Hello lovely souls,
On the 8th day of Excellence, we talked about how to create a routine that gets you inspired & fueled to move towards the realization of your day & goals. Creating the right mindset is half the battle of taking charge in your life. When we feel lethargic or depressed, it always become much harder to build motivation to complete our tasks.
In most cases we can snap ourselves out of it by putting one foot in front of the other (physical & mental) until we get back our momentum, until those pesky negative emotions get stamped out by productivity & sheer willpower. But sometimes in those rare moments, no matter what we do, we simply cannot shake off the shadows that lurk in the dark corners of our minds & follow us around.
Today we will try to impart upon you some insight behind these moments so that we can all try to understand how it happens, how to recognize it for the next time & most importantly, what effective methods we can use the next time we fall into these spells.
Please heed this advice with a grain of salt, what we have learned have come from a background of anecdotal & legitimate research. If you feel like you’re suffering from mental, physical & physiological issues that seem out of the ordinary, please seek medical & professional help. There is no shame in having something that is usually defined as illness. Sometimes those are the cards we were dealt with in Life, but the longer we ignore it the more harm we will bring upon ourselves. Trust your gut & try to seek the answers you’re looking for.
The mental battlefield we find ourselves on is equally as important as the physical ones. In the past, general society has dismissed mental health issues as ‘’imaginary pains’’ & ‘’unreal problems’’ from lack of medical research or social influences. Luckily, nowadays we have much more support & information available. As a whole, we have become more open & understanding about these situations.
The most common predicament we find around us today are Anxiety & Depression. They can stem from General Anxiety to more serious, life-threatening cases. We’ve all experienced bouts of Anxiety before; where we find ourselves overwhelmed by forces that impair our way of life. A racing heart, shortness of breath, confusion, depressive thoughts, self-doubt. There are many reasons & causes for this – childhood trauma, unfavorable experiences & even chemical imbalances. We won’t go into this here but again, please seek professional help or do your own research.
Our Minds can be fickle things. It’s amazing to step out from the land of “taking everything for granted” and think that we are responsible for all that we perceive, think & feel. If you think about it, without this ability we wouldn’t be US. we are home to our mind & consciousness. We have the potential to literally manifest what we desire & need. We got an amazing tools which governs the physical vessels hold memories, draw inspiration, make logical choices & determine how we live our lives. Our minds are a wonderful thing & we are grateful to be blessed with such unlimited power.
But our Minds can also be our worse enemy, it can also set traps. In some situations, the Mind sets a trap for us & usually without warning, plunges us into a headspace of self-deprecating thought patterns & habits, immobilizing us, making it hard to make effective & positive choices.
So we hope the material we’re sharing today helps you in some way to get out of that funk & carry on being the Excellent human being you are.
Now, we’re not talking about any big stuff like having killed someone or commiting a crime; which would make the feelings of guilt & remorse somewhat justified. Instead, we’re talking about ordinary situations that for some reason, get skewed out of proportion by our Minds & leave us frozen & wrapped in static.
These negative & dis-empowering thinking processes love to declare at the top of their lungs ‘’You should not have done this, you should’ve done that instead’’’ & endlessly projecting ‘’Oh, if you would have done that way instead of this way, now you would have this happening ( all sort of positives), instead now this is going to happen (all sort of negatives)’’. These vicious cycles that our Minds offload on our laps are both fascinating (in regards to how our brains work) & exhausting (at how effective they can be).
As we’ve mentioned before: ‘’Where our attention goes, energy flows!’’ It’s so very important to remember this – what we feed, grows.
It reminds us of the American Indian story of an Elder telling a story to a young child that you may or may not have heard before.
‘’Within all of us, are two wolves. The Wolf of Light who projects Love, Kindess, Understanding & Wisdom. This wolf represents all the goodness that can be found in the hearts of Man.
Then there is the Wolf of Darkness which feeds on fear, anger & resentment. It is the Wolf of bad deeds & evil. This is what you see when Man cuts destroys his environment & kills people.
