The key to living with grace under pressure is to move away from playing the role of the victim. Kylie shared some beautiful contemplations on victimhood last month. A big part of the theme of losing all victim consciousness is taking responsibility for everything in your life, and I do mean EVERYTHING.
I'd like to think I'm "over it," with playing the victim. That I see my stories for what they are. Yet I still have to ask myself regularly, "Where is victimization still showing up in my life?” Once I see it, I can work to rewrite the script. Questioning is key.
As we’re always evolving, we see that victimization happens at various levels in our lives. So we have to be vigilant about avoiding that feeling in specific interactions or circumstances. I’ll think to myself, “Where do I need to clean it up? Where can I show others or myself more grace?"
Following are some additional methods that help me work through various emotional states and live more gracefully under pressure.
HONORING OUR MOODS
Graciousness is sometimes defined as having “good manners,” or being “courteous.” That’s not what we’re talking about here. True graciousness is deeper and more authentic than playing nice. It’s about honoring your mood swings. Let them come into a place of balance.
I do my best to never make decisions when coming from a place of emotion. If I am feeling emotionally elevated, really excited, like “Wow! This is a great idea! It’s awesome!” or “What a cool pair of fabulous shoes! I’ll buy them!” I wait. I let myself feel excited, but I wait until I’m back to a state of homeostasis before actually making or acting on a decision. On the flip side of that, if there’s too much to do, I want to pull the plug on a project, or am feeling emotionally low, I similarly wait for the emotional rollercoaster to come into balance.
Recognizing and acting on that timing, once you’ve given yourself the opportunity to experience the emotions, is a true gift. In an emotional state it’s not the right time to act. Understand that emotions are fleeting. Then we’re left with clarity.
There’s nothing wrong with having emotions of anger or fear or excitement. But by allowing the depth of emotions to be felt and then mellow, we can gain a more clear-eyed view of any situation.
This is how to calm and fix your moods naturally. We can actually refine this practice of timing decisions well. It releases the truth precisely when the right time comes. You may find, at that point, the potential for emotional openness through deep listening. This is authentic graciousness--we’re very charming and highly attractive to others when we're in a balanced mood.
PAUSING TO REJECT IMPULSIVENESS
Almeda might say, with her grandmotherly wisdom, some pretty simple yet effective old rules of thumb for dealing with emotions: “If you're angry, you should pause and take a good deep breath,” “Be careful what you say, you can’t take it back,” and “Think before you speak.” She was right.
Today we might say instead, “Be mindful of what you’re experiencing.” Our emotions are valid, but they are an energetic process. You have to feel it. Life really is a ride and as we go through it of course we make mistakes. That’s natural, that’s human. But by being a victim of someone else does something to us or others, we are typically far harder on ourselves than others could be. The way we treat ourselves invites in similar reinforcement from the outside -- it feels HEAVY.
We sell ourselves short, because there is deep wisdom within. Enjoy that openness that happens when you listen to it. We can be more present and more clear on how we impact others. If we truly are embodied spirits, spiritual beings, then everything we go through is for us to know who we are and what our purpose is.
TAKING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
We’re responsible for our thoughts, words, deeds, and actions towards ourselves and others. What we put in our body, what we feed ourselves, nutritionally and through our thoughts and our words, matters. Negative self-talk is a direct reflection of what we think. What we speak is typically what we eat, and vice versa. This is why I created Encarna and Kasvi, and why I advocate acupuncture for embodiment. We can break the cycle of negativity through good nutrition. We become more empowered when we demonstrate our ability to take responsibility for everything we think, say, do, and eat.
Now, you can become too “hardcore” in your nutritional regime, too. If you’re depriving yourself, seeking to avoid eating, or being too rigid and structured, you have to ask yourself if this thought process is serving you on your path to graciousness. What are you saying to yourself? Maybe it’s not food, but instead you’re exercising, becoming so hard on yourself as you workout. Seek to operate from a place of love rather than becoming a hypercritical overachiever. Where’s the balance, harmony in life?
I'll give you an example. After an abusive marriage I began training for fitness competitions, I worked out two times per day, and became super focused on my physique. Then, at one point a bodyworker in Boulder said to me, "You couldn’t lift enough weight could you?" It's true. I could not. It was heavy stuff I was going through. I had to be witnessed in this way before I could truly begin to heal.
So give yourself some grace. Treat yourself with the same gentleness and kindness you would offer your friends.
NOURISHING YOUR SPIRIT, TOO
There is an evolution of spirit into the body when we’ve done enough work on ourselves. Your body becomes a container in which you can recognize yourself.
I feel like the times we’re living in, in this era of COVID-19, we’ve lost touch with the spirit. People are seeking the spirit within themselves. That’s what we’re missing as people. It’s a process, everyone is different, but something about it is so overwhelming -- the disconnectedness between the church, science, and our mind, body, and spirit. We’re disconnected, trying to fit it all back together.
Personally, I’m enjoying the process of learning what it means to feel the spirit within and also feel connected with a greater creative force that exists to support us being on our mission in life. So much suffering comes from not feeling connected to the divine force within us. Even those who claim to have a spiritual practice, awakening, must stay humble. In that, we find graciousness and openness, and we can go back to the same pattern as before -- being present and listening with intent.
Phew, this is getting heavy, isn’t it? What I want you to take away from this is to have graciousness with yourself as well as others. Please make sure you’re taking care of your body, thoughts, words, nutrition, and movement. When you have emotional states of mind, show yourself the grace of letting them pass through you. Whenever you’re not in a state of emotion, be really open and present to hearing others. For me, that means really allowing the spirit to open me up and have it come through in my work and life.
As we say in the world of yoga, “Namaste.” The spirit in me honors the spirit in you.