Staying Strong, Keeping On
The intention for this month’s One Moment Shifts is to offer ideas and tools for staying strong when we are enduring something difficult that is more on-going than a one-time thing. Examples are grieving a relationship, managing a change in physical ability, stressful life changes (even when they are positive!). In addition, as you may have noticed, there is a lot going on in the world around us. There have been many efforts to encourage change and advocacy. This is beautiful, and it can be exhausting!
We often have the best of intentions when we take on something that is emotionally demanding. Even when it’s something unexpected, we have good intentions in how we want to get through the challenge. However, if we get worn down, we may start us
ing unskillful behaviors, become impulsive, and/or make decisions that aren’t really in line with our values.
Often when we’re in a situation where we have to keep telling ourselves, “stay strong,” things aren’t exactly to our liking. When things aren’t happening the way we want them to, or we aren’t getting the outcome we want, or as fast as we think it should be, we can get super stressed. Part of that is because we are fighting with reality. The reality is that it’s happening how it is at the pace it is. Focusing on what is in your control and steps or tasks that you can actually take can help you stay strong and keep from burning out.
Mindfulness skills can be of great benefit when keeping strong and keeping on are important. For instance, if you are going through something tough right now, or something that is taking a lot of energy, notice how your body is doing. Are you feeling energized or drained? Are you noticing tension or openness? Your body will tell you what you need in order to stay in a place of responding (thinking through before acting). If you need to rest, to stretch, to get a hug, or to take time to reflect.
We have to replenish every now and then. Like it or not, that’s how these human bodies are designed. After we take the time needed to recenter and refuel, we regain our strength and are better equipped to keep on. We stay resilient. Otherwise, we’ll likely find ourselves vulnerable to mental, emotional, and physical break down. It’s pretty darn difficult to keep on keepin’ on when we are at that point of total depletion!
Mindfulness helps keep our eye on the prize in a skillful way. In order to do our best and keep focused, frequently reminding ourselves of our values can help us narrow down our approach and find the motivation to continue. For example, if we value honesty and doing no harm, then remembering this when we are taking to the streets to support our rights, or deciding to end an unhealthy relationship, we are going to choose actions that feel good to us now and later. If we discard our values because we are angry or fed up we may later have regrets.Equanimity (finding calm despite difficulty) is a huge help when it’s important to stay strong so we can keep on. Imagine a hurricane in the middle of the ocean; all of the chaos, crashing waves, relentless winds picking up and throwing around whatever it can. Now imagine going under the surface, maybe 50 feet deep; it’s calm, undisturbed, no indication that there is a hurricane at the surface. This place of “50 feet deep” is within each of us.
Take a deep breath, way down into your belly button, then all the way down to your hips. Do you feel it? At your core you are basically alright. At your core there is peace, ease, tranquility, and a source of energy that is gentle and even inspiring. This is where you can tap into equanimity. In doing this, you can check in with how you are doing and what you need, restore and rejuvenate your soul, remember your values and then act skillfully.In your times of stress (because life is going to bring them), and in your efforts to change the world for the better, please remember to slow down and take care of you. The world needs your strong, inspired, loving voice more than ever.Cheers to your life of transformation and healing!
This was posted by a friend and yoga instructor, Elen Behr. Perfect timing:
Peace and love on your self-discover journey!
The time has come to be your happiest self!