Rock You Like A Hurricane
Did you know there was a hurricane recently? Did you know another is now on its way? I think the only way you could have possibly missed or are missing the coverage, is if, by chance, you were living on say, a raft in the South Pacific. During these natural disasters*, I witness some serious group frenzy. We’ve all been there: smart, creative, people — with emotions and feelings that help them make decisions every day — become focused on something entirely out of their control.
So this story is about the similarities between watching people “watch” the hurricane and how it directly relates to how we “watch” too far out in front about so many things. Let’s face it, by our very nature, we are always looking way out on the horizon. Predicting, planning so we can predict more, and then, well, there’s just plain old predicting the future. It’s part of our job description (unfortunately). We are wired for security. For those who are experiencing the awakening around mindfulness, you’ve heard what I’m about to say next. The only time we can control is now. Again: THE ONLY TIME WE CAN CONTROL IS NOW! What do I mean by that? Well, as human-beings we either spend our energy/brain-power thinking about the past — a history we no longer own — or, we stare far off into the future trying to decide what happens next. We tend to ignore the present.
The present is a wonderful gift. Time is a commodity that we can never get back. Once spent, it’s gone. And yet, we spend our gift trying to be somewhere else even though trying to guess the future is exhausting us. When we feel frustrated, anxious, nervous and fearful our brains are sending signals that we are way out in front. We are spending energy needlessly on an outcome that has not yet happened! What would it be like to redirect that energy to things happening right now? Can you imagine the good you can do for yourself and others with your new found energy? It’s always interesting to me that once you get to that point out on the horizon, and that place that is now, well…now, we hear ourselves say, “Well that wasn’t so bad,” and “Hey, that worked out,” or we just heave a big sigh of relief. Not only is it usually true that that “thing” we’ve been blowing energy on wasn’t a grave moment , our perspective once it’s realized as non-life threatening is certainly not a positive one either! (Hint: substitute ““Well that wasn’t so bad” with “Holy cow, that was an awesome experience!”)
Here are three easy ways to pump the brakes on faux jeopardy:
- Plan now, stick with your plan. It’s comforting and secure to make a plan. We like to “do” stuff. So, make a plan. And then, trust it and believe in it. And pack it away. It’s your plan, believe in yourself on this one! And move on.
- No Plan B. There’s a saying that if you devise a Plan B then you’ve already declared Plan A a failure. Be flexible and Dance in the Moment.
- Be present and stay present. If the spectre of potential jeopardy raises its head, just say outloud to yourself: “(Insert scary moment here) Noted.” For example – “My presentation is Friday. Noted.” When we encounter feelings of angst, anxiety, and stress, another fave is to ask yourself “How is this helping me?”. Either of these give your brain a chance to catalog the item and move on. Even for just a while.
Focusing on what we can control allows us to apply our energy into people and things that have the greatest impact in our lives, including ourselves. The rest of it is just predicting the weather.
And for the record, thoughts and prayers to those who actually suffered during and after Hurricane Florence or are in the path of Hurricane Michael. No disrespect here.
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