Written By N
Earlier this week I noticed that things were getting busy in my head again! I was confused and there seemed to be realisations and thoughts going round and round and round some more!!! It was like a can of worms had been opened in my head, and I was desperately trying to sift my way through all the wriggling worms, so I could find answers or come to conclusions, just so I could feel calm again! It was exhausting! It was unpleasant! And it was really annoying too!
These states of confusion don’t happen so often for me or remain so long these days! I used to call them relapses or episodes but I have been learning that they are actually quite helpful in the end, although it doesn’t always feel that way, when you’re in the middle of it! Some learning or clarity tends to come out of them, once the storm has passed. So rather than seeing them as a step backwards, I now believe, that they actually enable me to move forward and that they are necessary for growth and progress in recovery! But as I said before, these times are unpleasant and I wouldn’t exactly say I get very excited when they happen!
And so, I was bracing myself for another unpleasant storm coming my way…..
Normally during these times, I find myself getting sucked into the thinking and the stories and the confusion! Allowing them to play over and over in my head! Stories and thoughts are flying in and I seem to be there, in the middle of it all, powerless to stop it! I listen to the stories and try to find answers or solutions or reasons for every thought! I notice self-judgement! I notice negativity! I notice victim-mode! I feel overwhelmed! It is like a battle zone! On one side there is my own recovering voice and on the other the loud irritating conditioned voice! We try to shout each other down but neither of us is willing to give in! I wonder if all this recovery stuff was a good idea after all!!!
Eventually, it all settles down but often not before days or weeks have passed by!
As I said before, there is often learning to be found at the end of it all! But I wondered if it was really necessary for the storm to go on for so long! I wondered was there a way to shorten the experience!
After spending a while in battle mode, I thought, “What if I did something different here? What if, instead of getting caught up in the drama in my head, I came up with a different plan?”
And that is what I did!
I decided to get rid of my Plan A and come up with something new!
So let me now present my….
- Breathe-Long deep breathes! Just breathe in and out!
- Baking-I put on the music! I followed the recipe! I danced! I sang! I weighed ingredients! I mixed! I noticed the smell and later noticed the taste! I noticed the calmness come over me!
- Breathe-Keep on breathing! In and out as often as you can!
- Beach-I walked by the water! I listened to the waves! I watched the birds! I tasted the salty air! I felt the cold air on my face! I sat and drank coffee! I noticed the calmness come over me!
- Breathe-Just keep on breathing deeply and slowly!
- Book-I read for a while! I found a comfy spot! I allowed myself to relax! And I noticed the calmness come over me!
- Breathe-More deep breaths!
- Beauty-Everywhere I went, I looked for the beauty around me! I looked at the Spring flowers in the garden! I looked at the people who passed by and I smiled or waved or exchanged a brief hello! I tasted the coffee! I looked at the faces of my little family and felt their hugs! I noticed the sea was still! I heard laughter in the distance! I felt the calmness come over me!
- Breathe and Be-I continued to breathe slowly and deeply! I continued to practice being present!
And guess what?
Instead of a battle in my mind, I notice a lot more peace instead!!!
As I sit here now and reflect on my blog I realise that, Plan Be started off with one simple word! And that word was Breathe! I decided that instead of trying to solve all the problems or answer all the questions in my head that I would just breathe. I would take long breathes in and out whenever I remembered to do it! I decided I would choose to focus on my breathing only, and nothing else! If the mental drama started I would just Breathe!
It was like magic! The drama started! I noticed it and I would just breathe and the calmness gradually came in! So simple! So effective! For a whole day, that’s what I did and slowly I felt calmer! I felt more peace! I felt a lot lighter!
By today, I found, I had created enough calmness within myself to add a few more elements into my plan! I chose things that I like to do! I did them slowly! I practiced engaging the senses! I practiced being in the present moment! I continued to breathe! Deep and slow!
All of the elements of my plan begin with the letter B but this is not really essential for success! It just kept me entertained and a little more interested in my new plan! I could repeat the same plan or add other things in that I like! I could even come up with a Plan C for tomorrow if I want and find activities beginning with C to enjoy and be present for! It certainly beats my go-to Plan A that has not served me well for a long time now!
And as I sit here I this evening….
I notice now, that it doesn’t really seem so important to have figured it all out straight away or to have found the answers that seemed so important only a few days ago! Many of those stories are gone now! The battling voices have quietened! The calmness has come in! And it seems so much easier now, to hear my own voice and to deal with what questions remain! I can approach it all with more gentleness! The solutions are easier to find! The steps forward seem easier to take! There are decisions to be made and action to be taken but the urgency and pressure is lessened!
And without all the drama and the fighting and the unpleasantness I somehow know just what to do!
Before I go I notice another thought enter my head…
For so long I have been advised to keep it simple and to focus on the present moment! That everything will be easier then! But also, for so long, I chose to ride the storm of complication and judgement and of heaviness! I chose the drama over the peace! I choose Plan A!
But I think that I am finally learning to listen to the wise words that have been gifted to me! (Thanks Marie!) They are only two little words but they seem to hold so much power…
And they are….
Simplicity and Now!
And from now on, when I feel the storm brewing, I will remember (well hopefully anyway!!) that there is another choice I can make…
I can choose to just….
Breathe and Be!
I can choose….
The calm instead of the storm!
And that all I need to do is choose my…
Plan Be instead…!