Sometimes things happen that throw you off balance. Emotions flare up, then they make place for a certain sadness and finally if we are lucky, we find resilience and lift our heads up again.
Natural Compassionate Response or soft Blob
Now, you should know that my work is all about being response-able, giving a mindful response. About checking in with yourself first, so you can calm the nervous system. And in this calming-down, the qualities of the heart can find space and ground to surface and feed into your natural compassionate response.
This doesn’t mean we are supposed to turn into some non-judgmental soft blob. It simply means to notice what is going on inside of you and to try to respond in a manner that is wise and closest to your heart. A response that can be gentle ánd honest and open.
The Mindful Magic
There is a gap between stimulus and response and it’s not just where the mindful magic happens; it’s really the only bit we have any control over.
An example; Last week something happened and my initial response was that I was angry (pissed off if you wish). I was feeling it in the shortness of my breath, my chest felt tight and there was a churning in my gut. I decided to feel into my body: the one thing that never lies. I felt dis-ease for sure and part of me wanted to be right, wanted to make a point, to (need I say it) voice my Opinion. But then I decided two important things: I choose movement and stillness.
The solution is in the senses
Some people ‘sits ‘n think’ in a calm and contemplative way to figure out next steps. Other people go for a run. Both are good examples of ‘a way-in’ to help you come to that middle place, where you can get calm. A place where you feel rooted.
I decided to go for a walk in the woods a few days in a row. The physical motion, crispy morning air, the smell of fresh young Spring leaves, influence my mood and I was feeling calmer. My mind still talking, telling me all sorts of stuff, going through 10 different scenario’s, moments where I speak up, be heard. Essentially, it moved me away from the truth of how I was feeling. Really, I was just sad not mad.
Next, I decided on the mat; I meditated. I did an attention-practice first, followed by a guided loving-kindness meditation. My breathing slowed down, my fingers and toes felt tingly and my chest feels expanded. Suddenly I noticed that I was hungry, and my belly make a noise. I still felt a little bit angry but as I looked at myself from a distance, from the outside-in as it were, I could also feel myself from the inside-out.
As I rested into some resignation and into the silence, I went to grab a bite. Suddenly I felt refreshed, almost newish.
Nothing was different. Nothing had changed. Yet I had.
Coming from that grounded place, from my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical root, I could truly respond in a real and compassionate way to myself, the situation and everyone involved. My response-ability just took a leap.
Calm and settled in the roots of who I am, I started the day.
Barbara writes about compassion and takes a positive approach to health. She supports leadership and teams in their personal development. To cultivate what are often referred to as ‘soft skills’ and what she calls the ‘hard skills’; Presence, practicing Deep listening, a Non-Judgmental Attitude, (self)Compassion, (self)Awareness.’
“By connecting to yourself first, you become more resilient.”