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: 

  1. Call someone I trust. I can say what’s in my head out loud, so it loses it power
  2. Write a list of facts vs. feelings.  This brings clarity.
  3. EXERCISE!  This gets out all that stagnant and nervous energy.
  4. Get quiet.  I can meditate, pray, or simply take a walk.
  5. Leave my phone at home.  If I don’t have it, I can’t use it! Detach. Detox.
  6. Do things that make me feel empowered.  Self-confidence can make me remember who I am. 
  7. Connect.  Get social. Meet a friend, go where people are. Talk, and express yourself.
  8. 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

Chase ElderComment