It is time for a confession: I love to listen to Delilah, a syndicated radio host who for over 2 decades has played schmaltzy love songs along with inspirational pop tunes, sprinkled with her brand of tough love advice and wisdom. The other evening, she was reading a letter from a listener and then said to the woman, “You are awesome and brave and tenacious.”
We are all awesome and brave and tenacious. That is what life offers us the chance to be. Life is not easy much of the time, especially when we are in the midst of career and relationships and perhaps child-rearing or parent-caring. I don’t know about you, but there are plenty of times when I don’t feel the least bit awesome or brave or tenacious. It is those times, when it is so hard to do, that we benefit from just one simple action on our own behalf. It can be as basic as sitting down, taking a few breaths, and listening to the words going by in our brain. And then responding with compassion. Paying attention to ourselves with compassion is an awesome, brave and tenacious act. Simple, but certainly not easy.
Try this: take a few breaths. Shift your attention from your thoughts to your body for just a moment. Notice what it feels like to be in your body. Where is the tension? Where does it feel relaxed or neutral? Then notice if there are any emotions that accompany the physical sensations. Tired? Anxious? Excited? Angry? Calm? Just notice – no need to change anything. And then, see if there are any thoughts or phrases that your mind is generating to go along with the sensations and emotions. For example, “I am so stressed about my schedule today.” Or, you hear your mind re-playing an interaction with your partner or child from this morning. Just notice. And finally, from this place of observation, ask yourself how you would like to respond to what you notice. Is action needed? Would a few minutes more of quiet time, or perhaps journaling, help to settle your mind? What are the needs of the situation? Now you can respond, rather than react, to what you are sensing, feeling and thinking. It is an awesome and brave and tenacious way to live.