Calm During a Storm
by Amber Callahan
Week 2 of the 40 Day Revolution is coming to a close. I've done really well at making it to the mat 6 times the last two weeks. I did have to release some guilt this past week because I had to practice at home two times. But I'm getting to a new class on Monday (Yoga-lates) to make sure I get my 5 studio days in this week! I was also much more mindful about food this week and am already starting to notice a change in my body. It's amazing how the body responds when we fuel it appropriately. I will admit, though, that I'm still struggling to sit in meditation two times a day. The evenings are much easier than the mornings for me. I know that if I'd go to bed earlier, I'd be able to get up earlier, so I'm working on that!
The exercise at this week's meeting was on my mind most of the week (I go to the Wednesday meetings). I could not believe how incredibly uncomfortable I was with it. We had to sit face to face with another person (cross legged, knees touching) and stare into one another's eyes. I did not know my partner, yet she was the kind of person that has an incredible calming energy radiating off of her. I, however, do not exude that same sense of calm. I sat and maintained eye contact for the full two minutes all the while talking myself out of the panic that I felt rising up. I wanted really, really badly to break the gaze and get out of the situation. It sounds pretty funny now as I type this.
When we were processing our feelings after the exercise, though, it was very clear that I handle many situations in my life in the same manner. I get anxious and try to avoid situations and uncomfortable feelings, particularly conflict. I made it through those two minutes of eye contact by focusing on my breath and reminding myself to breathe. I have to remind myself daily to breathe through situations.
But, you know what struck me the most in the conversation after the exercise? Someone said, it helped to think that the situation was temporary. And, that's true in life. Situations are temporary (if we want them to be) and we have complete control over our emotions and how we react to situations. It doesn't mean that we won't ever be faced with uncomfortable situations (that's called life), but we have total choice in how we REACT to the situation. Week 3 focuses on equanimity: the art of meeting life as it meets you - calmly. I think I need a little of that in my life.