Thursday, February 7, 2013

Be Still

We all have moments in life where everything seems to be just too much.  You wake up late, then rush downstairs to find that something spooked the cat and she knocked a decorative container filled with decorative beads off the table and it shattered into a hundred pieces, then you get on the road and WHAM!  Flat tire…. You finally get to work and the only spot left to park is the farthest one from the door and happens to be next to the biggest puddle in the entire lot, so now your pants are wet up through the ankles.  Then you walk in and everyone seems to be affected by the negative tone that has been manifesting in your life with delay after delay, so now you are dealing with bad vibes from every direction…. It’s just too much.

What do you do in those situations?  Do you give in to the negativity and continue to feed it by getting upset and wondering “why me”?  Or, do you recognize that no one is out to get you and this is just a moment in your lifetime, and it will soon pass to be replaced with calmer and happier times?

The power of negativity can be so overwhelming, and its affects can be downright frightening.  Stress, sickness, hatred, depression, anxiety… The more negativity is allowed to take hold and develop the more manifestations it will take.  Many times the event affecting you that you categorize as negative is a manifestation of negativity from elsewhere.  It is so important for you (and for those around you) to stave off feeding into it; hold it at bay or transmute the energy to good.

Learning to turn a negative into a positive is one of the harder things to master.  I continue to look into the reason why it is so easy to latch on to negatives when really it is just as easy to hold on to positives.  I will be the first to admit that there are times I allow negativity in to my space and let it fester there, but I have come such a long way from where I used to be.  I can very easily recognize when I am doing this and actively resolve to stop it in its tracks, and depending on the situation turn it around so that it shines with the Light of the sun.


The way we approach things and deal with issues is unique to our personal beings, however, many of the ways that work for one will also work for another.  It is best to try different things to see what works for you, and you will most likely end up tweaking it a bit so that it turns unique to you.

Here are a few ways I deal with negativity.


Whenever I feel it start to creep over me – anger, irritation, impatience, etc. – I start to breathe.  I take deep breaths in, hold for a couple counts, and then slowly let it out.  I continue this process for however long I need to. 

  • Sometimes I will add a yoga move to my breathing:  Sun Salutation (only depending on where I am, I don’t follow the whole cycle, I will instead just follow the first 3 moves of breathing  - exhale arms to the chest, inhale arms to the sky chest wide open, exhale dive forward to touch the ground).

When this starts to happen in the middle of a conversation with someone, I will recognize that it’s happening and just mentally check myself to stop.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  When it doesn’t, I will practice breathing once the conversation is over.


Laughter truly is the best medicine.  It works like a charm for anyone who is sad, and it’s even been said that the more you laugh the longer you’ll live.  I have no idea if that is true, but I completely agree with the sentiment!  When unpleasant things happen to me, I will take that moment to laugh at the absurdity or the irony of it, rather than take the victim route of questioning why it happened.

If I am talking to someone who is just repeatedly putting themselves down or complaining about events, I will try cracking a joke.  Sometimes this backfires… I can have a sarcastic wit that can get lost on people…. But for the most part I am very good at reading someone and know just what to say to get them to smile.  Indeed, making people smile is one of my favorite things to do!

Recognize the lesson.

Sometimes when a negative happens it’s because we need to learn something from it.  Maybe something from the past, maybe something for the future.  The trick is to take you out of the equation and look at it from a passenger’s point of view.  What happened?  Why?  Could it have been prevented?  What has changed because of it?  How could that be a good thing?  Write it down in a journal (HUGE advocate of journals!) and if you don’t see the lesson yet, you will.

Be still. 
This is my ultimate favorite way to deal with negativity, but due to the environments I prefer to be in when I practice it, I can’t always use it as my “go to” technique.

When I say “be still,” what I mean is to be here, be aware, be present.  Bringing your awareness to present is a fantastic way to ground yourself and to know that life is so much more than meets the eye.  It helps remind us that we are spiritual beings, connected to a vast world that we’ve only scratched the tiniest of surfaces of knowing.

How to be still?  There are a few ways I do this. 

Walk outside.

