Principle 7: We Are the Sum Total of our Reactions.
‘We don’t really have experiences in life. We have reactions to experiences. Things don’t happen to us. Things happen in and of themselves, and what we do is react to them. It’s not the existence of standstill traffic that effects us, because if it’s happening, say across town and we don’t know about it, it doesn’t bother us. But if the cars are at a dead stop on the very road that we need to take, suddenly we are activated, and we react to the existence of traffic. It’s not the traffic we are experiencing, it’s our reaction to it! Built into our hardwiring as humans is the fight or flight response, which we needed way back in the caveman era to keep us safe. But we’ve evolved…there is a third option, which is to neither fight nor flee, and that is, to just stay and breathe. If you start to see your emotional feathers getting ruffled, just step back from yourself, come back into your body, watch your breath and feel the reactiveness dissipate. If reactions happen, come out of your head, and anchor into your body.’
(Pg 40 & 41. Journey into Power, Baron Baptiste. Fireside Edition 2002)
Here Baron speaks of the human condition to react, and in experiencing our emotional reactions inevitably we create our own suffering. The good news is, we all do it, and we can overcome it! Reading the words makes it sound so easy, doesn’t it? Yet we all know that in those times when we are ‘triggered’ it requires us to muster all our strength to step back, breathe and get perspective. This is a PRACTICE. One that requires discipline, and the willingness to repeat this over and over again each time we experience strong emotional reactions. I remember at Level 2 training Baron referred to this is PHD Level thinking! He also said that not everyone is ready for it. Sometimes we are stuck in our story and our drama, so much so that it has BECOME us, and we don’t know who we would be without it. Often this is just part of the process! What if we have to get so sick and tired of being a certain way before we are willing to change? Wherever you are on your path to internal happiness, please please please make it a daily practice to shower yourself with compassion and kindness. The light will always come to illuminate the dark. Be patient. Be willing to open to the knowing that change is POSSIBLE. Be willing to see yourself as a powerful being capable of changing the most innate reactions from your past. Come to the mat, meet yourself freshly each time, laugh, cry, move, breathe. Do whatever it takes to LET GO. Inevitably, this will allow some space for Grace to come in and light you up. This is my practice, and some days it is certainly tougher than others, and yet without it I would know no peace. Why stay stuck when change is waiting for us to say YES? See you on the magic carpet. ~ Deb Langley