Here’s what we explored:
- we can let future worries steal current happiness
- the other shoe IS going to drop and we can deal with that when it happens
- Carla has noticed how her business is going really well even though she isn’t working really hard
- we can feel uncomfortable with things going ‘too’ well
- we may get used to a level of low-level anxiety, checking for potential danger
- we may have a belief, success only comes from working really really hard
- then when life is going well and it feels easy, one reaction is, ‘what’s wrong?’
- Brene Brown talks about tamping down her excitement and joy at eg an invitation to speak in case it didn’t work out
- she realised she was robbing herself of a ton of joy in the moment by not fully feeling
- not wanting to look a fool if things don’t work out
- how many other places are we denying ourselves appreciation and enjoyment of the good stuff?
- when we decide something is a failure we can deny ourselves the joy we experienced along the way, eg when a relationship ends
- it’s the journey not the destination
- relationships end all the time, for all sorts of reasons
- when we have a fixed idea of how things should go, we miss out on so much and create suffering
- every relationship includes disappointment and joy, can we fully feel all of it?
- we really have no idea how things ‘should be’ but we can get attached to our beliefs of how it should be
- how could we possibly know ahead of time, all that is in store for us?
- how good can it get when we take away some of our labels?
- how good can it get when we calm our primitive brain that looks for danger?
- it can feel unsafe to dwell on the good, the true, and the beautiful
- but then we can often live in an experience of low or high-level threat
- Carla helps clients to distinguish between where there is real danger and where there is not
- we can look through the lens of our stories and construct a fearful future based on that which gives us the experience of constant threat
- an example of someone who fears being burgled despite living in a relatively safe neighbourhood, in time, she was burgled – what can we see in that?
- another example of a woman who had a lot of anxiety about visiting her mother who tended to criticise her. She expected to rake her over the coals because she’d put on weight
- we can notice we are living this stressful story again and again in our imagination
- we can notice how we might show up when we’ve been running this story over and over again: stressed, defended
- Carla asked, can you drop the story and go with the most open heart possible?
- what about people who go about defended because they’ve been attacked, are we saying they created their experience?
- there’s a danger in making the victim the problem
- recognising our thinking is generating the visceral response is massively helpful
- you can notice this eg if you are afraid of flying, notice how you can experience all the anxiety of flying while sitting at your kitchen table, simply by thinking about it. That’s your imagination.
- once you begin to see the power of the mind it opens up space
- the next question is, ‘do I have to pay attention to these thoughts?’
- for those who suffer trauma, the primitive brain response can be very powerful, the rational brain can seem to go offline – no time or space available.
- if we can catch on to what’s going on when we are trauma triggered, it is helpful
- it can give a little bit of space between the thinker and the response
- we can recognise what might help at that moment eg stroking our pet, getting out in nature, talking to a friend
- trying to use the rational mind to argue with a fearful, intense response is usually unhelpful
- there is a deeper place, the bank of ourselves, looking towards that, helps find equilibrium
- when we get eyes and ears for that space, we begin to appreciate it more and more
- as we notice and appreciate the space more and more, the intensity and frequency of intense reactions can begin to lessen
- as space opens up, a sense of choice about dropping our attention may become available
- being a slow learner is a superpower because we learn things so well!
- the mind is so powerful and our understanding of it can get more and more subtle
- it is very difficult to see anything new in the middle of a trauma response because you are in a defended, fearful state.
- on top of a strong fight, flight, freeze, faint mode we can add a whole bunch of scary thinking about the future: I’m broken, why am I like this, I’m never going to get over this, why can’t I get over this?
- this type of thinking intensifies the stress response
- if we explore the bank of ourselves when we are quieter we are more resourced and more likely to have insights into the nature of thought
- the difference between pain and suffering
- a trauma response can be the pain; the suffering comes with all the judgment we add on top of it when we analyze and make all kinds of meaning out of it – eg why haven’t I got over this?
- as we recognise what’s happening, eg we are having a strong stress response, we get space to leave it alone, to heal (or dissolve)
- like a wound, if we keep digging around in it, we will prevent the cut from naturally healing
- we are made to handle life, keep looking in this direction
Quotes and References
- Find Brene Brown on YouTube
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Carla is a mindset & performance coach working with high-achieving, high-performance entrepreneurs who are dealing quietly with anxiety.
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Poet & 3 Principles facilitator, Juliet loves exploring and pointing towards freedom of mind for those curious to engage more fully with all aspects of their life.
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