I sent a text to one of my clients who was dreading a trip with someone with whom his life is very intimately intertwined; a loved one who often gets upset or acts out. When that happens, this client feels very ‘little,’ as well as wrong, scared, angry, and wanting to GET AWAY! At the same time, he wants very much to support and be with this loved, and also to not put himself into so much turmoil.
Having worked in our session to realize that his reaction was all an ‘inside job,’ he got to the place where he could re-image this trip as a safe, memorable, and even cherished experience. In the event that his travel partner starts to do things that make it feel otherwise, I ‘assigned’ him five things he can do to shift his emotional state. I decided to post them here for you, since these steps work for any stressful situation.
Many of you see how efficiently and completely your shift out of pain is when we work together, and often ask me what you can do to make that kind of shift even when you are in the thick of a stressful reaction.
Now that you are learning how to use what upsets you to later go back into situations and inquire into what you were believing, there are a few steps you can take ‘on the fly’ when you find yourself in the thick of anger, fear, and disconnection. I sent them as a text to this client as he was leaving on the trip; they work like a ‘short-cut’ for me to help powerful unwanted emotions wake me up while they are happening! (And whatever shows up is perfect.)
The ways you are letting this work evolve you will eventually decrease almost all forms of reactivity; and yet you can’t function beyond the level of your current evolution. First, you will become conscious enough to observe old patterns but not yet be able to change them; while also noticing that you do not want to keep repeating the pattern and letting yourself stay in a painful victim stance.
No matter where you’re at in your Work, you can celebrate whenever you become conscious enough to observe whatever painful patterns are left. It’s great that you suspect there is another response available to you–one that feel like love for yourself and all involved–even though you are not yet able to access it.
This was the cheat sheet I sent the client (I added more to explain for readers what he found in our session; the ‘short version’ is at the bottom of the email in the PS, if you want to text it to yourself):
Quickie Steps to Restore Peace and Connection
“Hi There! I trust you trip will be prefect. Sending the little cheat sheet to your phone so you can just be “checking your text messages” whenever you start to get anxious or angry or shut down and want to return to your most innocent yet powerful self.
When you feel clueless, remember:
You DO have a clue! (I’m just here to remind you what you found in our session.)
You’ve done your work; these little shortcuts can shift back to dependable peace and delicious connection with yourself (which always takes care of your connection to others!) if things start to feel “bad” again while on the trip.
When you feel yourself reacting, excuse yourself for a moment and go the restroom or outside. If you can’t, just breathe and try these ways to come back to yourself; just reading them and doing any of the steps that you can in your head may help restore you to peace and presence:
Visualize the wonderful, happy, loving intention you had for this trip (or anything you’re doing). 1. Breathe and notice the outcome you are fearing, and remember you’ve already discovered for yourself how even the ‘bad stuff’ is happening FOR you–not to you. Trust that what’s happening IS part of the intention you held for yourself and the other.
If that doesn’t shift you back to peace and connection, 2. Notice what thought(s) you have started believing. How have you placed mind-made conditions on how you, the other, life/love needs to show up in order for you to feel safe and happy? (“What they are doing means…. about me or about what will happen in the future”). Or where do you feel a need to defend and ‘get them’ to see you the way you want to be seen? ( “I need them to….”). Or where you are abandoning or beating yourself up (“I did it wrong.”…. “I should have…” etc.)]
When you find the thought/story that scared you or shut you down or made you mad at yourself or another, write the thought down; if you can’t, then just hold it with compassion and curiosity. Notice what hurts about believing it. 3. Ask yourself, “Can I absolutely know this is (was/will be) true?”
4. Ask yourself what you are REALLY wanting from the other or from your situation and give it to your dear self. This will lead to clear decisions about how to act with clarity, power, and love. [Get all others our of your mind; it’s not really about them. Visualize putting the littlest part of you in a snuggly; hold it close. Take a moment to feel your closed-down heart open and let energy flow between YOU and the innocent believer part of YOU. Ask yourself what you really want and find a way to give it to yourself, even if only symbolically or later.]
Once you’ve attended to yourself, and when you truly feel strong enough (which may not even happen on this trip), 5. Notice how you want to be treated by them and notice how good it feels inside to treat THEM that way. Remember it’s not a “ME vs. THEM” thing; you don’t ‘lose’ by letting them ‘win.’
[Remember, this is about YOUR inner peace. Treating them in a way that feels good to YOU doesn’t take away from you; it actually gives back to you and restores the flow to your own heart. Here the bigger part of you sets the tone for yourself & transforms it from a win-lose (which is a no-win) to a win-win situation. YAY YOU!]
It may help to remind yourself three things:
- You already inquired and found for yourself that you are not responsible for creating OR fixing their emotional state. Let their reactions be theirs and keep the focus on yours.
- You have already discovered through your own inquiry that there is NO SUCH THING as an inherently bad event or outcome;
- You are just helping your monkey-mind get ‘right sized’ in it’s worst-that-can-happened proclamations; in knowing that you ‘don’t know,’ you feel safe and cared for no matter what is happening.
BOTTOM LINE: It’s all an inside job–outside events and others’ actions are irrelevant to your level of happiness, except that they act as a mirror to reflect what you are already doing to your self and others to which you were blind.
That leaves us all with some really good news:
- YOU get to take charge and be the hero for the little one believing those scary thoughts–the amazing parent of you. That little-one’s well-being is not in others’ hands unless you put it there.
- When you are too little and just can’t find that hero part of you, that’s ok! It takes a village; that’s why you hired me. Call me or turn that inner little one’s care over to God/Life. Start that by turning it over to your breathing.
- YOU get to set the tone for your inner experience of this trip (life). Not by forcing it, but simply by questioning the thinking that robs you of your connection to what is here for you no matter what: Unperturbable Peace, Inherent Safety, and Love without Conditions.
Love you! Have fun.”
Please leave comments and questions below, or reach out to me personally (see contact info below).
PS – Here is the short version of the cheat sheet; to text to yourself!:
1. Breathe and notice the outcome you are fearing (Remind yourself you’ve already discovered that your mind can’t know what outcomes are “good” or “bad.”)
2. If that doesn’t shift you, notice what thought(s) you have started believing.
3. Write or hold the stressful thought and ask yourself, “Can I absolutely know this is (was/will be) true?”
4. Ask yourself what you are so wanting from the other and give it to your dear SELF.
5. Notice you want to be treated by them and notice how good it feels inside to treat THEM that way.
(If you want to get some support with a situation where you feel clueless, feel free to email me (email@example.com or call me +1-301-785-0545 or use this link to set up a time to talk: firstname.lastname@example.org)