Last time, I talked about how everybody is influenced by different things and respond differently to those influences.
It means that whoever you are, those influences are having a unique impact on you. Two people reading the same news article, watching the same documentary, soap opera, or engaged in the same conversation, will come away from it with a different take.
They will believe a different reality.
Your reality is ok and does not need comparing with the reality of others. What’s important is whether your reality is serving you, or getting in the way of achieving your goals and of being the person you want to be.
The reason for the difference in realities will be based on their different physiological make up, as well as their different previous experiences.
Wherever the influence comes from, however well intentioned, it has an impact. Whether that impact is a mere ripple, or whether it leaves you feeling like you are trying to survive an internal storm, or just as feasibly it leaves you feeling elated, confident, energised or relaxed.
Becoming aware of those influences, allows us the opportunity to recognise the influence and challenge it. To understand the impact it is having and to decide whether it is helping or hindering you in achieving your goals.
The first step is to recognise the state of your ‘ocean’. Remember my analogy from last time, that we are like an ocean. Impacted by everything around us.
Are you in a state of complete calm, comfortable with all things in and out of you, naturally moving to your own natural rhythm? Or are you aware of some turbulence, some disturbance that is making the water murky, preventing you from seeing clearly, from taking in all the information, from making clear confident decisions, and taking action that you are proud of.
Sometimes, like now with the covid-19 pandemic, the storm itself is out of our direct control. It’s important in these times to calm the water around us. The storm may continue outside of that but it cannot overwhelm us if our patch of water is calm.
If you are lucky enough to be in a state of natural rhythm right now, enjoy it and allow yourself time to take it in. It will help you the next time a storm arises. Chances are, as we live in an ever-changing world, there may be time in the future when there is more turbulence.
If you are already experiencing turbulence, you may only be aware of a sense that ‘things aren’t right’, that you are not content with things as they are. You may recognise that the turbulence for you is making the water so murky that you know you can’t see things clearly and that is having an influence on your decision making and actions, some of which you are not satisfied with.
Just like when the sea is rough, the good stuff is still there, it has just swum down out of sight to avoid the turbulence. If you can calm the water the good stuff will surface again and you’ll be able to see it properly. It may work for you to think about seeking your own internal harbour, where you can observe and acknowledge what’s going on around you, but know that you are safe, and have the opportunity to thrive.
"If the ocean can calm itself then so can you. We are both salt water mixed with air." Nayyirah Waheed
You have the power to calm the waters in your immediate space, or create your own harbour, even if the storm continues to rage around you.
Try this short exercise to help you find a moment or longer of calm.
Find somewhere comfortable to sit. Feet flat on the floor or lying down but still alert. Close your eyes or let your gaze drop and unfocus.
Imagine the gentle flow of waves moving in and out on a calm, bright day. The above short capture of the sea may help.
Flowing in and out gently in the rhythm that nature instils.
Now match your breathing to that motion.
Pay attention to your breath.
If you notice other thoughts pushing their way in, accept them. It’s OK for them to arise. Gently let them move away and refocus on your breath.
Continue to focus on your breath. In. Out. In.
For as long as you need.
This simple exercise will give you a few moments of calm which you can access at any time of the day no matter where you are or what you are doing.
Find a few moments to discover your calm.