Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Stop! In the Name of Love

I love it when I interact with someone and they come away feeling better than they felt when they started the conversation. Life sometimes sticks and it just needs a little gentle nudge to start moving again.

My greatest asset comes from scouring my memory for connections to sticky spots. Maybe I haven't had that exact problem, but maybe I had something similar. Maybe all I have is a different view.

Biology built pain as a warming. Since we evolved a contemplative mind, we started using emotional pain as warning too. Like a stop sign, pain guides us to avoid certain interactions.

Sometime past experiences come up in our brain and distract us. The pain of these experiences can cause us to veer off the road and send us into a ditch.

I believe that their purpose often gets neglected. I neglect the guidance often. Then I remember that all interactions, even so called "negative" information can keep us on a safe wondrous path.

Use the directions nature gives you. Have pain? Stop, look both ways, when clear, proceed at a careful pace.

Even the most cautious driver makes mistakes. Have a strategy for getting out of the ditch. For me, the most common "ditches' come in the form of what John Bradshaw calls "shame spirals."

Bradshaw says that when we feel we are not worthy and something happens, like we miss an important deadline, we can pile on every misstep and attribute it to our lack of worth. Instead of doing that, have a back up plan.

Many people now carry cell phones at the very least for "emergencies." Find yourself in an emotional ditch? Phone a friend. Text if you must but try a real live human interaction as soon as possible. Make sure the friend doesn't have anything to do with the problem. That way they are less likely to get caught up and wind up in the ditch with you.

Maybe you'll need a mental tow truck? If you had a tough life like mine, therapy REALLY helps. Make sure that you find a reputable one. A good therapy person will help you get calm in order to help you. Though therapy does bring up pain that seems to hurt MORE sometimes, they should never EVER cause it.

Those days when we need more time to sort through our emotional car wreck, put some flares in our tool kit. Phrases that you practice while you're running smooth that you can pull out to alert friends and family that you need help.

I like to ask for understanding without judgement. My most common confidant is Murry so I say that I need to talk and the only responses he can give are "I understand" or "I don't understand. Please explain."

Another flare that isn't mine but Murry's "Too many inputs." It means he can't handle any more information and he needs some time to process what is going on inside his head.

Sometimes our emotional vehicle needs fuel. This can be a literal sense of we need to eat or a figurative sense in we need joyful experiences. When I am upset or in pain, I can both put off eating or eat lots. I try and remind myself that all basic needs serve to keep me in good running order. I check my fuel gauge and fill up on something I really like that is also good for me.

I will look at flowers, cuddle a kitty or puppy, think about pleasant things like the memory of seeing a yellow butterfly land on a purple gladiola. We all have those fond tidbits in our past. Use them to fuel up our psyche.

What emotions would you equate to what road signs? What tools do you keep in your mental trunk to help you out of a problem?

Kind comments welcome.

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