I was inspired today after my hot yoga class, to write about how people really get stuck in to the drama of their emotions. I watched people as they literally fought with their bodies throughout the class, one to deal with the extreme temperatures which were well over 80 degrees and two, to force their bodies into postures that "dear old bod" was not ready for.
One guy especially caught my attention. It tickled me pink by the end of the class. He literally pumped out a dialogue of puffing and panting loudly and even during Savasana (relaxation) at the end, the whole class was subject to his deep "ahhhhhhs" and sighs as he came to terms with the marathon that his body clearly had disliked with a passion!
And it made me think...if we feel something and allow the drama of it to take a grip and manifest ...what then? Some peoples outbursts can register on the Richter Scale and those around them have to run for hills to take cover. I am sure you know or have known someone like this! How do you feel around that "threat"? Eggshell treading becomes the norm to keep the peace.
I work with couples in conflict and it sprouts grand from triggered emotions which can erode the relationship and the people in it gradually over time. Now I am not saying we should all go around holding in our emotions. Lord knows historical social conditioning has sent alot of people on a quest to express, but it's WHY we should observe ourselves when our pain body is activated. 9 times out of 10 reaction based on "this is what I am feeling now so you are gonna get it", never works. Think of the times you have done it. You are more pissed at yourself which serves to increase inner pain and then you gotta dig yourself out of it with flowers, apologies and massages ...or whatever!
I spent 10 days meditating at a retreat last summer in Hereford. Vipassana is the extreme sport of meditation. You spend 10 days in complete silence and spend 10 hours of each day meditating. I was never one to do things by halves ! The roots of this meditation technique are based in mindfulness and spending the whole time in observation of "the self" was one of the most profound things I had ever done. You get to witness the ramblings of the mind and its ability to take you off on tangents, in and out of stories and how it can play games with you if left to its own devices. It was scary and bizarre and incredible all at once.
During meditation time we were guided to simply observe whatever sensation or emotion arose in the body and watch it pass without reacting. It did, without fail, every time. Sitting and meditating without moving a hair on my head, or to scratch an itch or move to ease a shoulder ache gave me the ability to be able to see how our mind wants to drag us into the emotional and mental drama in the moment. As feelings and painful memories came and went I saw how if I just observed, things pass. Just as night turns to day and life in its endless cycle, ebbs and flows, so do we, in this great cosmic soup.
It was the best "me" training I had ever experienced and its benefits are with me every day now. Sure I feel triggered when my boyfriend "pushes my buttons" from the past, but I am way better able to articulate what is happening in me, without stripping layers of skin off him with my heated words. Thank God he didn't meet me years ago!
Emotions rise and they pass and if we can just know that whatever we are urged to feel in the moment, will pass, then we have greater awareness to be able to do something about it. Conflict is painful and often ugly and way too reactive and I have witnessed throughout my life what it can do. My dad, God rest his soul, was the master of reactive outbursts and like a dutiful daughter I learnt that way to communicate too. In my early teenage years for example, I kicked hell into the kitchen cupboards if I spilled sugar on the floor by mistake. I always felt bad but at the same time compelled like a battering ram to do whatever "came up". Anger management was not my strong point!
Past painful memories and unresolved childhood wounds sit like snakebites in our bodies and minds waiting to be triggered so we can look at them and with the help of a partner, can heal and grow beyond them. Our intimate relationship can and will activate those snakebites and is the only relationship that creates the right conditions for this to happen. It is what "is meant" in the grand scheme of this Universal Plan, to help us return to our wholeness and allow the "real us" to show up.
So when you next feel triggered into reactive defensive behaviour with your partner or loved one, wait a few moments and sit with what it is they are bringing up for you. Your body will let you know the signs immediately.
Cortisol, a reactive hormone is released in your body during these moments and prepares you for “fight or flight”. The first 20 mins of this cortisol reaction is the time when it is the most risky to express how you feel. You want to fire off a text (or 100!), you want to chuck nasty words to wound your partner for daring to hurt you with their words, you want to stomp about the house and slam doors, or at worst you want to harm your partner physically.
In perspective, when you feel triggered it is 90% your stuff and only 10% theirs. What is arising for you is yours and no one else’s. You need to own it and more importantly take responsibility for it. You have a choice right in that moment. Reacting is exhausting so, with willpower, choose a different way. I guarantee it will be a better way.
Get into the habit of self observation. Think "ahh I am being triggered" and be curious about it rather than engaging in the drama of the potential lava flow of emotions. Watch it as it surfaces in your body. Feel the sensations, the anger, sadness or whatever and simply "be" with it until it passes. It will, every time. Blocking it from arising will only create more fear in the long run as you start to live with the fight or flight syndrome and run from it time and again. Your partner's job IS to push your buttons but in doing so, is helping you ultimately face the unhealed bits of you.
If you need to rant and I am not saying it's not healthy to, set up time alone or with a mate to get it off your chest. I do think it is a good idea to get it out, but the danger comes when the reaction is aimed to harm your partner from what it is perceived they have to done to upset you.
The aim is to be able to say in a rational controlled fashion "honey I feel really triggered by what you have just said and I need a little time to allow it to subside. Can we talk about it a bit later ?(or now depending on how you feel)" This way you preserve your relationship space and save yourself the pain of allowing the emotion to damage your mind and body. I have tried it and it works and I can't tell you enough what a revelation it is to feel in control of me but in a self respecting way. It works wonders for preserving your precious relationship and hey presto as the Law of Attraction kicks in, your partner can stay connected and feel respected as you both mature into a better way to communicate.
Honour yourself from today by observing and preserving the delicate nature of you that is trying to make its way in this world. As you grow others will naturally help you. We are all in it with you.
Blessings and love