These two wolves are in constant battle, always at each others throats, fighting for dominance.
The child asks ‘’’Which wolf wins?’’
The Elder replies ‘’’The One you feed.’’’
There is a special resonance with this story as it applies to all of us. There has always been a duality between Light & Dark within us, and with a little bit of tweaking we can see how this applies to today’s subject. For most of the time, we create thoughts that are generally ‘’good’’ in nature. Thoughts that serve us & the greater good in a positive way. But on occasion the Dark Wolf within rears its head & has the potential to spread ‘’bad’’ vibrations to & around us.
It is important to try & understand ourselves & headspaces the best that we can. With self-reflection & awareness we can eventually recognize the thought patterns & connect the neural dots. As we understand more & more of our inner workings, the clarity it brings becomes essential in the manifestation of positive experiences, forming new behaviours & inspire new habits.
When we were younger, we remember spending days & weeks torturing ourselves over small matters. Insignificant in the grand scheme of Life, they always seemed larger than life back then. Oh Goddess, puberty & the rush of hormones, emotions & acne was a wild ride for us. Any little thing could unleash off a torrent of negative thoughts, the slightest infraction could spark a roaring bonfire of rage. Looking back upon it now, we may laugh or wince at our past actions but because of the magic of hindsight, we’ve learned much & evolved since then.
As we paddle through the stream of Life, we discard dead weight of negative behaviour & start searching for new, buoyant, empowering & transformative alternatives. It took us some time, but we eventually came to the conclusion that ‘’it was only truly in my mind’’, that is, the only place it could grow was in our mental garden. Think about it, anxious moments may be caused by external stimuli, but those feelings literally cannot exist outside of the mind. So if learn to let go of it in our Minds, then the issue would cease to exist in reality.
Letting go is always the ideal option, but when a lifetime of unconscious reinforcement & neural associations have been so ingrained in us, it isn’t always as easy as dropping a sack of sh*t. What we need to do is to exercise our mental, energetic & physical muscles that allows us to break free of these chains. Then by strengthening & repeating these new neural associations – new ways of thinking, new relationships between yourself & the things you do – the skeleton of a new, empowered, Excellent Being will be formed.
The first & most important thing to do is to break the cycle! Cut of the supply & turn off the tap! When you catch yourself falling into the pit of dis-empowering situations, the first thing to do is to initiate a short, quick, breakthrough action.
When we find ourselves on a sea of uncertainty & anxiety, we feel like a balloon caught in a storm. Our usual sense of orientation is gone, our mind jumps from one bad thought to another like a drunk cricket, spinning in an endless vortex of a thousand negative resolutions, our heart rate goes up, our breath becomes shallower & shorter, our heads feel foggy & we feel a mighty weight upon our chests so that even the simplest decisions become as hard as obsidian.
When this happens, grounding & finding a Safe Space (explored in Day 4) becomes our first priority. We can literally use the metaphor in our mind by calling balloon back to earth and securing it with a lifeline, waiting for the storm to pass. We call this the ” The Heart to Earth technique’’ & is super effective.
By visualizing this action & breathing deeply through our bellies, we bring that balloon down to safe harbour. Concentrate on this simple action alone, try not to confuse yourself by thinking of the consequences. Say to yourself ‘’I am not in a condition to fly right now. I will stay grounded until the storm has passed.’’
Can we control the storm? You bet we can’t, so rather than try to force our way through it, we can either bring our balloon down low or land it.
Landing the balloon does not imply being immobilized on our sofa still thinking about the storm raging on in our head. It means proceeding with our ordinary lives without using our mind too much to try & resolve the issue. When we get a cut, it heals better when we leave it alone than when we keep picking at the scab. By giving our Minds a rest from the situation at hand, we allow ourselves some breathing space. As mentioned in Day 8, by completing small tasks, we get the Pavlovian feeling of accomplishment & achievement. So that’s what we want to focus on. Crochet a beanie, draw a picture, take a walk. Any activity that helps you take your mind off whatever is bothering you will actually help yourself in the long run.
