Every interaction, experience or occurrence in your life elicits one of two behaviors, either a response or a reaction. While responding is where the magic happens - full of joy, newness and inspiration, reacting is a disempowering repetition of the past. Been there, done that.
Unfortunately, most people don’t know or notice the difference between reacting and responding. This is because the brain never responds. It only reacts, that is its default. In re-acting, as the word suggests, the brain uses past data to interpret what should be a new situation, then initiates a reaction. While we like to think we are reacting to the situation at hand, we are not. We are reacting to the past, blind to what is in front of us. This happens because with lighting speed, the brain will alight on a minor detail, a trigger, discounting all the new stimuli in the field, and initiate a rerun.
With this program running we are literally stuck in the past with no access to the now, or the new. Life feels repetitive and mundane. Our relationships become rutted, conversations seem to end in the same place, deja-vu all over again. Like all programs, this one is stealth but unless we are trying to brush our teeth or drive our car, which we are all happy to do unconsciously, we should never be running this program. This information is essential because we are woefully unaware of the way the brain works and we are ignorant as to our responsibility for reigning it in.
We know triggers set off programs but they are very misleading. When triggered we feel alive as though we are on high alert, yet we are actually unconscious. Rather than checking out when triggered we can use them to our benefit, to alert us to the fact that we are sleeping so we can wake the f%$# up. The good news is that we are being constantly triggered so we will have plenty of opportunity for practice. Rather than cursing those people in our lives who push our buttons, we can bless them as the catalysts they are for breaking us out of the stupor we have been living in. Trump anyone?
Life is amazing! Every moment of every day is new. It should feel new and full of possibility, because we have never been here before. Learning to respond to our environment anew in each moment returns us to our natural state and restores peace of mind. The difference this will make in your life is immeasurable. Responding feels open, curious and engaged, sans agenda, intensity or pressure. Solutions arise organically through collaboration and creativity and everyone is uplifted. This is in stark contrast to reacting which feels closed, out of control, and frustrating. We default to blaming others, not the program, for our experience. Conflicts escalate as we lapse into self righteousness, justifying and rationalizing our often less than savory behavior. Creativity in problem solving is replaced with competition and manipulation as the only good solution is one where we get our way.
Though we may be loathe to admit it, we are reacting 95% of the day if not more - in our relationships, in our parenting, in our work routines. I cannot stress this enough, with this brain program intact nothing new will happen. So let's do some brain training.
Brain Training Lesson 8: Slow Your Roll
1) Take Stock
Notice where your life is repeating itself i.e. relationships, diets, finances. These brain loops are the past replaying itself, eradicating the present moment so nothing new can happen.
2) Look For What’s Right
This hack short-circuits regularly scheduled brain programming every time.
In every situation you find yourself in, especially those that are less than optimal, slow your roll and look for what’s right right now. It could be anything. And yes there is always something.
You aren’t crying
Your fly is zipped
You are breathing
Your pedicure looks good -
It does not matter what you choose. With the brain trained solely on what’s wrong, this exercise causes quite a disruption to the neuro-net.
3) Get Trigger Happy
Instead of avoidance, seek out triggers, invite them in. They are the tell for this program and we can use them to undo it.
Stay present when triggered
Open to infinite possibility by repeatedly acknowledging that you have never been in this moment before, you have no idea what is going to happen, anything is possible.
Resist the pull to time travel i.e. rely on the past and/or project into future.
4) Move into responding
The hallmark of responding is curiosity as to what will emerge, and listening and speaking from a soft heart. This is the only place where something new will happen. This will dissolve every rut and impasse in your life if you allow it.
Don’t force this - you cannot bypass the reaction program and go straight into responding. The other program must be quieted first.
If you can't get to all of the bullet points this week. Choose what resonates with you and focus on that. I would love to hear about your progress over the past weeks. The changes are subtle so can be missed. Think of where you were when you started to where you are now and what is different for you.
Peace, progress and possibility,