There is an impending heavy snow on the way…you are scheduled to catch an early morning flight to your best friends wedding…you are the officiant and must be there. Oh, and the wedding is in Peru, and you just realized your Passport is expired.
How do you react? 99.99% of us would react pretty poorly to this scenario. We might become frantic, hysterical, angry. We may rant and rave at our own short comings, the universe, our friend.
Stuff happens, all the time. Stuff we have some control over and stuff we have zero control over. Our reactions we can control, but only if we make a conscious choice to do so. We are human and our stressors are many. Our cortisol ticks up at the slightest provocation let alone the disastrous scenario above. We can cut ourselves some slack for reactions which are less than dignified. Some of us struggle more with this than others.
I’m one of those people who is so very quick to react, to say the first thing that pops into my rapidly moving mind, to make a face, quip or dig. I have struggled with this my whole life. Intellectually I know my reactions could be slower, softer, more mindful and measured…I try, but often fail.
The greatest tool I have found to regulating this is Yoga and meditation. Both of these powerful practices help us to learn to stay in the moment and slow down. Connect with what is, not what was or will be. Focus on the breath and learning to harness the power of your breath allows for self-regulation of the nervous system and ultimately more calm. More calm means more presence and more presence means less dramatic reactions.
Less dramatic reactions lead to healthier relationships and a healthier you. How we choose to react is energy. When we react with hysteria we fuel the energy around us into more hysteria…think mob scene. Our reactions are woven in a tight energetic bond sending out signals to the collective consciousness at all times.
The energy of the current news media is a perfect example. Stories and reactions fuel the collective cultural response. Even something as benign as an impending snowstorm can whip up the collective energy. Reactions, like kindness create ripples. Think about all the reaction ripples you have created in your life. Sometimes our reactions bring a ripple of incredible love and grace, sometimes quite the opposite.
So continue to do the work, pay attention to your reactions and the reactions of others without attachment, judgement or censure. There is information to be gathered through them. To react is part of the human condition, to be human is to grow. Allow your reactions to feed your growth, patiently one breath at a time.