Oh man, have I been a bit irritable and cranky the last ten days or so. Too often, when shit hits the fan, our initially reaction is too look outward so the blame can be placed and scape-goated. For instance, I initially blamed my crankiness on tax season and my busy schedule. However, I know that shit doesn’t work. When we instinctively place blame on external stimuli, the weight of the problem does not automatically disappear. We might feel better for a hot second, but the real solution still simmers within. Wherever we go in life, we are right there. No matter the problem, external environment or people we are around, we are still the same human that shows up. That means it is important to pause, breathe and look inward to ask ourselves in a curious and gentle manner: “What am I doing to contribute to this unnecessary stress in my life? What am I ignoring, neglecting or absorbing that is contributing to feeling off-balance?” When we create the time and space to look inward, we find all sorts of insights that we could never acknowledge in our external world alone.
To get to the root of the problem, I paused, took a deep breath in and connected to all of the areas I was neglecting. For instance, I realized I was not meditating! For me, meditation is a way of grounding myself so that I can have full awareness in every moment — or at least try to. I recognized that I was not starting my days by grounding myself in my breath. For some it might be like starting your day without your cup of coffee… can you imagine?!?
Not breathing fully contributed to my anxiety. Because I was feeling more anxious, I was eating more sugar. Because I was eating more sugar means I felt more irritable and uncomfortable in my body. Because I felt more irritable and uncomfortable in my body meant I was lashing out at loved ones and creating unnecessary stress in my life on top of my every-day, external environment. Bottom line = not a good scenario.
Pausing to look inward allowed me to see the root of the problem. I re-discovered my meditation pillow and re-acknowledged how vital it is to start my day with intention and full presence. When I can find my breath, I feel more calm, less anxious and am able to think more clearly. Stepping away from my pillow made me appreciate it that much more. The cool part is: I know that I have control in every moment when I can find my breath.
The next time you feel yourself lashing out or feeling off balance: pause, breathe, reflect inward and discover why. Catch yourself if you try to blame your environment first. Try to dig deeper and let your ego go while you explore “why.” Notice how the simple act of taking ownership of your actions makes you that much more fierce, authentic and powerful.