I drive to the nearest forest and go for a walk, setting the intention before stepping on to the path that I will see what I need to see to help bring focus.  Then with that in mind I walk, and when something beautiful catches my eye I stop.  Then I take a few deep breaths in and out, and look at what has caught my eye.  See everything about it; take in all of the details.  This focuses my mind to present.  Once I’m truly here, then I will expand my awareness to all of my senses.  What am I hearing?  What do I smell?  What do I taste in the air?  What am I feeling at this moment?  This invariably fills me with the deepest of calms.  It nourishes my soul and allows me to feel grateful that I am alive to experience all these things this beautiful world has to offer.

Take a bath.

Some people underrate baths.  Men will often write them off saying it’s a woman’s luxury or only necessary when deep muscle aches need soaking.  But baths are purifying and detoxifying, and I believe everyone should soak in comforting waters at least once a month.  To get the most out of baths, I suggest using lots of candles for lighting, use oils or scented bath foam for aromatherapy value (try lavender, vanilla, patchouli, or sandalwood), and take in a portable stereo to play soft, relaxing music (spa music for an at home spa night!).  When you are in tub, follow the steps outlined above to center yourself and bring your awareness to all your senses.  The only problem is sometimes I get so relaxed I fall asleep… once I woke up an hour later to cold bathwater…  That was a shock!

Just be still where you are.

You certainly don’t need to be in nature or in a bath to practice being still… but those are just the easiest places for me to do it.  Practice being still in different places to see where you get the best results.  I’ve done this during a busy day at work and was surprised at the outcome.  However, it wasn’t very long lived, as the phone then rang and I had to quickly switch focus back to the tasks at hand.  But I was relaxed and ready to tackle the next project.

As stated before, there are several techniques you can use to combat negativity, and I hope that one of mine helps you!  Remember you can always tweak things to better suite you.  Some people like to exercise, some turn to a good book, others knit or craft.  Yoga and meditation are awesome peace bringers.  Experiment, find what works for you.  Because the more happy and positive YOU are, the more happy and positive the world is.  Life is better when you smile!  :-)

Stormily yours, with Love and Light!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Ice Rainbows and Eagles

Photo credit

I left the house this morning in a bit of a rush, having remembered at the last second – which is typical for me – that the gas level in my car was  low and I wasn't sure if I would make it all the way in without stopping.   I had to sacrifice making a lunch in order to leave 10 minutes early, which would have given me plenty of time to stop if I needed to.  I had about 20 miles left to go when my car dinged to tell me that I really should consider Refueling.  There was a gas station about 5 miles up the road, and while prices are typically more expensive there than where I work, I decided that since Car was dinging with possibly more than  20 miles left before I reached my destination, and with the temperature gauge on the dash reading a balmy 1°, I better pull in and fill up.

As I pulled up to a pump I ignored a small feeling that I should move to another one.  It would prove to be a mistake (or would it?).  I quickly stopped the car, turned off the engine and jumped out to start the fueling process.  I tried not to think about the bitter cold that made it feel as though the layers of skin on my face and hands were stripped away as I fumbled out my card and swiped it into the machine.  The display was taking a long time to load up due to the sub-zero wind chill temperatures; I had my hands jammed into my coat pockets and was doing a tiny holy-shit-I-am-cold dance while my eyes bored holes into the screen.  Slowly it revealed the next step of instructions for me to enter thy pass code to proceed.  I started to punch in the numbers, and even though I heard it beep it did not display the asterisk on the screen serving as my visual confirmation of acceptance.  The cold.  The damn cold.  I continued on, trusting the beeps, and when I hit the ENTER button I found that it was frozen solid.  It would NOT budge.

Rather than accept the fact that the button was not working, my slight OCD kicked in and I continued to feebly smash my finger down onto the accursed thing for about a minute, mumbling to myself about my luck and why the hell did the damn thing have to be frozen.  I did not want to admit defeat.  Finally a voice popped into my head telling me that I really needed to hurry it up because my window of time that I had before being late for work was closing.  I walked to the other side of the pump to check that ENTER button, a fleeting thought crossing my mind that maybe every ENTER button was frozen in a ploy by the gas station to get you come inside, but that was functioning as smoothly as ever. 

I hopped in my car and pulled around to the other side of the pumps.  The display on the new pump seemed to be working a little better, and I thought I was on track again.  After punching in my code I grabbed the gas nozzle and put it in the tank, waiting for the “One moment please….” to disappear and be replaced with whatever the next phrase is (now that I think about it, I'm not sure I've ever really paid attention to what that actually is).  After 3 minutes, with the phrase still on the screen, and my patience level rapidly falling, it finally disappeared and told me that I needed to “See the Cashier”. 

