Let’s continue our review of Sonia Choquette’s wonderful book (see the first post here). We learn in Part 2 how this learned awareness can help during everyday, stressful situations or with those drama junkies in our life (we all know many and are related to some!).
“Life is always full of drama and challenges, but you don’t have to overreact to any of it if you choose not to. You have the option of moving from being an emotion-laden reactor to a curious, aware observer. Breathing purposefully during stressful situations is intuitively intelligent, for it keeps you open to guidance rather than forcing you to succumb to a fight-or-flight stance that diminishes your awareness.”
I can best identify this need in someone else, of course, when they are overreacting to something and they’re stuck in their emotions. I’ve often had to use some of these techniques so that I don’t internalize their emotions.
“You can observe without absorbing… It’s a myth that caring requires commiserating. Caring means allowing someone space to sort things out without throwing your emotions into the already-overloaded mix.” Amen!
“It’s also important to listen to your vibes and not overtax your system. If you’re bothered by the clerk at the dry cleaner, the rude guy at the grocery store, or the other passengers on the train, then don’t frequent those places. Whenever you can, remove yourself from problems, and practice detachment when you can’t. My favorite technique for detaching is to imagine that the world around me is a wonderful movie to learn from and enjoy, but I’m not the star of it.”
I am so proud of Mr. B for how he reacted to losing his PowerPoint presentation the other night. His normal reaction would have been to start shouting at the computer and generally huffing about, but since 1) he’d tried that ample times before and thus realized it would do no good at getting his presentation back, 2) I was putting our sweet girl to bed and he would wake her up by yelling, and 3) I would not be pleased to have to start bedtime over again, he took some deep breaths and started anew. Woo hoo!!!!! I am super proud of him for detaching from his situation, thinking it through, and resolving it calmly. He even said he likes the second version better.
There’s a section of this part about your inner control freak. This part was written just for me, I think: “Another spiritual suggestion for remaining calm is to refrain from trying to control everyone around you. The more controlling you are, the more you’ll get lost in ego land and removed from your spirit.”
“The reason you listen to your vibes is to surrender control so that the Universe can step in and help you. God knows better than you how to take action in most situations, so relax, get out of the way, and let it happen. I’ve heard people say, “let go and let God,” but I love the way Choquette explains this idea of surrender as more natural.
I have struggled a bit with how to feel and think about my religious school class. Last Sunday was better since I was more positive, I added more structure, and I set and followed through with some limits. But… after the day was over and I was feeling defeated and tired, I realized that I could either hang on to those feelings or let them go. I wasn’t in the classroom still, right? Why go over and over the situation in my head, bringing me down and causing me to feel stuck? I decided to ask for help and then to let it go for now, trusting that time and good vibes would bring some solutions.
“Name your inner control freak and figure out what brings her around: Fear? Insecurity? Restlessness? Get to know what she wants so that you can give it to her and cut her off at the pass… Also, go to bed early, secure in the knowledge that God is in control, not you. Sleep tight.”
Besides not ruminating on something I can’t completely control, this approach has been helpful. It allowed our director to think of ways to help me, it allowed me peaceful mental space to think of other things, and it’s reminded me of what I like about teaching in the first place.
I can’t physically control it all, though I often try. It’s actually been a relief to allow myself to let some thoughts and worries float away.
What about you?