime the pump: How do you feel when that car cuts you off on the freeway? Or does your stomach sink when you see that letter in your mailbox from the debt collector/your ex/the IRS/the credit card company/etc.? Or has your boss become your least favorite aspect of your job? Or are your in-laws your least favorite part of your marriage? Or do certain numbers and names on your phone’s caller-ID make you cringe? Or do you get triggered when your partner say something a certain way?
Life comes at us from so many angles, and frankly there are times when it is not clear sailing. We occasionally (more perhaps for some than others) face challenges, upsets, piss-ossity in some part of our lives, be it a specific situation, environment, person, relationship, task, etc., collectively labeled in this conversation as the storm. Then you get triggered into being upset, and you feel it viscerally. Perhaps it is anger, irritation, frustration, fear, anxiety, nervousness, panic, or some other negative emotion, it is an experience you don’t enjoy or look forward to.
This, dear reader, is a storm. A storm that reduces your ability to thrive, that depletes and hides your willingness to love, to laugh, to feel joy. The storm is also something that can transform our lives if we learn to harness the power that resides within the storm. That choice places us at the eye of the storm. Everyone has the societal and recognized set of tools to deal with these storms. Perhaps it is the classic task of counting to ten, or the attempt to remain calm and breathe slowly all while the excrement hits the rotating ventilation device!
Storms do have a tendency to vary and be unique each time they hit, and in like experience, the challenges change too. You can only count to ten so many times, or take deep breaths in an attempt to calm yourself again and again. That may work, for a few times. Eventually though, the storm will connect and you will be at the effect of whatever it is you let upset you. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Not! What you need are better tools to handle your storms, a storm response kit you can use to keep you centered at the center, the eye of the storm, more often than not.
The power of your tool kit is you will spend less and less time in reaction, at the effect of others, of the world, of the media, of the boss, the in-laws, those authority figures you pedestalize (!!). This radical approach requires both courage and awareness to accomplish. First, it requires your awareness to catch yourself before the automatic upset storm hits, to become aware of your inner state changing in response/reaction to what’s happening outside your physical self. I’ll break that down a bit in a moment.
The most important factor to remember is, you have freedom of choice. What? Many people believe that there is no choice when something happens that upsets them. Upsets happen, just like storms. Can’t do anything about them, can’t stop them, can’t control them, at best the only thing they can do is avoid them by running away! Actually, not so. You have the power to choose whether to get upset or not. Yes, you.
Let’s run with this. If there’s a choice, other than being upset, what choice can you make that will produce a different result? Hmm, think about that question for a moment. Ponder the possibility! When you’re ready, read on, and I’ll offer you some options to play with. When a stormy weather system moves in, the air changes and most people can feel the change in the air and they know it’s coming. It’s similar with an emotional storm.
You will recognize the signs that it is happening if you feel the beginnings of being “upset, because…”. Just fill in the blank! The University of Santa Monica (my alma mater) reminds its students (and alumni!) that most of the planet is caught up in “I am upset because . . . “ and specifically most are focused on the word(s) following the “because” which is the route of the reactionary. What if you chose instead to respond instead of react? The path of response is not well-trodden by most. However, for the bold and willing among you, it is rewarding beyond measure, and very empowering too, as you will no longer be victim to outside circumstance.
That is powerful and freeing indeed. Your healthier, freeing and effective choice of response is to put your attention on the upset itself, not on the because. Why? Focusing on the “because” is like trying to put out a fire by pouring kerosene on it. One guarantee from this mindset, is you are bound to end up in repeat performances of the same upset, again and again. However, if your desire and intention is to be master of the storm, to be in the eye of the storm, putting your attention on the upset itself will lead to the revealing of the internal trigger for that upset, and through that resolution is available. This is the place of being at cause, rather than in the place of victim and effect. Imagine an egg that has a crack in it. Putting pressure on the egg will likely break the egg open at the crack, whereas if there was no crack, the same pressure may not cause any damage at all. The same holds true for your internal triggers. You are more likely to react if someone or something catches one of your triggers whether consciously or unconsciously.
Rather than focus on the external input (the because) that caught your exposed sensitivities, you focus instead on the sensitive area of your consciousness, you can effect a change in your being so that you will not be at effect or react to that previously irritating and provocative input. Not only have you stepped into the eye of the storm, but you’ve also stepped to a higher perspective and a much healthier and freeing place. This is the realm of the eagle!
To recap: The eye of the storm is a place of calm when all around a tumultuous storm is raging. The only problem with storms is they don’t tend to sit still! If you don’t move in sync with the storm, inevitably the storm will hit you when you least expect it, and your efforts to remain calm and neutral will be for aught! So another step is needed. Functioning at the level of the storm is not ideal, so it is more empowering and freeing to get some altitude above the storm of effects as the eagle flies above the clouds and embraces the sun. This is not avoidance. It is conscious choice and gaining mastery of your own domain. I think my hint about the eagle may have provided a clue! In a similar way if you can see from a higher vibrational perspective, not getting triggered or reacting, but seeing the upset for what it is, you can step above and out of the emotional storm in front of you and be free. I am not speaking of avoiding, ignoring or dissociating from it, I am proposing an opening to a deeper response that embraces and is not sucked into the storm.
Life, for many, tends to be a journey filled with storms and bad weather. Whether it is the emotional challenges or financial hardships, illness or legal troubles, there are storms in our lives that derail our sense of well-being. I know if you are reading this, you own experience includes perhaps one or more of these opportunities. I’ve been there myself, so I know that these are definitely opportunities. Opportunities? Ah yes indeed.
This is the deeper work, and that which I am blessed to do with my clients. If my blog has assisted you in any way, I am grateful, and I definitely appreciate you sharing this with your friends. If you wish to take action and grow your eagle skills, I serve individual coaching clients and also have some rather special programs and packages for those committed to transform their experience in relationships! Contact me directly for more information. If you wish to stay connected and go deeper in this journey, join my mailing list.
As always, your comments are welcomed. Thanks for reading.