I yelled a choice phrase at the machine, turned and speed walked into the building.  The cashier was finishing up with a customer but she must have read something in my face because she warily asked me right away how she could help.  My voice catching in desperation I blurted out that the pump was telling me to see the cashier and I really needed to get to work.  She told me that it hadn’t read my card, so I exasperatedly told her to just put $10 on the pump as I waived my card at her.  She then asked if the nozzle was off the handle, and I said yes… to which she responded that she wouldn't be able to put a pre-paid amount on the pump if the nozzle was not hung up. 

It was too much.  The culmination of the events just frayed too much on my nerves and I snapped.  I abruptly turned away from her, dropping a “Mother F*cker” bomb as I stormed out the door.  I never do that.  Ever.  While those close to me know that F*ck is actually a favorite word of mine that I use quite frequently, I am very conscious of when and where I use it, and who I am around.  I never want to be the cause of making anyone feel uncomfortable, and so I conduct myself in public very tactfully.  Except for that moment.

I reached the pump and was at this point seeing the world through a haze of red rage.  I swiped my card back through the reader and fortunately this time it read (very fortunate, because I likely would have imploded if it hadn’t).  The $10 put on by the cashier had applied, and so I began to pump the gas, willing it to go as fast as possible.  Once it reached the $9 mark it slowed to a snail crawl.  I started yelling at the thing, knowing there was nothing I could do but feeling like if I yelled it would make me feel better.  It didn’t.  It just fed the rage.  Finally the mark hit $10 and I sealed everything up to hop in the car and get the hell on the road.

I had enough sense to know that I didn’t want to tear ass out of the gas station and put anyone at risk, so I did sanely drive to the main road.  I looked at the clock to see that 15 minutes had gone by.  I was now officially running 5 minutes late.  I was seething with anger, questioning why the series of events had to unfold the way they did, thinking that if I would have just pulled up to a different pump, none of this would have happened and I’d be on time. 

There I was, holding on to and continuously feeding these negative and defeatists notions, when I happened to look out the driver’s side window.  I was met with an absolutely beautiful ice rainbow in the sky.  In that moment all of the negative feelings washed away, and I was left with that sense of awe that I always feel when looking out at the beauty of Nature.  I took in the rolling fields and distant tree lined horizon, the rising sun, the beautiful pale blue winter sky, and the ice rainbow, shining in its brilliance, reminding me in its soft, subtle way that life is better when you smile.

I was able then to laugh at myself and the situation I’d just gone through.  I felt chagrin at having lost it in the station and I mentally apologized to the cashier.  I recognized that I was the owner of my reactions, and I was choosing to be negative.  I did not want that – I do not like to be angry.  And so I stopped.  I smiled at the rainbow, and I continued on my way, lighter and fuller.

When lunch time came I left to go grab a sandwich and fill up the rest of my tank.  When I pulled into the gas station I saw that every single pump had an “out of service” bag on it.  Every single one.  I didn’t even get angry, just accepted that I’d have to get gas on the way home instead.  I walked in to get my Subway veggie sandwich, and saw that their credit card machine was down and they were only able to accept cash.  At that I slightly faltered, wondering where I was going to go for food (you may recall that I’m a vegetarian working in a slightly remote, very fried-meat-food oriented area), when I remembered these little machines called ATMs and saw there was one in the corner, happily functioning.  I got my sandwich, smiled to all the workers, and tried my best to project positivity, knowing that with the credit card machine down and none of the pumps working they were being met with enough negatives.

As I pulled away and headed back toward work, a large bird flying in the sky caught my attention.  At first I thought it was a crow, but as I neared it I saw that it was way too big to be one.  I had just gotten alongside it when it dipped its body toward me and I was able to see its white head.  A Bald Eagle.  I knew then without a doubt that the events of today were lessons, and I had soared through them with the sun on my face and the wind dancing in my hair.

Photo Credit

Remember that life is what we make it.  We choose how we react and how we chose perpetuates our environment.  How will you choose?  Will you be a victim, or will you be a survivor?

Stormily Yours, with much Love and Light!