Do you wonder what to do, having used those helpful 'bring ourselves back into the present' tools to connect with the present? It's like this now! Now what!
As we have explored practices to bring us back to the present and reduce the tendency to worry about the past or what may or may not happen in the future, this blog will look at some helpful responses from that present spot.
Coming back to the present with the breath, it's like this now or any of the other practices we have been exploring give us the space to respond from a helpful spot rather than react from habit. I find it really useful to think about words like reaction and response. Reactions, to me, are often habitual unhelpful actions, protest, anger, judgment or criticism that lead me to create more pain and suffering. Like when I return criticism with criticism. Response on the other hand, gives the connotation of being more measured, considered and spacious.
For example when we are criticised it is easy to react from habit and criticise back. However if we are able to breathe and create the space we free ourselves from habit and can respond from a wise spot. So what would a wise response look like? It may be to say nothing or to simply say 'please be kind.' (full stop). When we connect to the present, with wisdom we are less likely to fly off with habitual reactions of protest, judgment or criticism and more likely to respond kindly.
I can vividly remember the first time I noticed how liberating and helpful it was not to react habitually to criticism with criticism. It was many years ago, in the kitchen at home. One of my teenage sons, was voicing his criticism over the lack of availability of certain foods in our pantry. As I recall I think it was vegemite! My reaction to this was to criticise back and create a whole criticism ping pong match, leaving us both grumpy. This exchange had happened many times before and I had habitually criticised back many times. Interestingly the vegemite jingle goes like this:
We are happy little Vegemites, as bright as bright can be,
We all enjoy our Vegemite for breakfast, lunch and tea,
Our mummy says we're growing stronger every single week,
Because we love our Vegemite, we all adore our Vegemite --
It puts a rose in every cheek!
We're growing stronger every week!
Certainly the lack of vegemite in our house was not making us happy little vegemites and was only putting roses of rage in our cheeks.
This time however, I remembered how unhelpful this habit was and decided to take 3 mindful breaths instead. This freed me from my habitual criticism back and I was able to feel my criticism button being pushed without reacting. It felt uncomfortable at first, because I was so used to my habitual reaction. However this passed and I felt free to respond from a more helpful spot.
So, what did I say? Actually, I remember I did not feel the need to say anything. And his response was 'sorry mum.' Wow, it worked! And we were both a lot happier. I guess I could have also chosen to say something like 'please be kind' or 'I'm sorry you are so upset'. Coming to the present with the breath freed me of my habitual response. This allowed me to realise I had a choice of how to respond, and could choose to respond with wisdom.
Maybe you want to have a play with noticing habitual reactions and replacing them with helpful responses. Next week we will explore two more word I find it helpful to distinguish between, expectation and anticipation.
Have a great week
Thank you all once again for your continued support, friendship and generosity.
Kind Regards and Best Wishes