This blog post is by Danette Adams, who will be facilitating a workshop on “Building Personal Resilience” on Sunday August 10 at Queen Street Yoga. Explore how the beliefs behind your drama curtain may be impacting your life choices and experiences without your awareness . You will leave with practical strategies that you can implement even before you leave the workshop. Read on for some ideas on beginning to look behind the “drama curtain”.
Summer Stress in the Self Check-out Lane
The pace was summer slow on this particular summer day when my sister and I wandered through the grocery store near her home. Once we agreed that we had all we came for, my sister indicated that she was going to go through the self-check lane with her items. Without even taking a breath, I scrunched up my nose and told her that I was going to go through the express lane where a tired-looking cashier was distractedly checking out a customer in front of me. “The self-check option is too stressful”. My sister lifted her eyebrows and twisted her face incredulously at me and said “Seriously! How do you make it through the day?”
I am peculiarly sensitive to stress and work hard to avoid it even though I absolutely know that some stress is completely natural and even beneficial for me.
But what was interesting to me was how reactionary I was to this insignificant event and so unaware of the process behind the scenes. It led me to consider how indicative my quick and unprocessed reaction was of how I handle more compelling situations that hold more meaning.
The Story Behind the Stress
In this case, I had a whole story-line worked out behind the curtain of my mini-drama. The story starts with how hard my life had been recently, as all my stories do.
When I eventually stopped, took a breath and looked deeper, I discovered a “voice behind the choice”. The voice informed me that I was burned out from work, that I had had a tiring drive through too much traffic and construction, that I was in an unfamiliar grocery store and that a negative self-check incident from my past would forever be repeated so it was best to just avoid it for the rest of my life.
All of that silent and not-nearly rational chaos came out in a clear declaration from me that I was making a conscious decision about a simple check-out lane. This minor incident is neither here nor there but what happens during more serious events and difficult situations?
What beliefs lie behind the big and small choices we make?
What beliefs inform each of our thoughts, words, emotions and actions?
And how do those unexamined beliefs lead to further complications in our lives, if left unexamined?
What is really happening behind these common experiences?
Temper flares ups
Irrational fears and phobia
Stuck in a rut
Looking under the hood
Thoughts, words, emotions and actions that stem from the above are like your car’s indicator lights. The lights come on to get our attention and to let us know that there is a deeper issue to be addressed. Ignoring the indicator lights or focusing only on them are not useful, long-term solutions. The light remains lit and keeps blinking while the underlying problem continues, undiagnosed and untreated. The logical solution is to lift the hood, shine a light on the inside and put what you find in there to the test.
Once we examine the beliefs behind the choices we make, we can be more certain that we are living consciously, with more awareness and a greater level of resilience to life’s stresses.
Danette Adams has had an engaging and evolving relationship with meditation for over two decades and is grateful to be able to share her passion for the practice of ‘sitting’ as a regular teacher of meditation at Queen Street Yoga. When facilitating meditation classes, Danette uses focused sensory awareness, breath work and gentle stretches and chooses to see the body as a primary teacher.