How to PAUSE
For When the Going Gets Rough
I have been a city dweller for about 15 years now. That is an awfully long time for a gal from a small town in Florida to be roughing it in NYC. I only say roughing it because you need a lot of money to live here comfortably, and that has never been my case. I do alright - I have enough to survive and buy new shoes. But I try to get out of this city as often as possible, because I learned early on that if I did not, I would actually start feeling insane. Irritability, anxiety, and stress are common emotions in New York City.
Recently, I took a trip down to Texas to visit some dear friends and their new baby. I thought it would be an awesome trip to have around the holidays. I love them both so much, and couldn't wait to meet their new addition. I left on Thanksgiving eve, so I woke up that morning to an empty apartment and the very rare occasion of…SILENCE. I began to panic. All I could hear were my thoughts, and there was nothing I could do to run from them. I decided to do some yoga at my apartment and meditate. Dharmapunx for guided meditations and Dharma talks. When I arrived to Texas, I was so excited to see my friends and have that connection. I was welcomed into their home with a delicious meal, and a sleeping baby. I went to bed grateful and happy. When I woke the next morning I was no longer feeling serene, instead I was overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, and dread.
Here is what I noticed: I had no where to go, no agenda, and no distractions. I couldn't sit still, and I was reliant on my phone to keep me pacified. My thoughts were so fragmented and I desperately needed a task. I chose to focus on the baby, but even a beautiful little angel baby couldn’t get me grounded. My primary purpose was to be present, and of service to these new parents, and I was incredibly frustrated that I couldn’t rise to the occasion due to my overly active brain.
I function fantastically in chaos and high pressure situations. Some would see this as an attribute, but when you are trying to CHILL it is not very helpful. I think that when the PAUSE sets in, my fears get louder. I have a choice to run from them, or confront them and take action. In the past, I would have chosen avoidance and acting out, but those days are long behind me. I said to myself, “OK Chase, let’s look at what’s really going on here, what are you so scared of?” I got out my journal and wrote a list, it looked something like this: Money…Future…My relationship…My job…What happens if…How will I ever… This is normal for most people, fear is common, but I think it’s harder for some of us to feel it without unraveling. Once I wrote it out, it became clear that I was frightened of losing control. When you rely on an agenda and your comfort zone to feel safe, it makes perfect sense that I would feel threatened by the loss of that. Then I thought, okay, well now I know why, what can I do? Here’s the list of actions I took:
- Call someone I trust. I can say what’s in my head out loud, so it loses it power
- Write a list of facts vs. feelings. This brings clarity.
- EXERCISE! This gets out all that stagnant and nervous energy.
- Get quiet. I can meditate, pray, or simply take a walk.
- Leave my phone at home. If I don’t have it, I can’t use it! Detach. Detox.
- Do things that make me feel empowered. Self-confidence can make me remember who I am.
- Connect. Get social. Meet a friend, go where people are. Talk, and express yourself.
- Get excited. When we comfort these types of feelings, we grow, and become more courageous.
Anytime life starts to feel overwhelming, there is always an action I can take. The biggest mistake is inaction. Be brave, be courageous, and let the feelings happen. You will only learn from them.
Check out RECIPES for a snack to cool down the nervous system