“No-Fail” Friday: Fight or flight


Yes, I know. It’s Saturday. I’m late. I’ll spare you the excuses but I will remind us both that late is better than never, and that you still have the whole rest of the weekend to work with this “no-fail” mindfulness challenge ahead of you.

See….upsides. It’s all always just a matter of perspective.

So. This week. <<Lays head in hands on desk.>> I was overcommitted and sleep deprived pretty much from the start. My schedule was trip-wired with conversations I knew would be difficult, and promises it would be challenging to keep. Then, news from the nation and the world draped a thick layer of internal discord right over that. I pulled up to Friday with another pre-sunrise wakeup call, and a deep desire to light certain parts of the world on fire.

By that, I mean I really needed some mindfulness. Not to keep me from doing that, to be clear, but to make sure I did it with intention.

As you know I love to say around here, mindfulness isn’t about “checking out.” It’s not designed to lift you out of the world and it’s many, colorful events. It’s meant to give you the capacity to engage with them exactly as you’d like to – or not. It teaches you how to sit with uncomfortable things, and not run away.

Those who can stand in the middle of chaos and uncertainty and keep their attention, intention and breath in focus are the most likely to make a difference.

So, this weekend, your mindfulness challenge is to stay present. Stay in it, whatever “it” is for you. A tough conversation, or even a boring one with someone who matters a lot to you. A frustrating traffic jam. A queue that’s longer than you want it to be. A situation that causes you to throw some negative self-talk your own way. Let the emotions be without trying to change them, and then watch them pass. Practice being with yourself no matter what yourself is experiencing.

There’s power in being able to stay when what you really want to do is run, never in moments of danger (of course), but in moments of awkwardness, discomfort, worry and fear. Learning to let those things just be gives you the space to access your full intellect and other strengths despite them.

You can be tired, bored, upset and even scared and still be fully present. Those experiences don’t last. It’s the part of you that does persist that has the greatest capacity to make a positive impact on your world, and the lives of the people who share it with you.

Photo credit: Alex Wong

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