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Becoming less reactive and more responsive is a major part of the yoga practice. Learning to sit with strong sensation calmly can really be a life-changer– soooo many people move through the world as victims of circumstance❤If things are going well, they are happy?, if things are not going as planned, they’re terribly miserable?. If someone says something they’re shook. Life can, and will be an up-and-down experience if you don’t find a way to open to both those things that feel good….. and those things that are disappointing, heartbreaking, or unexpected.
You know, you can’t control what another person will do or say or want or need. You can not control what life will put on or in you path… but you can choose the way you’ll respond to what it is you’re given and there’s so much power in that.? A lot of it has to do with creating space between an event……. and your response to it. A reaction is generally coming out of our past~ You’ll know you’re reacting if things feel out of control. A response is coming out of our present. Something is happening, and we’re responding to the thing itself, in present time, without dragging history into the mix!!! When we feel “triggered” and exceedingly vulnerable, the tendency is to act defensively, to fight for ourselves, but if a loved one has upset you inadvertently, wouldn’t it be nice to have the space to give them the benefit of the doubt? -To pause and consider the source? To examine your true feelings and see what’s come up for you, before you lash out and say or worse do something you’ll regret? If a stranger cuts you off on the road, do you really want to give that person the power to raise your blood pressure and stress you out If your boss says something thoughtless, do you want to allow that to ruin your day, robbing you of hours you can never have back again?
There’s a beautiful concept at the heart of I Therapy. The idea is that a relationship happens in the space between you and another person. Not just romantic relationships, but also the space between you and your siblings, your parents, friends and colleagues, and the person who brings the mail to your home. The space between you and anyone else. The idea is that you get to choose what you put into that space. You can decide to fill it with your frustrations, disappointments, anger, resentment, boredom, or you can fill it with your ❤kind attention, your love, compassion, patience and willingness to truly listen and see.?
In order to make choices we’ll feel great about, we have to create a little breathing room between what has happened, and what it is we’re going to do (or not do) about it. If you’re in a “fight or flight” state, there’s no choice, you’re fighting, or you’re fleeing, but if you have a practice where you breathe when you feel challenged, the breath creates the space. Your ability to notice sensations in your body as they’re occurring can be enough to slow you down, so that instead of hurling something hurtful at your partner, or screaming in frustration at your family, you turn your attention to your shortness of breath, your racing heart, the feeling of the blood rushing to your head, and maybe you even get to the place where you can speak out about this stuff as it’s happening. You might say, “ Woah My heart is racing and I’m having a hard time breathing, this is probably not the right moment for us to continue this conversation, I need a few minutes.” Just like that, you have some space and time to observe what’s happening within you.
Maybe you’ll realize this present-day event is reminding you of something very, very old, maybe it’s hit a nerve. It could be that something in the interaction made you feel disrespected or unseen or unheard. Even the best people say or do thoughtless things sometimes, no one operates from her highest self in every moment. If someone truly loves you, they’re not going to hurt you intentionally, but when we feel disappointed or attacked, there can be a tendency to ascribe blame, or to assume intent. Space gives you the chance to recognize what’s happening within you.?
It might not seem intuitive that 12 deep breaths in would set you up to breathe more deeply when you feel enraged, but it does translate. An intense sensation in your quadriceps is not so different from an intense sensation in your chest. Rage creates sensations all over the body..you know..? The shoulders tighten, the jaw clenches, the heart races, the blood boils. These are all sensations. If you have a mind and a nervous system trained to deal with this kind of experience calmly, you also have the power to stay centered, to be aware of yourself, to really know yourself, and to be accountable for what’s happening within you. Then you can decide what to do about it.