In the Positive Possibilities Living column in this month’s issue, we explored the notion of standing your ground. Here, let’s deepen that exploration through a guided practice.
When you next feel that you need to stand your ground, see if you can remain open, relaxed, rooted and expansive. From this vantage point, remember that things are not “happening to you”. You are no victim, but are perfectly supported. You are given all you need in each moment to learn and evolve. From this vantage point, watch your reactions rise and fall away.
If you feel confronted by someone, watch what that person is doing, as though you were watching a cloud move through the sky. Yes. There it is. So it is. See that person as he or she is. How is he tense, scared, honest, loving, brave? Can you feel the goodness within her in this moment, speaking through her to you? Is he really against you or is he offering you an opportunity to see a much bigger picture and live rooted in that reality?
When you feel rooted, vital and expansive, your feet are like magnets that anchor you to the Earth. That bond in turn feeds you and provides the foundation upon which you can build your life. Then you experience the support you need to remain present, within yourself. You can sense what you feel, know what you need and be clear on how to move in each moment. You are connected.
From this vantage point, the person with whom you felt you needed to stand your ground becomes an opportunity to let go of feeling attacked, separate, unloved or unsupported. They become your teacher, highlighting how you had momentarily lost sight of your inherent connection to all that is.
By practicing three simple steps when you feel attacked, scared or triggered, you can unwind your reactive tendency to defend, and learn to retrain your brain to see life from a whole new perspective.
Step One: Understand
Understanding is your first step in moving from a fear-driven life to a life rooted in love and trust. When you understand the nature of the impossibilities, you understand that your reactivity and defensiveness come from a distorted sense of reality. When we react and are defensive, we are not seeing the whole picture. With a limited perspective, you short-change yourself of the fullness of this moment. When you realize this, you understand that what you see is a sort of mirage or illusion, the way light reflected off hot air over sand in the desert can seem like water. When a cloud covers the sun, you may only see the cloud, but you still know that the sun is still there, shining as bright as ever. Understanding is to be clear that even when you think you only see a raincloud, light is ever present, guiding your way.
Step Two: Witness
Your second step in letting go of reactivity and defensiveness is learning to witness what is. When you learn to see things as they are without attaching an additional story over it. You free yourself from becoming caught up in the drama of your perceptions and those of others. You begin to loosen the grip of your ego and live in greater service to the creative flow. You watch the clouds as they pass through the sky, resting in the knowing of the eternal light beyond them. As such, witnessing can only happen when you are rooted in understanding.
Step Three: Release
Step three, release, happens as a result of the previous steps. When you begin to see things as they are, you experience a letting go of the tendency to want to defend, to control, to see yourself as separate. You realign yourself with a much greater whole, of which you are a part. You no longer engage your energy in that which does not serve. The energy which was once was caught up in the eddies of your ego is now freed to return to the whole.
The next time you find yourself feeling reactive, or having your buttons pushed, see if you can practice these three steps to keep you feeling rooted, vital and expansive. Then let your words and actions arise from feeling connected within the whole.
Parvati is an award-winning musician (I Am Light, Electro Yog, Yoga In The Nightclub), yogini (YEM: Yoga as Energy Medicine), author (Aonani of Avalon, Confessions from Your Awakened Self) and founder of the not-for-profit Parvati.org. All her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS).More info: parvati.tv; parvati.org.