There’s so much going on, isn’t there? The climate, the election, racial injustice, the pandemic… So many things to stress and worry about.
Do you ever want to just dive into a hole and pull it in after you? That’s how I feel sometimes! Like, stop, could I just have a break from it all?
And to be perfectly honest, that’s when I find myself in front of the TV, escaping into a world where people wear beautiful clothes and get themselves into messes that they manage to get out of 45 minutes later.
But you know what? I’ve noticed something. Those times when I want to escape into another world… they don’t come randomly. I’ve learned that the urge to escape is a signal from inside myself. It’s a signal that something in me needs attention.
And if I can stay aware enough to get that signal, I can often discover what’s really bothering me… and address it… and my urge to escape calms down.
In this episode of Inner Peace for Challenging Times, you’ll hear how my student, Jamila, approached her urge to snack on unhealthy food in a radically different way — a way that helped her come back to a more peaceful inner experience.
What happened to my student Jamila is a perfect example of this. Years ago, Jamila had a habit of snacking on unhealthy food when she was overstressed. But she got a handle on it and she hadn’t been doing it for a while.
Just the other day it started up again. The urge to go on the hunt for food. The feeling of needing to have the comfort of a bowl of popcorn and a cup of hot chocolate.
Jamila found herself in front of the TV with the popcorn and the chocolate… and then it hit her: What’s going on?
Now, I really admire Jamila for that. It takes a lot of awareness to pause in the middle of an escape and ask ourselves what’s going on. But she did it.
She paused. She turned off the TV. She asked herself inside, “Is there something that I’m wanting to escape from?” And she didn’t just give herself a quick answer. She waited… and sensed.
That’s a powerful moment. There’s so much trust right there. Trust that we CAN ask ourselves what’s really going on… trust that when an answer isn’t there immediately, it will come when we take some time.
Because what’s going on for us DOES make sense… but the way that it makes sense isn’t up here, in the conscious mind. It’s down here, in the deeper knowing of the body, that takes time and patience to access.
So what happened when Jamila took that time? She realized there was something she’d been procrastinating on. She’d been avoiding getting started on a video course on healing trauma.
Now, I like to teach people three little words. These are the most remarkable words for moving away from being overstressed and into a compassionate relationship with ourselves. The three little words are: “Something in me.”
Jamila said to herself: “Something in me is avoiding getting started on that course.” She still had her awareness inside, in here. And she started to get an image of the “something in her” that was avoiding the course.
It was like a small girl, sitting on the floor against the wall, her mouth full of sweets but not enjoying them. Jamila sensed this little girl was feeling sad and overwhelmed. She said Hello to the little girl, this younger version of herself. “Hello, I know you’re there, and I sense how sad and overwhelmed you’re feeling.”
An inner relationship was being formed. Using the language of “something in me” allowed Jamila to get an image of this “something in her” that was feeling sad and overwhelmed. And THAT allowed her to bring compassion and care and understanding to that sad and overwhelmed part of her.
And you know what? The little girl heard her. Jamila felt the response in her body. The urge to eat calmed down. She was able to start the course later that day.
This is what I love! You are not really a mystery! Your urges and your behaviors make sense. When a part of you reaches for the cookies or the TV remote… It’s responding to something real. It’s a signal from a deeper place in yourself that is asking for some attention.
And there’s a way to give it that attention. I just want to underline the three important things Jamila did.
She noticed something was off, so she paused.
She used the language of “something in me” to acknowledge a part of her that was avoiding.
She waited… and when she became aware of that inner part of her, she treated it with kindness, and patience. So simple. So powerful. So beautiful.
Do you want more of my tips for calm in the midst of stress? Get my free e-course, Get Bigger Than What’s Bugging You. In five simple lessons, you’re well on your way to responding differently to the triggers of life.
So here’s to you… having a more peaceful life.