Emotional Baggage and The Habit Of Self Compassion

Emotional Baggage and The Habit Of Self Compassion

Off come the shoes. And then the belt. Wallet, keys, phone, coins placed in a little tray on the conveyor belt and through the machine they go. I get to walk, shoeless, through my own machine, being scanned just like my personal belongings are. Just to make sure I’m not bringing anything dangerous with me on my journey.

Welcome to the airport.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have such a machine at home? A machine that would scan you as you left the house to start the new day. Scanning you to see if you’re carrying anything dangerous with you into the new day.

Not like a knife, or a gun, or a concealed explosive.

I’m talking about thoughts and emotions.

Which, at times, can also be rather dangerous.

Emotional baggage. The unfortunate carry-on. Often we don’t even know we’re carrying it. Probably because we’ve been carrying it for so long it just feels natural. The anger, the frustration, the narrative. Usually we just mindlessly take it with us as we start the journey of each new day.

For many years I was too angry and too frustrated to notice how angry and frustrated I was. A combination of anger, frustration, fear, doubt, and worry were readily present to some degree. The “feedback” of others was never welcomed, it was simply dismissed because I was the only one who understood my journey which somehow validated the baggage I was carrying.

Until I got past that “logic”, the baggage was never going to be put down. Until I was able to see and understand what was going on inside of me I was never going to own it. Until you own it, you’re never going to try and fix it. Because you don’t think it’s you who is broken.

One of the greatest gifts I’ve ever given myself has been the gift of compassionate self-awareness. The ability to compassionately look into myself and actually notice what I’m carrying with me. Good or bad. And not judging myself for carrying it. Self-awareness is in many ways just like the security screening at the airport. It’s allows me to see the concealed stuff I’m carrying with me, the stuff that could be emotionally dangerous.

Self-awareness isn’t always easy. It’s a process. An intentional process. Often, though, our self discovery is met with a non-compassionate response. How often do we habitually get mad at ourselves for feeling the way that we do? How often does our inner voice simply beat us down for somehow not being better, for us not being able to deal with what we are dealing with?

A more compassionate response? That took me some time to learn, and I’m still learning. It doesn’t change what is, but it changed how I dealt with what is. I now attempt to respond to myself in the same manor I would respond to a good friend. It sounds simple, yet we are often much harder on ourselves than we ever are on our friends.

I can assure you I still at times get caught up in the moments of anger, frustration, fear, doubt, and worry. I’m just now better being able to respond to them when they do arise.

How do you respond to you when life is getting the better of you? Have you ever simply stepped back and noticed how you respond? Is the anger met with more anger? Does the frustration make you more frustrated? Once we know how we respond we can decide how we can choose to respond going forward.

It’s not always easy, this compassionate self-awareness. Changing habits is never easy.

But creating new habits, habits of compassion which serve us instead of hurt us, is something worth working towards.

Photo by Lesly Juarez on Unsplash

Maybe Groundhog Thinking Is Holding You Back?

Maybe Groundhog Thinking Is Holding You Back?

Like that 1993 movie where Bill Murray relives the same day over and over?

How much of our own life is just a repetition of our yesterdays? Where Wednesday is nothing more than another Tuesday and Thursday will be nothing more than another Wednesday?

It can feel like an infinite loop. Never ending. We just get another day older reliving days that don’t feel much like we’re living them.

And even if we tell ourselves we want a different outcome, we habitually recreate more of what we tell ourselves we don’t want.

Our own personal version of Punxsutawney, PA.

Habitual and unconscious actions, thought patterns, emotions, beliefs, expectations, energy, and intentions simply create more of what already is. Each new day becomes the exact same day just with a different date attached to it.

At many points in my life, the outcomes I told myself I wanted for my life were quite inconsistent with how I was actually living my life. Mindset is a critically important component of growth and the creation of new outcomes. Without a change in my mindset, my desired new outcomes were really just wishes marinating in hope. Nothing was ever going to change because, actually, nothing ever changed with me.

Have you ever stepped back and witnessed what your thoughts and emotions and beliefs and actions have been creating? Will those same thoughts and emotions and beliefs and actions allow you to create any new desired outcomes you tell yourself you want for you?

There are many aspects of life which may be out of our immediate control. But our thoughts and emotions and our beliefs and actions are always under our control. They can work for us or against us, but they are always working. Either moving us forward, or keeping us in place.

Life is too short to relive the yesterdays which will ultimately hold us back from our desired tomorrows.

Gaining Control In Time Of Crisis

Gaining Control In Time Of Crisis

So here we are.

When I mapped out my vision for 2020 it never included the words “global pandemic”. Life has an interesting way of throwing the unexpected at you, doesn’t it? And while we often can’t control what happens in life, we always get to control how we respond to what happens.

Including global pandemics.

While none of us knows the exact impact COVID-19 will ultimately have, there is one thing I do know for certain…

I need the very best version of me to show up. And at a time of vast uncertainty, the one certainty is I get to decide how I will respond.

And so do you.

In times of crisis and uncertainty some of the first things to change are structure and routine. With an unexpected upheaval we initially are trying to simply understand what just happened. Often we shift into a defensive posture, retreating and playing small until things get back to what we would consider to be normal.

For me, structure and routine are essential right now. Having structure and routine and the discipline to maintain them provides me with a sense of control at a time where so much is outside of my control. It creates a sense of stability, creates positive momentum, it changes my energy, and it empowers me emotionally.

There are several key areas of my life I habitually focus on, and they are especially important at this time. These areas are the ones I know need to remain structured if I Continue reading “Gaining Control In Time Of Crisis”

Losing My Yoga Virginity

Losing My Yoga Virginity

Sensing I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, she invited me to move my yoga mat closer to hers…

I don’t recall the names of the positions or poses. I do remember diving into something I knew nothing about and doing it anyway. Trusting and allowing, even after the yoga instructor repositioned me right in front of the class so I would be better able to follow along with her instructions.

Yoga!

How did I find myself in this situation? I actually took a day for me to do something for me. A self care kind of day. Taking time off for me isn’t something I can often do. Maybe if I was a better organized person or if I wasn’t so good at making excuses, maybe then I would have found the time to do something like this sooner.

My day was spent at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health which on the surface doesn’t Continue reading “Losing My Yoga Virginity”