Often it isn’t until people have been triggered and reacted that they realize that something is wrong. They may find themselves gravitating towards their addictions, being reactive in their feelings, thoughts or behaviour and generally out of control. If you find that this is what happens for you then keeping two simple acronyms in mind might help you to stay ‘on track’. They are HALT and KISS. HALT stands for ‘Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired’. It is a slogan used by the 12 Step programs. No matter how old we all get we all still need to keep track of our basic needs and look after the feelings that can derail us. Making sure you have good sleep, eating and connecting with other people routines are all really important for your emotional health. So is managing your anger. Finding ways to release your anger without allowing it to dominate your thoughts is a tricky business, and worthy of its own blog post, but mostly you want to be in charge of your anger and your fear and not let those feelings be in charge of you. KISS stands for ‘Keep it Simple Stupid’. It’s another great slogan from the 12 Step program. I always ask people what seems to work to keep them grounded and what doesn’t. It’s that simple. Whatever works....do more. Whatever doesn’t....try to stop and if you do it, then forgive yourself and try to switch to what works! And then just keep practicing.....and practicing......and practicing....
Yes. Old skills that we’ve practised over and over are just like riding a bicycle.....easy to pick up again even if we haven’t done them for a while. However, if they are skills that aren’t necessarily in our best interest then ....unfortunately.....it’s like riding a bicycle.....easy to pick up again! That is because the neurotransmitters in your brain are like ruts in the road when you’ve been driving in the winter. It can sometimes feel safer to stay in the deep rut rather (old adaptive habit) rather than risk shifting over to the well ploughed lane (new healthier habit). And once you are in the well ploughed lane then it just takes a little slip and you get yanked right back into the old deep rut! Destin Sandlin did an experiment with a bicycle and took it around the world. He designed a bicycle that you had to turn the steering wheel the opposite way to get it to go where you wanted it to go. He proved that even though people ‘knew’ what they were supposed to do re: riding the bike with the alternate steering wheel, they weren’t able to very easily. They couldn’t override the old neurotransmitters that told them how they were ‘supposed’ to steer a bike. That is why it is important to decide who you are and what values you want to live your life by. All of these decisions and habits will create neurotransmitters in your brain and it will lead you towards the outcome that you want to create. The sooner you start and practise.....the better your chances of creating habits that will get you to where you want to go in your life. And when you fall back into old habits.....which you will.....just pick up that bike and try again!!!
I’ve run something called ‘Artist’s Way’ groups about once a year for the past 4 or 5 years. The book, written by Julia Cameron, guides people through a series of exercises that help people reclaim who they are and what they want to create in their lives. I always advise people to ‘not throw the baby out with the bathwater’ because with all writers (including me and these blogs!!!) you will agree with some of the ideas and not others. However, Julia’s book has been written in a universal enough way that it helps people think through what they want to create in their lives and what stops them from doing that. And I’ve had all sorts of people in these groups but to be honest mostly women have shown an interest so far. They have been career women, moms, young, old, retiring, ill, divorcing and everything in between. The useful thing that comes from this diversity is that all of the participants in the group get to find out that throughout our whole lives we are always evaluating who we are and how we would like to live our lives. They also find out that, really, everyone has ‘stuff’......we’re just not that evolved as a culture yet. So everyone gets to learn how to ‘hold space’ and honour each other and witness each others process. For each individual in the group, they get to look squarely at themselves and their life and decide to ‘start where they stand’. They focus on what is really true about their life and what they want to create and then they decide how they will move in that direction. Every day this is really the decision we need to make. We can’t dwell on regrets. We need to gather our memories and stay happy with the choices that we’ve made that works and ‘start where we stand’. That’s what we have control of......
The truth will set you free no matter what side of the coin you are on. Whether you have hurt someone or have been hurt, honouring the truth helps move you into an authentic place that you can feel proud of.
This week Justice Murray Sinclair released the findings of the Truth & Reconciliation Inquiry. He stated Tuesday [June 2, 2015], that “what took place in residential schools amounts to nothing short of cultural genocide – a systematic and concerted attempt to extinguish the spirit of Aboriginal peoples.” Later in the week I heard him speak on CBC and he was saying the shame that our Native people carry was bred into them through oppression and a systemic and cultural superiority on our part. These are hard truths to hear. We all have an instinct to recoil and hide our mistakes so that others don’t shame us with them. However, without looking at what Justice Murray is saying, we will continue to act the same way, because we think we are right....and we’re not.....
True healing and wholeness happens when we can speak up when we are not being heard and say we’ve been hurt and stand firmly on our own side. AND...when we can say we are truly sorry for our transgressions and show it by changing our behaviour when we’ve hurt someone else. Then we are speaking and listening from a place of spirit and not ego. It’s not about power and who is “right”. It’s about wholeness and honour and respect. Respect for yourself AND the other person. Kiñuiñak (peace)
This blogpost is in honour of my cousin Karrie Wurmann.