BAM! Yummy goes to Crummy
I woke up with a hangover. Let me clarify. I have a chocolate cake hangover. One piece of chocolate cake and I have a “CAKEOVER” in the morning!!! Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I am still weighing the pros and cons of that question.
I know I am not supposed to eat junk food but every once in a while I crave a slice of rich, delicious chocolate fudge cake from my local grocery store. I savor each heavenly bite of that four by four by four inch square. Twelve hours later and the payback sets in. CAKEOVER HEADACHE! Yummy goes to crummy real fast.
Wouldn’t it be great if every time we indulged in something negative/toxic/dangerous, we had a physical reaction to remind us there are consequences? Think about it.
You spend two years dating the wrong person. BAM! Stomach flu sets in before the end of your first date and you are saved from 24 months of a hellacious emotional roller coaster ride.
You take a new job only to find out that the new boss mislead you regarding his “expectations” and you are assigned to cubicle purgatory. BAM! Hives break out during the interview and you never get the job offer.
You say that cheap, angry insult out loud in a moment of anger. BAM! Momentary amnesia sets in for everyone within earshot and you are granted a “start over”. N0 apology necessary. Now what was I saying?
I am not suggesting that we have a physical punishment every time we approach the “danger zone” but we can learn to develop an awareness based on our body’s clues essentially trying to shoot a flare to the brain. For instance, when my face tenses up and I scrunch my eyes, it means I am not listening anymore and I am about to interrupt you! There are times when my breathing is shallow – usually because I am angry or annoyed. I am not listening then either; instead I am having a dark moment plotting your demise. Or when I press soooooo hard while texting that my finger threatens to crack the screen! IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT AND URGENT THAT YOU READ MY MESSAGE! NOW!
I wish that every time I had a physical “body cue” that I translated it into a PAUSE; a pause which allowed time to review the situation and plan my response. Pausing I could evaluate, “Will “X” be worth the outcome of “Z”? Uh oh, sounds like a story problem and I don’t do math after 5pm!
Let your Girlfriend Voice be your BAM! Let her wisdom guide you. With her guidance, you will find yourself RESPONDING rather than REACTING.
Slow down your breathing. Slow down and feel what’s in your body. Slow down and listen in. Slow down –period.
Will I stop eating chocolate cake? No, but I will eat it earlier in the day followed by a huge glass of...
Pausing for Poise
When I am stressed, I have to organize something. It used to be my kid’s schedule or a friend’s life—anyone or anything that felt out of control and could use an intervention. I really liked fixing people!!!!! Now I’m wiser so I organize a drawer, a closet or my giant purse. No more people—just things. I’m immediately satisfied when I complete a project. I apply my energy to something that actually needs my attention!!!!!! ……and I swear I hear a tiny “thank you” whispered back in return.
Organizing projects are meditative strategies that calm me down. While my hands and eyes are busy, I am able to block out the thoughts that plague me. Is it living in denial? Maybe, but it’s temporary. I’m pausing my reality and giving respite to my brain.
I should elaborate that not all pauses are sitting with crossed legs and closed eyes. Pausing is a taking a break from a thought pattern.
Why is it so important to pause?
1. I may regret what I say or do if I don’t step back from a situation. The more emotional we are, the less we function cognitively. I know we can all relate to sending an email too quickly or running our mouth before the brain engages!
2. A pause will quiet my senses and re-calibrate my emotional state.
3. The pause will allow me space to discover what is really going on in my head and my heart. The truth will bubble up if given the opportunity. This is where my Girlfriend Voice resides.
4. A pause allows me time to recognize and sit with my feelings. I don’t really like this one however it beats living in denial or bottling it up.
5. A pause allows me to change my thinking. Aha! I can actually change the recorded voice in my head.
Learning to pause has positively impacted other areas of my life.
I have more patience (stop laughing, I started with zero). More is still more than zero!
I feel like it is OK to say NO. Saying YES all the time is exhausting.
I am a better listener because I don’t have to fix you or your problem.
The biggest impact is that once I create space, I can identify what I need to let go of and what needs immediate attention.
If you are one of my A-type friends, you may poo-poo any suggestion of mediation. A good place to practice a pause may simply begin with sitting silently for three minutes; paying attention to your breathing. Are there other easy ways to slip a pause into your day? When I am waiting for a document to open on my laptop, I breathe deeply. It is only a few seconds but I feel refreshed. When I feel my face tighten with angst, I know to keep my mouth shut! When I lay down at night, I make a quick mental list of things to be thankful for.
Go out and find the pause…..find the...