I rushed to the airport so I would have ample time before my flight home. With time to spare I slowly sauntered to my gate. The flight boarded a little late and here I sit, now an hour and a half behind schedule for takeoff. New announcement: Flight delayed another 2 hours so please deplane. It is official: I have another opportunity to practice patience and in this complex world, sooner or later we become experts!
With plenty of time to ponder what I wanted to do while I waited, I was pleased with my ability to go with the flow. Years back I would have gotten quite frustrated and agitated. Okay, I was still a bit put off, but for the most part I was able to relax and get some work done.
Stressful situations seem to lurk around every corner and we get to choose how we want to respond. Time is going by whatever we are doing and even though the plane was not moving, the clock was. So , in my hurry to be there on time, the results were not up to me.
My lesson today is: My need to make sure I had more time than needed caused me some stress and what did I gain? Another few minutes of waiting and a good blog topic!
Let me know in the comments below how you deal with traveling? Are you able to take things as they go, or does frustration take over?
When I hear the phrase trick or treat, it reminds me of how we are often the mind plays tricks on us.
We see through the filters from our personal history, clouding what is really in front of us. Our reactions and decisions are based on this information.
It takes practice to really see what is happening beyond the stories of the mind and when we can do this, we can live with more clarity and ease.
Give this a try:
- Look at an unusual object
- Say what your immediate perception of the object is (it might remind you of something).
- Now, take a look at the object from all angles.
- Report what you see without any opinions- just report what is actually in front of you.
- Notice what the difference was in your original report and what is actually in front of you.
Let me know in the comments below what you noticed. Was your original report different? How do you think you can use this in your daily life?
Most of the time when we get angry or hurt, it is because we take things personally. We get hooked and react, which not only takes us out of the moment but negatively impacts our physical well being.
Much of our reactions come from family members. We have history with them and when they do something that annoys or hurts us it is because we have made it about us. In reality, it is about them- their thoughts, judgments and behaviors.
I once heard someone talking about how her parents really push her buttons. Someone replied: Remember, they installed them!
One of the most difficult challenges in relationships is to let other be who they are, quirks and all without layering our objections and reactions onto their behavior.
The key is to realize it is really not about us at all, it is about how they see things. When we are able to see this clearly, we can come back to the here and now and go about our day with peace and ease.
In time, maybe those buttons can be uninstalled!
Let me know in the comments below how you react to family. Do you take their behavior personally? If so, can you make a shift to stay in the moment?
I was at the airport boarding my plane. In front of me was a frustrated mom raising her voice to her child while holding her heavy carry on in one hand and a baby in the other.
My first reaction was judgment at how she was speaking with her child.
I took a breath and asked her if she needed help and she did not hesitate to say “YES”. Her voice was still curt but and she said a quick thanks.
There are opportunities every day to practice kindness even when the tendency is to judge. Remembering that we are all human, doing the best we can helps us see beyond the behaviors of others.
The most powerful practice (and toughest to attain) is to let go of any attachment to their response and treat the person you are helping with compassion, as another human being, no different from yourself.
If I had stayed in judgment or frustration of her behavior I would have felt tense and agitated. When I choose to be kind, my state was calm and centered.
Let me know in the comments below what your experience has been and how you feel when you practice kindness.
There are times in conversation when we are thinking about our response before the other person is finished speaking.
We interrupt without thinking, which is frustrating and dismissive to those around us. Often it is a knee jerk reaction and the thought is out before you catch yourself.
When this happens, our minds have left the moment.
If we are thinking about something else while another is speaking, we are no longer present in the conversation.
Try some mindful listening:
- While the person is speaking, feel your feet on the floor.
- If you feel the urge to speak, focus on your breathing to guide yourself back to what the person is saying.
- Make eye contact while you are listening.
- Have a 5 second rule before you speak (that is my husband's suggestion!)
- If you are unsure about something stop and ask them what they mean, rather than feeling lost in the conversation.
Let me know in the comments below how this works for you. If it did not work, what do you think happened?
Un-Hook from Reaction with 5 Simple Tools
Relationships can be wonderful and rich, but they also often challenge us.
Those we care about the most can easily frustrate us. Our significant other, our children or parents hook us and we react.
Many times the feelings are justified, but the problem arises when we respond with inappropriate behavior. Yelling, stomping and name calling is harmful to both you and those around you, and your frustrations can lead to these behaviors in a flash. It is like being blindsided by a car. You did not see it coming until it is too late, but the damage is already done.
How can you step on the breaks instantly?
Here are some simple tools that can help:
1. Take a breath
2. Feel your feet on the ground
3. Put a visual Stop Sign in your mind
4. Walk away and talk later
5. Bring to mind someone you care about (it might be the person you are reacting to)
What do all of these tools have in common? They bring you back to the moment.
Try one or all of these tools and see if it makes a difference. If you react to others in emotionally harmful ways, and later realize that you should have used one of the above techniques, you are already on your way to change. Please share what worked or did not work for you in the comments below. Feel free to contact me with any questions.