In the midst of challenging times both personally and globally most of us find that our minds are in a very unsettled and anxious place. Typically, this results in one of two outcomes in our behavior. We either go into shut down mode and retreat into a lethargic depressed state or we move into overdrive and attempt to channel that energy into a to-do list of action. While neither one of these is the right or wrong approach, the key is staying aware and connected to our bodies and feelings in either scenario.
So often we slip into auto pilot and find ourselves being driven by old behavior patterns and this is particularly true when we are in survival mode and dealing with fight or flight energy. One way this presents itself is in the push energy of overdrive. We want to complete the task, check the box, and often ignore signals from our bodies that we need to slow down. It can feel unsafe to stop because all of that energy we are channeling into efforts and results has to be felt instead.
We essentially have to stop running our favorite program of coping and become willing to titrate our experience with life in a new way. That “new” way may look like exploring how it would feel if we didn’t finish the project, push to get all the chores done, be there for everyone whenever they have a request or need. What if we were willing to follow our impulse to take a pause, say no or God forbid, not complete a project that we started. By tuning into the body’s wisdom and cues we can begin to create this new way of being.
This works equally well if our pattern is to move into shut down mode. By retreating in defeat, we are telling ourselves a story that we can’t handle what is being presented. But is that really true? Again, we can be willing to titrate our experience, listen to our inner wisdom and become interested and curious in exploring a new way of being. When we interrupt these automatic programs with awareness and curiosity, we create the space for new explorations and unchartered territory to enter our lives. This is a good thing because life is movement. Stagnation and patterns of behavior and thinking are not where we experience growth, evolution or resolution to the dilemmas of life. As Einstein famously said, you can’t solve problems with the same thinking that created them.
In order to get to that new thinking, we have to be willing to notice where we can begin to introduce new options for responding and dealing with challenges that are outside of our rote patterning. As with all change this is a gradual and incremental way of working with ourselves and the world in the most healing way possible. Because what the world truly needs most is awake people living awakened lives.