The storm will pass. With it, the skies will clear & show you a clear path towards your answer.
There are also other ways to navigate our personal oceans that will bring peace & clarity. Taking care of our physical needs are another way to ground ourselves. Much of our mental states are intimately tied to our physiological workings, so an intervention with your body could just be the trick.
– Take a deep breath & focus on your breathing. If your breathes are shallow & light, try to focus on expanding your diaphragm & breathing deeply from the belly. Feel the oxygen flowing through your nose & filling you up. As you exhale, imagine that air flowing through all parts of your body; from your head to your fingers & toes. Breathing gives us life & oxygenates the blood. It brings nutrients & energy to our bodies.
– Do some stretching. Even 5 minutes in bed will help start the circulation of blood & loosen up parts that have been tense & tight. A simply yoga routine like Sun Salutations are perfect for waking up & exercizing joints & muscles.
– Meditation is a great tool for stilling anxious, overactive minds. It can be hard to get used to at the start, but with patience, meditation invites peace into your life. Rather than stop your brain from thinking altogether (because that’s like trying to empty the ocean with a thimble) it’s more effective to imagine yourself as a mountain. Solid. Immovable. The thoughts that come into your mind are clouds. They float by your perception & instead of interacting with each cloud (which is what we normally do with our thoughts), allow them to float on by, through you & away from you. Observe the clouds simply for what they are, not what they contain. As they leave your view, do not lament at their passing, because they are just clouds. More always comes, but in the same way that a mountain isn’t affected by the passing of clouds, neither are we bothered by our thoughts. Meditation is about being the observer of your inner workings rather than being a slave to them.
– Complete your daily ritual. If you’ve already done that, make another one!
– Treat yourself to a meal or a treat. Go to that icecream place you’ve been eyeing out. Buy yourself a bag of sweet potato chips & read a book.
– Go somewhere you rarely go. Nature is always a fantastic option; a peaceful river or natural forest if you’re near one. If you’re in a cityscape, then a park or library will do just fine.
– Put on your favourite songs & dance barefoot! Smile, laugh & shake your body to some tunes!
– Have a cold shower, or a hot one if you prefer. Draw a bath, light some candles & relax.
– Forgive yourself. We don’t realize that we do so much; from our jobs, responsibilities & activities, our bodies & minds work tirelessly 24/7 to help us out. Take a moment to sit in front of a mirror & say all the things you like about yourself. Give yourself a hug & express gratitude for being alive & in this body. Empower yourself & be proud of who you are.
– Go for a massage or if you can find it, an alternative healing session like Reiki or Pellowah to cleanse & realign your energies.
After you’ve done some of these activities & feel empowered again, then you’re welcome to return to the situation & see it from a different perspective. Usually an answer comes to you & you see that it wasn’t so bad after all.
Now, after the storm has passed & we feel like we’re back on track, it’s time for some self-reflection. Do you remember the empowering questions from one of the previous Days? Now’s the time to ask them so that we can learn something new to add to our library of knowledge.
“What can I learn from this situation?” “How can I be the best version of myself having learned this new thing about myself?’’
Everything in Life is all about balance & moderation. In Taoist philosophy, they talk about ‘the crooked line’, that middle point between Yin & Yang that allows us to see both sides of the equation clearly & neutrally. Because the more perspectives we can see, the more possibilities we can manifest.
Finding the balance between activity & calm can take a while to learn, but like with everything we’ve discussed so far, the more you practice it, the more natural it becomes.
We are the captains of our own ships on this endless journey we call Life. Others might try to take over or your crew of emotions might try to mutiny, but at the end of the day, you are the Captain. The choices you make are yours & yours alone. The consequences that come from your actions are yours to uphold. Do not worry, it’s not as daunting as it appears. We may be on our own ships, but this ocean of Life is full of ships. Each with their own captains & destinations. We are not alone unless we choose to be. We have all the tools & instruments we need at our disposal & once we know which ones to use, we are invincible.