Tracking Our Triggers


For the most part -maybe the entire part, the set of emotions and impulses we experience in any given situation have very little to do with what is actually happening.

We bring the baggage of a lifetime with us into every perception, interaction, and circumstance-reaction.And filter what we hear through our lens of conditioning.
It could be that rose colored glasses were handed out in childhood. (Can we please swap for just a little while??) More often, it's a more traumatic and/or negative view of the world and self kind of patterning, that creates our neural pathways and becomes our filter.

A mother who hoarded plastic bags? A father who told you artistic expression was indulgent? A history of scarcity? (real or felt) Abandonment? Body shame? Check. 
Unless we also inherited a phenomenal mindfulness practice, we are always in reactive reflex based on what was, not what currently IS.

What Im noticing right now, given my recent not so small leap, is that regardless of being where I want to be and knowing that it's right, in the part of me that knows, ALL of my stuff about home, and (in)stability and having enough is being triggered. Big time.
And I am having to be extra vigilant about observing, bringing myself back to present and asking; is this about now?  
Are my worries and anxiety in proportion to the circumstances and real risks of the current situation? Or is the viscerally, illogically, all out "homeless and broke with two cats in a foreign country" catastrophising, a function of my bag of baggage??

While it's true that stretching past comfort zones and doing what to our nervous system and emotional memory feels dangerous (new always does) what is being experienced, and preventing us from being in and weighing the merits of this actual moment, is usually old. 
And, our adult self has the ability to judge and strategically deal with and "keep us safe from" where our 5 year old self couldn't.  

Developing the observer muscle 
It's not about detachment, but witnessing. Compassionately observing the fears, chatter, body stiffening, and (re)actions that are not in equal measure to the situation, and creating little breathing spaces between trigger and reaction, in which we have room to unclench from the trigger. And to choose. 

It aint easy. It takes Reflective Practice. And practice. And more practice.
Regular, daily, new neural pathway creating habits which invite perspective. Grounding.
Stilling. The ability to watch the rhythm of our thoughts ... 
And choosing now. And another way. Falling off, and getting on again. And again.

A daily practice can be anything that works for you  -whatever it is that puts you in the zone; meditation –seated at an altar, or walking in the woods. Movement, (swimming, cycling, running, yoga). Journaling, being with animals, in service to others, anything which brings you into your body fully, in observation, and the present.
And, physiologically speaking, is at least 20 minutes in duration, and consistent, to get into the space where shifts happen. A bit like hitting REM sleep.

Cycling does it for me. And connecting to the wild -at its most elemental, always brings me home. But my most consistent practice is an every single morning without fail chunk of time with my journal.
It doesn't matter what I write. It's not about story telling or formatting. Its both a mind dump, and my written prayer. And it's a practice. It brings me back to myself and my connection to source, and creates space between my mind and the chatter that fills it. It connects me to compassionate observation.
 

What works for you?

What are you feeling triggered by? Do you have a practice? Does it help? Tell me about it ...if you care to share ❤︎

CFB24C1D-3152-42BD-A097-5EA45C6628F5.JPEG