When things seem to be going wrong and you're stuck in a pit of fear, start getting curious and ask yourself some of these questions:
1. What opportunity is this giving me for growth, healing, evolution, or learning?
2. What would happen If I didn't label this as bad?
3. What meaning am I adding to what's happening?
4. Am I letting this situation define me?
5. What action is this situation asking me to take?
Using awareness to respond instead of react to the situations of your life creates the magic, change, shift or transformation you desire. Keeping yourself awake inside a mindset of curiosity, positivity and possibility will guide you. The five questions above can be used when you feel stuck or paralyzed about something that's happening and you want a fresh perspective.
If something happens to you and the reaction in your mind is negative, judgmental or otherwise gloomy, take a giant step back and observe what's happening. There might be a better way to think, believe or act that'll serve your desire for health and happiness. There's a giant spectrum of intensity when it comes to life's events and the reactions they invoke, but if you look at things with awareness and curiosity, you'll begin to have the secret to your joy.
The questions above all create more awareness, which is how you'll be able to choose different thoughts, beliefs or actions in response to a situation. I tend to look at most of my daily events, especially the ones that feel negative, with this kind of curiosity. When I begin to feel sad, depressed, angry, fearful or frustrated I know that's a signal to slow down and get more curious. It's the slowing down and feeling that's the key here.
After speaking with my almost ex-husband on the phone the other day I found myself triggered by his words. Our conversations are strained. Attempting to sort out custody and financial issues after twenty years of marriage is enough to test both of us. But this time I found myself feeling different. Even though my little powerless girl was sitting inside, ready to run and hide when she was told she was wrong, my current day warrior goddess stood firm and used awareness as her weapon.
I asked myself, "What if you don't react but just listen instead? What if you don't need to be right today, but instead chose to be love?" I asked some powerful questions that instantly shifted the feeling of powerlessness to confidence. This was a game changer for me, and for our conversation, which actually ended abruptly when he hung up, frustrated with my unwillingness to back down.
A feeling fully felt is the pathway through that feeling to something better. If we shove it down, numb it up or ignore it chances are it's just laying dormant waiting for the next opportunity to trigger us. So I've learned to stop and feel when certain emotions, feelings, or symptoms show up. Slowing down and feeling before I rush to react is magic when it comes to dealing with the most difficult situations.
Because most of us were taught in some way that we shouldn't feel, or that we should tough it out or not cry - feeling has become very difficult. We associate feeling with weakness, when it's really this very vulnerability that's our strength. We avoid it at all costs and are embarrassed when we can't help ourselves and the tears fall.
Reality is, when we're brave enough to feel everything, we end up having the most direct path to healing and experiencing the relief, shift or transformation we seek. So looking at the tough situations as opportunities for brave healing is how I roll...because I know it's what I need to do to gain a perspective everyone else is missing.
Asking big questions is one way to practice this badass kind of awareness. Rather than shouting out the first thing that comes to your mind, try getting more interested in the feeling you're having, and asking some of these questions to help you shift your perspective. "Wow, this is making me really mad, I wonder what's up with that?" Is one I ask myself a lot. Observing yourself and your thoughts this way really changes how you respond because you're taking responsibility for how you feel.
When we label things as bad we put extra meaning on it that may not be the truth. Look to your situations and figure out when and where you do this the most. What are your worst triggers or patterns of unconscious behavior? When do you react without thinking? Where are you so boxed into your feelings you can't slow down? What triggers you so badly you react without thinking?
Many times the events of our lives feel like defining moments. Something we achieved, or failed at becomes who we are. This's a chance to step back and be curious. Is this (event, situation or result) really who I am? The answer will always be no. It's your attachment to it that makes it feel that way. The roles we play and the successes or failures we experience become who we are and when that ceases to be the case, we fall apart. What if who we are is way more than these things? (Another powerful question).
And lastly, in many situations that seem wrong, bad or negative, we're instantly paralyzed, feeling out of control in our lives, depressed about our lack of influence on our own situation and made to feel worthless. The problem here is we aren't seeing the nudge for action. Many times fear takes over and we forget we can move through it just by using awareness, choosing different thoughts, calling a friend, journaling about it, meditating, breathing, or moving our butts.
Action is the magic potion for all desires and for all pain. The definition of action is what gets us confused. Sometimes action is just slowing down, clearing our minds, feeling our feelings and processing what's happening in a more calm, grounded, centered way. That's some powerful action. And sometimes it's getting motivated to speak or express ourselves. Action can be about reaching out to someone and it can be about drawing or painting through your feelings.
When things are going wrong and you realize you're stuck in a pit of desperation, sadness or fear; remember to get curious. Feel what's there. Step outside of yourself and observe your thoughts. Start to ask questions that'll shift your perspective, and create healthier ways to think, believe and act. Then make the most powerful move you can make; take positive, on-purpose, inspired action, and sit back and wait for the shift.
Join me in the comments and let me know what other big questions you like to use!