There are certain situations in life, people, environments, things, smells, that trigger the beast in us*.
I’ll lay it down. Last weekend i got ants in my pants (or should that read “angst”) when opening an email from a person that brings out the beast in me. Immediately i became reactive. Annoyed. Angry, yeah, angry! I got warm, irritated and my breath was short in pace. After five minutes of this tantrum (including various frowning faces at the screen), i paused for a second, watching myself, behaving in such a (ridiculous) way. Hold your horses there girlfriend. What’s up with that? (working on slang and phrases, still).
I had allowed myself to take a trip down to a place of not-feeling-good, and it resulted in not just a mental but a (worrying) physical reaction that was not serving me, nor the person involved. Not that they knew, but energetically man, not ideal. It’s reactions like this that caused me to delve a little deeper into what was occurring (that one was for you Mama).
This is it: Our bodies are a map of our lives. Everything we experience is readable. If we don’t process the stuff, it’s going to irk us forever. So let’s deal with it shall we?
In stressful situations cortisol and adrenaline are released into the bloodstream. That’s where i was at, right there, pumping that stuff away. Perhaps if i’d taken a run or rigorous disco, i might have processed that excess hormone (which is present in us to aid us to “fight or flight”), but if it doesn’t get used up, this means trouble in paradise. By paradise i mean your body. Your haven. If we don’t process the root and result of that ill feeling/experience/emotion/reaction, in the long term it can make you tighten up, weaken your immune system, lead to anxiety and numerous other stress related illness. No cool huh?
So what do we do, if say we’re in the office, we receive a stonkingly annoying situation on our plate? It’s not always possible to take a furious sprint amid our colleagues, so what can we do? Well, a number of different techniques are available. Many we are already familiar with, for example, taking a deep breath or 10! Breathing is underrated. It is our JUICE and a natural high that’s available to us right now. It helps us think, function and feel better. Can we pause for a mo and breathe? Feel better? Got more than a mo? How about this gem from Kira Ryder, i’ve mentioned this goddess before but find this technique so useful for getting back to centre.
One of my fave yoga teachers Elena Brower stated: “Most of the time we are engaged with something difficult, it’s usually due to a lack of balance somewhere”. Checking in. I considered this statement as i reflected on my reaction to my email(s). Of course, this was true, i realise i felt completely disempowered by this person, and it was all because i had allowed this imbalance to occur. Instead of being assertive, honest and clear, i was taking on too much from this person and then trying to blame them for it. Wrong! I ate a plate of humble pie. Reconsidered. Breathed. Reconnected. Got back to centre. Felt gooood. Recommend it.
So this week was inspired by another one of my “lessons” and we got familiar with the PRACTICE of balance, but not as we know it. Often we consider “balance” as a verb rather than a noun. Instead of trying to achieve the ultimate state of balance (think, “oh great i have everything under control, the PERFECT career, house, partner, kids, appearance, life etc”), we can focus on the ART of balancing. It’s a constantly evolving process. We can bring our attention to parts of our lives that require it, and look at exactly what we do with that attention. How do we (re)act? Behave? Speak with ourselves (and thus others)? Can we conduct ourselves without judgement, criticism or that nagging voice of wretched horridness that has nothing nice to say? Especially when things aren’t going the way we think is right?
Take tree pose, for example. It’s often one of those poses we might notice how weight shifts around in our feet, legs, hips and arms. Perhaps we sway, or fall. But trees are never completely still. They live, and grow, and are subject to the elements. The branches move, but the roots are sturdy (yet also moving!), steadfast and grounded. Just as we will never be completely still and steady, we’re constantly making continuous tiny adjustments to maintain a posture or work with a situation. On and off the mat.
It’s interesting to explore balance a little deeper when we begin to lower our eyelids whilst trying to hold such a balance. If we begin to squint through our eyelashes, we might notice perhaps we become less stable, or our attention is drawn to the weight shifting through our feet, and the constant refinements and adjustments we are making to stay centred between the four corners of the foot. Sometimes being reminded of this, the effort and amazingness in how we approach balance, is a great perspective tool. Centring.
It’s ok to fall. This is what we call practice.
We try, because we are all capable of greatness.
If we fall over, let’s allow ourselves to fall over, without adding anything extra to it.
Just smile, breathe and start again.
Or not. Often your choice in this situation (and how you speak to yourself in those moments) is hugely revealing.
Although a new week dawns and yes, things start to fill up the diary, to do lists are upon us and possibly dread at accomplishing everything we need to do, keeping up appearances whilst being fabulous, let us just for a moment, think about what is important. Yes, great, be focussed, ambitious and wonderful, but don’t let the monitoring objectives define you. Do what you can and know that you are enough. Ensure you rest well. Get good food inside you. Connect with lovely folk who treat you the way you deserve to be treated. And most importantly, be kind to you.
Love always – oh and almost forgot, here’s a Spotify playlist for your bones!
Oneohtrix Point Never – Replica
Broadcast – Chord Simple
Au Revoir Simone – Shadows – Jens Lekman Remix
Sbtrkt – Hold On (feat. Sampha)
Yuna – Live Your Life
Grimes – Genesis
Janelle Monáe – Tightrope – Feat. Big Boi
Warren G – Regulate
Roy Ayers – Searching
The Microphones – I Want Wind to Blow
Callers – Perfect Pairs
Cass McCombs – County Line
Leonard Cohen – Come Healing
Lucky Dragons – Oh I Understand