I went to an AA meeting many years ago with a friend. AA stands for Alcoholics Anonymous.
There are meetings all over the world many times a day where people who are struggling with addiction have a safe place to speak about their struggles.
The meetings do require people who wish to speak to say their name and to say, “I am an Alcoholic.”
The simple power of this introduction leaves no room in the mind of the speaker or the listener about the challenges being faced.
I would like to borrow this concept but I want to call it A2A.
What would Awareness to Action look like?
It would begin with the uneasy feeling that something might be wrong.
How do I know that something may be wrong?
That’s the easy part.
We would be on edge, scared and not able to identify the fear, sick to our stomach, etc.
These would be signs that our body is giving us that STUFF is awry!
The easy thing to do here is to ignore the feelings of dis-ease and discomfort. That is what most people do. They push down all the whisperings that the body sends our way. The headache? A whisper! The nausea? A whisper? The inability to speak? A whisper.
Whispers are manifesting in our bodies everyday.
My idea of A2A, Awareness 2 Action, is to listen to the whispers. To allow the self to feel the discomfort.
If you allow the feeling to continue to whisper and to give up the wisdom you will be able to find a path through the challenge.
So the next time you find yourself feeling uncomfortable, ask yourself these simple questions:
What’s happening in my body?
What are my thoughts about what I am feeling?
If you can take your blood pressure to see if it’s elevated that will be a sign that something internal is off.
Use all the whispers of the body to inform how you will navigate the challenges.
The challenges will always come and its up to you to be aware of them and to take informed action.
One Sunday night, I was watching the Mentalist on TV (LOVE that show) and one of the male detectives asked his male partner if he should get married.
The partner simple said, “You want it to be my call?”
Simply Brilliant Writing!
How often though do we ask others about some of the MOST important decisions in our lives?
We PRETEND that others have more wisdom about our own selves than we do.
It has to be a pretense because YOU are your own expert.
The trick to accessing your wisdom is to be silent and to ask yourself a simple question about the “thing” you are trying to evaluate.
Let’s do an example:
Let’s say you have met someone and want to know if you should go on a date. Instead of calling up all your friends who HAVE NOT MET this person, sit in silence and look for signs in your body of serenity and peacefulness and YES, excitement.
Not an anxious excitement, but a buzzing and soft excitement that alerts you to something sweet about to happen.
In order to access these messages you will have to practice with everyday decisions and get fluent in understanding your own body and the way it talks to you.
It will help to do meditation on a fairly regular basis and you will learn how to “read” your body.
When animals get hurt, their wounds heal a little thicker and stronger.
Maybe that’s where the saying “thick-skinned” comes from.
This thickened flesh is called Proud Flesh.
Recently, I visited a shelter for women who had been burned by fire, and survived.
Their scars were visible and clear and it transformed them into people they did not recognize.
These transformations not only took place on the outside, with proud flesh, but also on the inside.
Some of them realized how precious their lives were.
They realized how much their children needed them, in ways they had not before the incident.
They found ways to fight through physical and emotional pain and to come out ahead.
One woman lifted up her arm to me and I thought she wanted to give me a high five. The therapist then told me she was showing me that she had regained control of her muscles and that meant she was a winner. I ran over and hugged her so tight, I may have squished her.
We were both giggling.
One of the stories stuck with me. One woman’s husband suspected her of infidelities that were all untrue. He wrapped his hands with a cloth soaked in gasoline, set them on fire and then he rushed and embraced his wife so they would both die. She managed to get away and her daughters are proud of her. She has healed and she is teaching her girls to be strong and fight back.
While at the shelter, the girls sang and danced for me and the mom, stood proudly on the side beaming with both her thickened skin and her thin skin that was not scorched. Her girls hugged her around her waist and one said to me “This is my mother.” The pride in them was palpable and the joy in her eyes could’ve lit up a whole city.
This woman has found a way to transcend her tragedy and focus instead on the love that still exists in her life.
When I think of my own life, I wonder at how I have overcome my hardships and am thrilled at the lessons I have gleaned from them.
One of my biggest gifts is Presence. The presence of mind to see, hear, taste and feel what is happening in the moment.
Recently, I had such an awakening. While steeped in the “tea” of the argument, I saw all the stuff around me. I noticed who was doing what, how they were responding, how I was responding and how I was processing the storm that was raging around me. I heard a soft voice say, “Save yourself” and I immediately stood up and left the toxic situation.
How could I hear that soft voice?
I could hear because I was listening. I was tuned into everything around me and NOT to defending myself.
There was no defense needed.
