Transition is so hard. We often have strong reactions to transition. We will drift into our fantasy or stories about the past or dream about the future. Having hopes or wishes is not a bad thing however it important to notice when we do too much mental analysis. Often we spend too much time in our thoughts.
When faced with transition we will respond. Either push it away or deny it; would rather hold onto what I had or have right now. Resist that it is changing. Or we can’t wait for it to change. Ready for the future right now. Think about it over and over. But when the moment comes we aren’t really there. We are still ahead of ourselves. Or worst yet we get to that goal and still blame, judge or have an excuse. Another common response is to be indifferent. Bored in other words. We check out of now and start to develop a mental task list of something we think is important. “I have to remember to get the milk”. We are more than our thoughts though.
Now saying this and recognizing it is really hard. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. It isn’t important to stop our responses though. Many of you know I teach a specific meditation called Mindfulness. However many I’m finding really don’t know the difference with this compared to other Meditation practices. First of all, there are many styles of Meditation. Think of it like dating. There are many styles and one may not fit all. My preferences can change as well.
So let me briefly explain Mindfulness. Mindfulness is not set on relaxing or destressing. Yes it may do this but it also many not. Instead of tuning out – we turn in. By turning directly into now we may take notice of our reactions and pause. See exactly what is there right then. Sometimes what is there is not always peaceful or calming. So you want to make sure that you do this safely. If you have had a trauma find an experienced teacher. A video or phone app won’t be able to watch and help you safely.
So why practice Mindfulness?
Sometimes by seeing what is there we can strip away some of its power. A common way I do this is just in daily life. For example take me in busy Washington, DC traffic. Here I am driving in heavy traffic. Suddenly there is a stop. I can see for miles break lights and stopped traffic. “What is going on? Why have we stopped? I wonder how long this will take. Will I be late now?” As I pause I can start to feel my chest and my breath shorten. I reach for the radio to catch the traffic report. It reports nothing. “Of course”. “I wonder which lane I should be in that will move faster. Maybe I should get out of this lane.” Now I have to deal with what is here, which has human nature all around me. The cars that also have drivers that are upset; so they honk, try to cut in and out and some start to smoke a cigarette in hope that it will calm down. Everyone caring only about themselves. “I have someplace I have to be”. “I should have taken a different route” I think to myself. “I should have left earlier”. When I use the word Should I call it “Shoulding all over myself”. It has become my word to stop and notice. Sure it is helpful to set goals and notice – maybe next time do something different. However life will always toss things at me that I can’t avoid. So sometimes I have to see it and be with right now. Just as it is. It is a hard place sometimes to be.
So when I let go of the reactions, even of fixing or resolving here is what happens…. I go past my intial reactions. What can I do right now? Lets see. I turn off the radio. Look up at the sky. “It is an amazing day”. “I’m so glad I have a cozy car to sit in.” “You know if you are late, others will be late too. There is nothing you can do about it – simply call management and let them know.” However not all my reactions will be stress releasing. Sometimes I drift into worry again. “I hope we move soon because I have to use a restroom.” “I really wish the person in front of me would move and get off their phone”. “What does that bumper sticker say?” Finally I get past the accident. “I hope everyone is alright”. Then I move on. Of course often that is to the next traffic problem. Then I have to repeat.
Sometimes viewing around me doesn’t help though to steady my thoughts. So I let out a big breath or big scream. Yes you heard me – scream. I let it go. Also sounds help me to release. Feels so good and then I start laughing. Deep inside there are places this starts to help including the tightening of my legs, stomach and intestines. If I’m lucky my sister will be around and I can call her. Laugh and remind myself that I’m just this little spec and the universe is so large. There is more than my traffic problems. If she isn’t around maybe I can find a song that makes me feel happy and sing to that.
Now I get that not everyone practices Mindfulness but what I described can be done by everyone. It doesn’t mean I am perfect and walk around all day thinking about peace and love. But with practice I can shorten the times of anger and fear and lengthen my experience with healthy good feelings; which impacts my wellness.
So here we are in the US right now going through the shift of power as our US President is changing. Big transition is happening. Some are happy about it, others not at all and others are indifferent. That is reactions.
In my case I don’t quite like it. I want to hold onto what we have right now. I don’t understand how we got here and sometimes I’m off worried about what will happen later. I see it, but I also don’t have to spend all my time in my head or thoughts. I also don’t need to watch the news all the time. My reactions are what I’m responsible for.
I will be at the Woman’s March this Saturday and I’m sure many will have various reasons for being there. Mine are to walk in silence to witness the day. Also silence is quite an amazing experience to have. If have never done a silent retreat or day of silence try it.
This Saturday I’m planning on taking in the day, notice all the love and sisterhood/brotherhood around me. I won’t be worried about my phone or social media to capture the moment. I will be in the moment. I also find when around a lot of noise and people that being still or silent helps me deal with the stimulation.
I’m hoping that for Saturday we can come together, with all of our differences and demonstrate that each of us are in-charge. Each can make change happen. The person in the White House is working for us as well as those in other elected positions. So my intension for demonstration is not out of fear or anger but with love and compassion. With less resistance to transition or change maybe we can let go of the pain that has reared itself physically within; ie shallow breath, tight chest, lack of sleep or short temperedness.
Maybe we can just let that shit go …. or more importantly let that IN.