We all have times when out thinking, emotions, feelings and life in general are not moving the way we would like.
We may be in a down spiral of negative thoughts, our emotions may be frayed, and life might feel stuck, or horrible. We may suffer from anxiety or depression.
It is in these times that we need an Emergency Tool Kit, our own unique little box of tools, techniques and exercises that can get us back up, and into the positive.
The moment you are aware you have slipped down the spiral of negativity, that your thinking has become stinking, you pull out your Emergency Tool Kit and extract a specific tool or exercise to get you out of the haze.
Here are some ideas for your Emergency Tool Kit.
1. A journal
Your journal is your silent best friend. In this you record your thoughts and feelings, ask questions, jot down notes from great books, express emotions, draw pictures, write letters to self. In my journal I put quotes, thoughts from books, ask myself questions and write the answers unedited. It comes with me where ever I go. It is a reference and a place for introspection. My journal helps me keep perspective. It allows me to watch as I evolve. I have been keeping a journal of one form or other since I was 11. Reviewing my last years journal always surprises and delights me. Each year to travel so far and know that there is as much again to learn next year. Ever the student.
2. Music or art that takes you to a place of transcendent joy quickly
I have only recently discovered that I can listen to Tchaikovsky’s Ballets – The Nutcracker or Swan Lake, and if I really listen to the music, be almost immediately taken into an embodied experience of joy. In this state my heart is open, I feel light and free, I see myself dancing, I get that I am completely connected to the Universe and the source of all creation. If I was previously in a fear based state, even paralyzed, then listening to this music gets me unstuck very quickly. I can now even access this state by thinking about listening to the music.
Ask yourself what you have done in the past that fills you with an experience of joy. It could be music, it could be art, it could be walking in nature, or surfing..whatever it is, make it as accessible as possible. Getting out of an office and feeling the air on your face, or the sun, may work for you. Know what does work for you and put it into your Emergency Tool Kit.
3. A Positive Affirmation
Many years ago I participated in a workshop where we spent a day coming up with our own unique affirmation. This affirmation had to resonate with us so powerfully that when we said it aloud everyone in the room got it as ours. I had never worked with affirmations before, and I do a limited amount of work with them even now. However, I do know their power from personal experience. At this time in my life I was caught in a very serious mental body image problem. Every minute of every waking hour of every day I was thinking to some degree about my body, my weight, what I would eat, not eat, etc. It was hell. This had been going on for 17 years, since I was 11. I used the affirmation, “I am a powerful, joyous and loving woman, accepting myself and others” as a mantra. I would walk the beach for half an hour every day and this affirmation would be all that was in my head for that entire half hour. I did this for months and months. One day I decided that I had had enough of my mind and its thinking about my weight. These thoughts were ruling me. And I let it go. Literally! In its place, every time I was aware I was sinking into stinking thinking, I would say the affirmation over and over. I still use it on occasions.
4. An Awareness of the State of my Heart
I was reading the highly recommended book, “Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer, and he talked about the heart being either open or closed. When our heart is closed, we become contracted. As a visual person, I imagine it like a walnut shell, all tightly contracted and wrinkly. Impenetrable. We shut out life in all forms.
When our heart is open, we are connected to source. We allow life to flow in ecstasy at our feet. Things become possible, other doors open, people respond to us with light and joy. The practice of checking to see if my heart is open or closed is a powerfully simple one.
Of course we close our heart to protect it, but in truth, how can shutting out life really protect us?
Is your heart open or closed? If it is closed, what will get it back open?
5. A Special Person to Vent with
Life can sometimes build so intensely that we find we have a backlog of emotional pressure that needs to be released.
Venting is a reliable way to release this type of pressure, however, we do need to be very careful in how we vent and to whom.
Having a BMW session (Bitch, Moan and Winge) with a special person is one option. There are a few ground rules in BMW session. The special person needs to know this is a BMW session. They are there to listen only. They do not advise, fix, suggest, or offer any solution. They must be of able mind and body to not take on board your toxic negativity. To simply listen and remain separate from your vent.
You need to be clear that you are venting, and that once you have got all the toxic stuff up and out, and created an internal clear space, the subject is over. You keep a clear boundary around a BMW session.
I have a friend who has vented into his voice mail, and then gone home and deleted it. Or you can vent in the car. Or you can vent by writing it down.
What ever you do, be sure to get it all out. And to do so without causing harm.
I find hard running a good way to vent excess toxic energy. It is one of the many reasons I run.
6. A Coach
There are some major distinctions to understand around the coaching process. A great coach has only one agenda. They want for you to live your life as aligned to your soul/spirit as possible. Therefore, in their coaching process, they lose themselves in this intention. From this place, they ask questions that will challenge you, inspire you and cause you to take action, or make changes. They may also provide feedback that is a reflection of what you are projecting. This can be hard to swallow.
A great coach is more concerned about you than they are about what you think of them. This gives them a platform to be of the very highest service to you.
We all need a great coach in our lives, simply because we cannot see ourselves clearly.
I find that I process by speaking out my jumbled thoughts, by being asked insightful questions. Therefore the very act of the dialogical process that occurs during coaching is very healing and discriminating. Often times my coach has asked me the right question and in my answer I get the ahh! moment.
7. Presence what is so
There are some exquisite references for staying present. Including Eckhart Tolle’s work. If we are experiencing an emotion, such as fear, then simply acknowledging the fear has the ability to cause it to dissipate. Fear, anxiety, grief, jealously, etc only continue to manifest when we attempt to deny or block their existence. Practice being present to these emotions as they surface. From the Course in Miracles, “In my Vulnerability I become Invulnerable.” When we have something to hide we are open to attack.
8. A List of Powerful Questions
When we have paused the fear through music, dance, connecting to nature, opening our heart, we can access the quiet all knowing aspect of self. From here we are able to ask questions. The answer will come immediately. We need to let go of any judgements about the content of the answer and listen to it with full openness. At the least write the answer down, so you may consider it. As you build more trust, you will hear the answer and act on it.
Some possible questions.
If I trusted myself what would I do?
What am I to do today to serve the highest number of people?
What specific actions do I need to take?
What can I offer that has massive value?
Who do I need to call?
What am I not seeing?
What do I need to do right now?
How am I able to move through this pain/fear/upset/anger elegantly?
When we are in fear, stress, upset, our breathing patterns change. Focusing on our breath
will change our reactions/responses.
What works for me is to imagine I am breathing in light and clean and exhaling the dark and dirty. Every in breath is light/clean, every out breath is exhaling the dark, fearful, angry, toxic mess.
Even just consciously slowing down our breathing will help. Count to five (or ten) on each in and out breath.
The sooner you are aware that you have slipped into stinking thinking, or your emotions have run away with you, take out your emergency tool kit.
Depending on the severity of the slip or slide, you may need to take one or all tools out.
If you catch yourself early enough, you can usually re-calibrate yourself, open your heart and move on, very quickly.
During Dark night moments, or months, accessing all the tools in this kit on a daily/multiple times daily basis can be an imperative. Plus you may need to add extra tools – such as therapy, medication, naturopathy, chiropractic, body work, breath work etc.
Knowing I carry my Emergency Tool Kit with me everywhere I go allows me to walk with a spring in my step, and a smile in my heart. It does not mean that everything is perfect – rather that when things seem to fall apart I have some strategies to pull out of the down spiral.