I love that quote. I see us all on the earth busying ourselves like ants on an anthill, scurrying around toward some perceived end that never arrives. It sometimes feels like that doesn’t it? It’s no wonder at the end of our lives people wished they had slowed down and savoured the journey.
First of all big news!! My book is now available on Amazon and soon to be in bookstores. You can order it by clicking right here. Now on to blog #167…
I was once at a yoga retreat where on the first day our leader gave us the instructions for the weekend. One of the instructions was: before you speak, ask yourself..
Is it kind?
Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Speech is one very powerful way we can practice mindfulness, conserve energy, slow things down and improve relationships. Think about it for a moment. How much time do we spend rattling things off, ranting, complaining, gossiping, nagging, guessing? Don’t get me wrong, I love a good connection that perhaps involves just plain ol’ chit-chat, it’s all about the relationship. But if there is an area of disagreement, do you find yourself standing strong in your corner of the boxing ring, ready to come out like Muhammed Ali, or generally grumbling under your breath hoping you’ll be overheard? Over time, I have found that often nothing needs to be said or reacted to, and the situation solves itself. Of course there is a time to speak up loudly, very loudly in fact, but it does help to pause and ask the 3 questions and also ask what you want the outcome to be.
In my 20’s I was very much an activist. I rallied and protested and even helped organize an anti-APEC summit in Vancouver in 1997. If there was an issue, I was for or against. No middle ground. I was someone who responded to everything, good or bad. When I felt slighted or misunderstood I would respond immediately. If I felt unrest, I would address it. If I didn’t like what someone was doing, I would stew until I could blurt it out. Oh my, I feel exhausted thinking about it. These reactions are all to preserve the precious ego that is concerned with saving itself.
Each time Mr. Trump tweets he has a little adrenalin rush in that moment. We all do, technology is meant to do that. Used repeatedly, it bypasses whatever else is going on inside like any addiction. How powerful to righteously tweet to the world all the thoughts that go through his mind. Imagine the rush! But I bet if he slowed down for just a moment before he angrily pressed send, he might find his anger was just a cover for feelings of hurt, helplessness, insecurity and yes, even fear. However it creates more unrest, more conflict, more reaction both for himself and for others. He’s not the only one… who hasn’t pressed ‘send’ then regretted it? Who hasn’t reacted with anger when below was something entirely different?
He must be either exhausted or running on adrenalin. Imagine the energy he could conserve by slowing down and using his time to proactively address the problems in a sustained and intelligent way.
What we need in the world is not more bomb-throwers, but more bridge builders. Nelson Mandela was a bridge builder. He had every reason to come out of 27 years in jail angry and embittered. But he chose not to. You can too.
Do you want the roller coaster approach or the steady, even, sustained path?
Try it now: Widen the gap between the trigger and the response. Before you press ‘send’, make a habit of taking a breath. When you feel anxiety, tension or anger, breathe or go for a walk and allow it to settle before reacting. You may find that no reaction is needed, or a different response is needed.
Preserve your energy for all those wonderful things and relationships that are far more important than ego-saving. If you want to practice widening the gap, I have a few offerings for you:
Join our Thursday mindfulness class, 12-1pm, $5 drop-in, Askews Uptown Community Room
Breathe to Heal: A relaxation/mindfulness class, Monday Nights 8-9pm, Kula Wellness (see poster at the end)
New!! Want some one-on-one supportive counselling to get going and find practices that fit for you? I am now offering telephone/Skype sessions to help you define your problems and goals and find solutions that fit to find peace now. To find out more click here.
To register and pay for a class or all 8 classes online Click here.
Have a great week everyone,