I was being accused.
I was put on trial.
I was convicted.
However, I remembered that I WAS NOT in a court of law. I was in my life. MY LIFE!
I choose to leave. I was already convicted, so what was the use of sticking around?
I offer the tool of Presence to you.
Try to stay in your own business.
How do you know if you are OUT of your business? The moment you ask, “Why is he/she acting/doing/behaving like…..”
These questions are a sure sign that you are trying to be in someone else’s head.
Devote your energy to questions like…
Why am I doing this?
Why do I want this? Or not want this.
What pattern can I see here that distresses me?
Do I really want to change that pattern?
Am I ready to suffer the emotional pain that I will feel when I attempt to change the entrenched patterns that are causing emotional turmoil?
*********************** Try to stay out of defense.
You know that you are defending yourself when your words just want to erupt. It feels like you cannot hold them back. Your mouth is controlling you, instead of you controlling your own mouth. You feel
that if you speak THIS ONE thing to THIS PERSON, then you will be vindicated.
Both of you or a whole LOT of you are no longer in HEARING mode. Only mouths are working, and it is verbal diarrhea. You are puking and pooping all over each other AND you must leave the situation. If you
feel that you will be physically attacked if you try to leave, then you must call the authorities.
You are unsafe. You must get out.
Try to realize that NO AMOUNT of explaining can stop your accuser from
******************* Try to, as the soft voice said “Save yourself!”
How do you save yourself?
First, go to safety, a different room or house or city or country.
Only you can decide how far you must go to get away from the madness.
Then call a few trusted friends with whom you can weep and grieve.
Expect the pain to be severe and swift and expect to feel like you will die or at least drown.
It will also feel like you cannot breathe.
Yes, even breathing will take effort.
Your friends will remind you to breathe.
They will remind you about how wonderful you are.
You need SUPPORTIVE people.
Do not call people who will judge you or reprimand you.
Remember to treat yourself like a trusted friend.
Remember too, you must change to affect change.
Einstein said the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.
You must DO something different to GET something different.
Allow yourself time for healing.
Stay connected to you; stay present by not building cases against the other person and stop going over old scenarios of past hurts.
That is a waste of good energy.
Go for a walk.
Give these techniques a try and let me know how they work for you.
Love and light,
Think about who you have to listen to each day and have a conversation with, or communicate with daily:
The people sitting next to you
The check out person at the store
The list can go on and on….
With all of phone calls, texts, emails and face-to-face conversations that go on during the course of a day we could be listening to 10’s and for some 100’s of people a day.
Let’s imagine a conversation with our best friend.
ME: Hi! How ya doing? How’s your day?
FRIEND: Well, today I am tired and I just don’t have any energy.
ME: Oh really? I am sorry to hear that. Why? FRIEND: Yes. I am really dragging, I am a little down.
ME: Oh, are you getting enough sleep? Eating well? Are you sick? FRIEND: No, I did not get enough sleep. I’m not sick. Maybe I am not eating enough veggies and I’m eating too much junk food, maybe that is it….
ME: What can I do to help? Why don’t you turn the phone off and take a nap. Your work/laundry/cleaning/ will still be there when you wake up. But you’ll feel better. Oh, I know, finish up what you have to get done and call it a day. Take a bath and just start fresh tomorrow.
Does this conversation sound familiar?
Notice that nowhere in the list of people we listen to everyday, who we talk with, do we take the time to have a quiet conversation with ourselves. Let’s take that same conversation and switch roles of our best friend with ourselves, our bodies.
ME: Hi how ya doing? How’s your day? MYSELF: Well, today I am tired and I just don’t have any energy.
ME: Oh really why? Come on shake it off, it’s a work day you know… MYSELF: I am really dragging, I am a little down.
ME: Oh you had four, almost five hours sleep. It’s almost the weekend, toughen up. Maybe a Starbucks or a Coke will pick you up…the day will be over soon. MYSELF: No, I did not get enough sleep. I’m not sick. Maybe I am not eating enough veggies and I’m eating too much junk food, maybe that is it….
ME: Listen, just push through the day, let’s get our work/laundry/cleaning done and cross it off the list. We’ll try to go to bed early. Hey the weekend is coming and maybe we can take a nap then. Snap to it!
The first conversation with our friends is a kind, warm and compassionate conversation. The second is cold, uncaring and demanding.
Why is it that we are the hardest on ourselves?
Take some time to listen to your heart, mind and body. Show it the same warmth, caring and compassion as you would your best friend or even your child.
We should always take time to have a conversation with ourselves and listen closely to what we need.
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