Here’s what we explored:
- how fun it is to just riff and dive in
- making space to wonder what’s new and fresh rather than getting stuck in stale habits of mind
- we can notice stale habits of mind that make us feel yuck but also we can be stuck in more ‘positive’ assumptions eg I’m going on holiday, yay!
- can throwing out some structure, help with recalibration, or maybe bringing in more structure could help?
- Juliet describes feeling really tired after a couple of weekends of travel and meeting up with people after lockdown restrictions were eased
- she got curious about how exhausted she was and what was up with that?
- she recognised she has got quieter inside over the last year and it would be easy to think she should speed up, get with the programme, but is that the only view?
- as the mind quietens we can get much more sensitive to stimulation of the mind in a way we wouldn’t have noticed before
- Carla wonders, is this similar for extroverts? Anecdotally, Juliet hears many, including extroverts, are finding ‘re-entry’ a little bumpy.
- when we re-engage with old situations, it’s interesting to notice how old habits of thought can kick in, which have perhaps been mostly absent over the last year or so
- Juliet explains how a busy mind is like an engine revving really hard while idling (so it’s not going anywhere).
- Previously, Juliet’s idle speed was very high. She didn’t know it was high. It just felt normal.
- when you step on the gas, and your revs are already high, it’s not actually that big a movement
- when the engine is revving much less, even a moderate increase in revs can feel like a big deal
- so it is with the mind: when the mind is generally quieter, even a little mental busyness can feel much more intense than it used to.
- Carla chimes in, when you’re revving the engine in neutral, it’s not good for the engine.
- to stop revving, you just have to take your foot off the gas: leave your busy thoughts alone (as best you can)
- Carla notices these days, if she feels a little anxious, it feels awful. Whereas before she used to feel anxious most of the time but hardly noticed because it was just the way it was
- taking a moment to sit on the bank of yourself, to pause, reflect, and allow our mind to come back into equilibrium
- don’t be so quick to judge your reactions as you pick up the threads of your lives
- sometimes people wake up dramatically to how busy their minds are, in the midst of a crisis
- for many others, there is a gradual, incremental quietening down of the body-mind system
- it’s helpful to look at this greater sensitivity to disturbance and clarify what might be going on.
- you may not have noticed that you’ve been generally living in a quieter, nicer feeling (not all the time)
- there can be intelligence in anxiety or tiredness eg, we are caught up in our stressful stories and I’m not aware, we need to take a rest
- as the system settles down, these episodes can be little alarm clocks to wakes us up to being off centre
- when it was all-consuming (as Carla and Juliet have experienced), there’s no awareness of anything but being in the drama
- it’s not about ignoring feelings but acknowledging them and riding them out as best we can
- as things quieten down, sometimes we might catch a glimpse of a particular habit of thought eg irritation or judgment has latched on to a situation
- it’s cool when we see this at play because then we realise, this is only one experience out of an infinite number of experiences
- Juliet doesn’t feel re-calibrating is being done by her but is happening under the surface
- we have big and small moments of waking up to all sorts of things eg around race, consciousness, etc
- our system has to catch up and settle into these new perspectives
- we can get in the way of that re-calibration
- true change doesn’t generally happen through tools and techniques
- true change comes from insight, an epiphany, or a shift in our understanding
- we can’t make insight happen but we can create the conditions for insight
- Carla uses the metaphor of a butterfly for insight. If you flail your arms around, it is less likely the butterfly will land on you.
- how can we make the conditions fertile for insight?
- Carla sees getting caught in her own stories of success or failure are her biggest obstacles to peace of mind
- for Carla, it comes down to helping her mind relax, take things off her mind eg catching herself in her stories, meditation, breathing techniques, being in nature to calm down her nervous system
- we get ourselves totally embroiled in our stories which can be disturbing, terrifying, depressing
- at one level Juliet sensed she was causing her own distress but didn’t know how to stop, so she used that idea to further judge herself
- what’s true is when we are very distressed, thinking more and more about our distress doesn’t get us anywhere
- we, as human beings, are built for insight
- every fresh idea you’ve ever had has just popped in your head. Where did they come from?
- what helps Juliet is being in conversation with people who are speaking and listening from a quieter, deeper, and more peaceful space
- when you start to really see things for yourself, things begin to recalibrate
- one of the most helpful things Juliet kept hearing was: look at what is, instead of what isn’t
- notice how, in a low state, we focus on what’s wrong with ourselves, others, our relationships, our work, our dinner
- looking towards what’s ‘right’ can be a helpful way to shift our focus
- Carla recounts how rubbish she felt the day before, dealing with some physical flare-ups
- for a few hours she was stuck in it, then she noticed her dog Pedro was feeling bad with his tail between his legs
- in that moment, as her focus shifted to her dog, who she loves to bits, her self-pity shifted and her suffering lifted even though the physical symptoms persisted
- we begin to see that the extra suffering we heap onto life’s events comes from the stories we make up and believe about the events
- how much choice do we have about where we put our attention?
- Juliet would have said there were times she could deliberately put her attention here or there, and other times she couldn’t help where her attention stays
- Carla notices there are times when she can’t move her attention away from her stories and other times she just doesn’t want to move her attention
- She wants to feel outraged or angry or mean! Such a great catch to see this!
- Carla shares a story of working with a team in a company and helping them see how a shift in perspective around down months can release energy, enthusiasm, and fresh ideas. They were able to re-calibrate
- when we find a more settled and secure place inside, when it gets stronger, you can look out at the world and see treasure and gifts in everything rather than when we look out from insecurity where we see everything and everyone as a potential threat
- from that space of deeper equanimity, we get to see that how we feel doesn’t matter as much as we thought
- how we feel is always in flux, always changing
- from a state of more spaciousness, we find we have what we need to navigate through life with all its challenges
- sometimes, a restart or recalibration, like restarting the computer, may be all we need
Thank you for listening. If you love the podcast, get in touch and tell us what lands for you. Go ahead and share the podcast link on social. Questions? Topics? We love questions and topic suggestions. Send them via the comments.
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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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