HOW IT WORKS
Yes yes, personal growth, we know, or are now discovering, how important it is, but where to begin? Where is the map to me? Getting familiar with the landscape that is “us” is so valuable, but how and where to start? One great and simple place is with our triggers - they’re like a personal GPS system guiding us to the areas in need of our attention. The places we feel discomfort are our signals, not to turn and run or bury them in shame, but to see where we still have work to do. Hmm, that person, place or thing just ticked me off or caused a judgment or an uncomfortable unnameable feeling. Something got triggered. Okay, step one - don’t ignore it. Don’t blame the other person or yourself. Take a breath and use it as an opportunity to ask yourself, what is there for me to learn about me? Or slather yourself in loving kindness and gently say, wow, this feels hard, just for a moment can I hold myself tenderly? Just for now can I listen for what the trigger might have to teach? It’s a great system - it's free and it comes factory installed! Plus, the triggers are already happening, so why not use them for our highest good?
Feeling uncomfortable was uncomfortable and who wants to feel that? I wanted to feel good, positive, maybe even enlightened, lol, that's why I was on this path of self-realization, and yet, even after years of practice, there were still plenty of times I felt horribly blech. I better do more, I thought, more yoga, chanting, singing, running, crafts - and then I'll feel better! And while all of those things helped and I highly recommend, I kept coming back to blech. One day I just said, fine! Actually, I think I said fuck. I was so tired of my mind. I had been at the doctor’s and waited what I thought was way past my appointment. I got snippy with the nurse, she got snippy with me and then she was the one to take my blood. By the time I got home I was mad at myself, the nurse, the doctor and the guy in front of me with ten items in the clearly marked twelve item only lane. But instead of continuing to point my finger at myself or anyone else, instead of endlessly ruminating on how I should have handled it, how they should have handled it, I just sat with as much gentle tenderness as I could muster, and felt my feelings. I just sat and tried my best to be kind to myself, the way you would an overtired child. I cried some and that felt good and then later I journaled about what had happened and how I had felt. I put a little marker on the map of me. Oh, I said to myself, here’s a place that scares you, let's remember to visit this place/feeling next time we sing, or dance, or do yoga. Little by little I recognized the value of the triggers and they became my map of where I had work to do. A map of where all the great things I was doing - yoga, singing, etc. could be applied! I once heard Byron Katie, a teacher I highly recommend, say she looks for places to get triggered because then she knows where to do the work. While I can't say I actively look for triggers, when they come, I now do my best to get every drop of wisdom they offer.