Saturday, September 28, 2013

Life is Like a Roller Coaster

Here we are, the equinox has occurred, summer is officially over and the days are getting shorter. I haven't yet put away my summer clothes, still hoping for some more of those hot summery days.
I was reflecting on all that has happened in 3 months- starting a new chapter in my life, moving, time spent with friends, new beginnings, some endings. There have been many beautiful memories this summer, including spending a few days with my oldest son, daughter-in-law and three gorgeous grandkids.

One day we went to the fairgrounds and spent the day going on rides. One thing I have learned on this journey of life is there are ups and downs, just like the rides. When life is on the upswing, all is well and I am filled with joy and gratitude, all things are possible. Then, like the roller coaster, sometimes when I start on the downswing I am filled with exhilaration and anticipation, and other times I am filled with fear; for whatever reason, real or imagined, I am triggered and my mind goes into panic. My primitive brain wants to protect me, and I am caught in that awful cycle.
On a roller coaster you can't stop at that point, you have to feel the fear and go right through it. Yet in life we sometimes let that fear stop us, and don't get to enjoy the exhilaration at the end, the satisfaction of having completed it. It is all part of this journey.
This past week has brought some downhill fears, created by my thoughts. Thoughts like, 'what will happen to me financially, will I end up a bag lady? Can I really get my business up and running again?' Along with those thoughts come feelings of loneliness, fear and worry. I know that is old conditioned thinking, my brain returning to old neural pathways.
What helps me is to stop and focus on my breath for a minute or two.

 I practice a mindfulness technique STOP- I Stop and Take a few breaths, focusing on my breath, breathing in peace and breathing out stress, breathing in peace, breathing out stress, breathing in peace, breathing out love, and continuing on for about a minute or so; then I Observe what is going around inside and outside of me- what I am thinking, what I am feeling, the sounds I hear, what I smell, what I see, then I Proceed- ask myself what is the most important thing for me to do next. And do it.

 If that doesn't work and the questions still persist, I take each of the questions and ask myself if it is true right now? So for instance, with 'what will happen to me financially, will I end up a bag lady?'- it helps to know that is a fear many women have (thanks Sarah ban Breathnach in her book "Peace and Plenty"). I know I am financially okay (and always have been- something always unfolds for my highest good) and it calms me down.
And if that doesn't work, I do something I enjoy. You may want to write a list of those things that bring you joy (I call them touchstones)- such as listening to music, singing, walking, talking to a loved one, a bubble bath- and then when you need to change your mental state, pick one and do it! At one point a few years ago I bought some bright butterfly stickies and put a touchstone on each of them and posted them on walls, on mirrors, all throughout the house, so when I felt blue, I would read one and go do it and raise myself up a bit on the emotional scale.
(And sometimes we need a little help from a technique like EFT or Sedona Method or someone else, such as a counselor or body worker). It is really about staying grounded in the present, not letting the past or the future get in the way, and taking one step at a time.

Action Steps

Notice your thoughts and next time they are taking you on a downhill ride, choose to do it differently. You could ride it through, not letting the thought or feeling stop you, or you could really embrace it then let it go, or STOP and do a mindfulness technique- or do a state change by doing something you enjoy- or choose to put your hands up in the air and enjoy the ride- or remember our thoughts are just thoughts, we don't need to buy into them.

I would love to hear of the techniques you use!

Until next time, be good to yourself! YOU are your greatest asset!!!
Norma Reid, Life Coach and Trainer
If you know of someone going through a transition who might benefit from this, please pass it forward.

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