You know those times when you’ve been feeling really good, flying on a natural high where nothing can touch you?
You feel strong and confident. You’re convinced that nothing can shake you down from this Beauty. This Truth that is You. Woohoo!
All of a sudden, you feel yourself coming down, falling out of the sky. No longer soaring, wings feeling mangled and torn.
That was my day yesterday — fantastic creative work session in the morning followed by a short, steep training hike with my housemate and one of her friends. It felt great!
Once I got home, I made butternut squash soup from homemade chicken broth and veggies from our Farmers Market, then listened to a podcast episode that someone recommended.
That’s my kind of daily flow! Lots of variation, meeting new people, getting exercise, preparing good food, satisfying work…
So then why was I feeling crappy by mid-evening? It wasn’t just a tired feeling, I felt downright low. Like a failure. Low like in a pit. A failure in a pit.
Do I just chalk it up to the inevitable flows of the entrepreneurial life? I mean, you can’t expect to be up all the time, right?
Do I go down the navel-gazing route and ask WHY??? What’s wrong in my life that I feel like such a failure? What should I do differently? How… Why… When… What…
Or… could this simply be an unconscious stress pattern that was triggered?
Now, I know what to do when I feel the heavy, dejected feeling coming on. Pull out the toolkit: listen to my unconscious stress pattern mp3, sit and meditate, go for a walk down to Lake Merritt repeating a mantra in my head, journal — all techniques to reign in my freaked out mind.
So which of those did I do? None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Forgot all about them. [Such a crazy ridiculous fact of life that when I most need support is when I least think about it.]
Instead, I tried to power through it. “I can still work on that last ToDo (even though I feel crappy). Sigh, life is so hard!”
I began watching the clock, waiting for a decent bed time to put the day to an end, hoping that a good night’s sleep would hit the reset button.
But mamma mia what an unpleasant evening!!
So here I am, writing a post about it — with the hope that my silliness can prevent your own unpleasantness — back on track with my ToDo List and current project (hint: awesome stuff coming up!!!)
How does this help you? Let’s point out what happened because with more mindful awareness, you can avoid a lot of this crapola!
1. Hindsight awareness: I was ambushed by not one, but two triggers yesterday. (As a reminder, your triggers are your personal gremlins that pop out to take you down. They prey on your fears and self-doubts. They suck.)
One was meeting my housemate’s friend on the hike! My housemate has known her for years and gave her a glowing introduction of all the wonderful and amazing things she’s done and is a part of. The short answer is: this woman is super cool. My gremlin says: She’s amazing and I suck.
Then the second punch came a few hours later while I was listening to the podcast. The episode was about focus. While the host made fun of herself for getting totally distracted in the writing of the episode, she pointed out that she does, in fact, get a lot done. She then listed out about 5-7 things that she produces, teaches, leads or sells in her business. She’s amazing and I suck.
And down the toilet bowl of emotions I went.
That said, there’s NO reason for those to drag me down the drain. They are merely unconscious stress patterns. And as I mentioned before, I didn’t pull out my tools and say Stop! So, they kept running.
2. Even though I didn’t use my tools and it made for an unpleasant evening, the sour mood is not running my day today. Why? Because of ongoing self-support practices that are built into my day.
The three that are most relevant for this situation are:
- Morning routine: yoga, sit journal.
- Knowing how I want to feel and having the habit of tapping into that after every sit session.
- Having done my weekly RaP (Review and Planning Session) on Sunday. This got me to identify specific steps on my current projects — so I knew what to get started with today.
A little more on the RaP Session because I’m not sure the connection to well-being is clear: I’m passionate about my current projects. I feel World-Domination-for-the-Good passionate about my current projects. Diving into working on them is a fast track to heart and soul for me.
One of the worse things ever, in my book, is having passion projects simmering and not knowing what to do next. Infinite source of frustration. So having clearly defined Single Next Actions is critically important for diving in quickly.
OK, that’s everything I wanted to share so let’s wrap this up.
We (I’m speaking on behalf of the World here) want you flying on your natural high feeling strong, confident and powerfully you, because you’ve got important and awesome work to do.
While triggers and nasty little gremlins are a part of life, you can prevent them from dragging you down the toilet, by interrupting the triggered unconscious stress patterns.
And if you forget about that in the moment (like I did yesterday), know that You are Good. And keep up with your ongoing self-care cultivation to help you get back on track. Things like:
- Morning quiet time.
- Knowing how you want to feel.
- Getting clear, single next actions on your ToDo List.
When you get right down to it, you’ll see that it’s a matter of reclaiming your attention, hence mindfulness is the remedy. Your mood follows your thoughts. You can, compassionately, steer them back to neutral ground, and then back to joyful flying once again.