Everyday we are faced with unexpected challenges and surprises. No matter how diligently we try to control every facet of our lives, shit happens. Many of us immediately react to these unforeseen crises viscerally. But what if there was another way?
We have the power to CHOOSE how to react. What if everything is happening just as it should? What if every so-called calamity or upset can be turned on its head into a positive/learning experience? Here is a recent example of my own. I was driving a friend home from work the other day and hit a pothole that was so deep it popped my tire upon impact. The next day, I was stranded downtown with a flat tire, no one to call, and a packed day of yoga classes with no way to get to them. I immediately reacted and panicked. I let my mind run.
Eventually, I calmed myself down and got the help of a roadside assistance company. Everything was fine, the wild stories I had created, hyperventilation, and panic was all for naught. Did I really have to experience all of that? The answer is a resounding “no.” I had the choice to react that way. We are not vehicles of our emotions. With practice, we can hold dominion over our monkey minds.
The world is as you are. When your perception opens up in here, so does everything out there -Deepak Chopra
So many of my yoga students are living in a state of chronic stress and anxiety, reacting to every blip in life. So many of us have fallen victim to our surroundings, believing certain reactions are necessary and out of our control. Here are a few examples: reaction before a big test-anxiety, reaction to a missed flight-anger, reaction to relationship issues-jealousy, reaction to not getting your dream job-sadness. The list goes on and on.
By no means am I advocating not feeling every emotion that comes your way. But instead of absorbing each story, thought, emotion, etc. and letting it define you and change your day, be the master of your mind. Watch your reactions like a movie, without judgment. Observe, feel fully and then let go. I used to have a volleyball coach that encouraged each player to slap the court floor with every mistake we made to symbolically let go of the last play and move on without absorbing our mistakes and letting them affect our future moves. What if we took this approach to our daily lives?
Next time something seemingly shitty happens, feel any emotion that pops up, experience it fully and then let it go. Slap that shit to the floor, and move on with your day. You are more than your mind and more than your body.