Our Personal Holding Pattern

Have you ever been stuck in an airplane circling around your destination until it’s safe to land?  An announcement comes on that says it’s necessary to be in a holding pattern due to fog or air traffic. At first, you are okay with it, knowing that an experienced pilot is in charge. But after a while you become annoyed being stuck in the air. You start worrying about what could happen, and then you wonder when your plane will finally land safely.

How often do you feel stuck in your own personal holding pattern?  Fear is a natural instinct when you feel unsure or confused.  Predicting an impending negative outcome or being uncertain about the future and resisting change can put you in a holding pattern. It’s natural to be rational and to look at all angles of a future scenario. Sometimes, though, you fabricate a scene that ignites apprehension. This causes you to linger about in a cloud, and you stay there in your holding pattern, afraid to move or take any action.

Eventually, circling around and around in uncertainty and fear becomes uncomfortable.  When you feel like you are hanging around in the clouds for too long, that can be your signal to formulate strategies for finding a safe place to land. Consider what actions you may need to take in order to sort out  any confusions or conflicts. What information do you need to gather?

Sometimes you don’t have the answers, so the key is to walk softly, one step at a time. This way you can discover the solutions as you go. Taking time to pay attention to each step helps you to recognize that the answers may be right in front of you or close at hand.

As long as there is no imminent danger  you can move forward beyond your trepidations by taking a moment to breathe. You breathe to center yourself. At your core is your goodness and strength. Sometimes you need to remind yourself of this. So take a deep breath to soften the tension and defenses around your core. Gently center yourself and proceed with courage to stand on solid ground.

Staying “real” is an ongoing process.  So, it’s important to accept all that you are. Honor your stuck-ness, fears, imperfections, and worries along with your strengths and positive qualities.  Once you do that, you can genuinely find your way through your problems to solutions that feel right to you.

OUR DEFAULT SETTINGS

Your personal default setting is based on past experiences and conditioning.  As a child, you may go through a harmful experience, or even a series of experiences that set your emotional frame of reference. You may have wanted something, and instead you ended up receiving the opposite.  For example, if you wanted attention, and instead, you were neglected or criticized. You may end up with feeling as though no one really cares, and your limiting beliefs could be that you are not important enough or smart enough. Or, you may have apprehension or self doubt as your default mode.

You don’t have to be at the mercy of your default setting. You can shift it, just as you do any other habit. Bertrand Russell has a point in stating, “It is only the intellect that keeps me sane; perhaps this makes me overvalue intellect against feeling”.  I believe that you need to honor your feelings. But when your negative feelings become a common uncomfortable occurrence, then you need to override them with your thinking and intellect.

In order to reset and create a new pattern of feeling, you have to make a conscious effort to pay attention.  Next time you are in your default mode, pause and take a deep breath. Simply by choosing to pause you bring awareness to yourself in the moment.

Notice your feelings and reactions to what you are thinking.  Remember, though, do this as an observer, not as a judge!  

“Once your awareness becomes a flame, it burns up the whole slavery that the mind has created.”  ~Osho~

Self-inquiry is useful in breaking the energy-drain.  While you can’t always control the feelings that pop up, you can manage them and redirect them. This naturally disrupts the rush of personal judgment and doubt.

Each time you consciously recognize your thinking and how it affects you, you will begin to be reminded of the magnificence of your inner mind. The fact is, we have the ability as human beings to balance our intuitive-feeling mind with our rational mind.

As you use the power of choice to lead you toward positive thoughts, your default mode will begin to show up less frequently and with less intensity. And as time goes on, your reactive thinking and negative feelings will last five minutes instead of five hours.  So take pleasure in the subtlest of changes.

The New Year reminds us…

The New Year reminds us to assess our actions  so we can improve on getting what we truly want in our lives.  This  is the perfect time to be honest with ourselves. We  draw up a list of work to be done and things to be improved.  

In order to balance the list, though,  it is crucial to not just look at our imperfections and shortcomings, but to also look  at what we have  accomplished.  

What we want to build upon are our gifts, talents and abilities. They are the seeds we want to grow. Connecting with our  abilities and  strengths will help us to weather the ups and downs of our days.

Remember, the things that we say to our self are essential to how we act. Therefore, we can add a source of pleasure to our days by simply taking responsibility for the quality of our thoughts.  

Allow room for error.  The English poet Alexander Pope said, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.”  We make mistakes, we stumble, and we may wallow a bit.  When we acknowledge our error with compassion and forgiveness, we can pick ourselves back up and find our way on a path that feels good.

Let’s begin each day with a resolution to give positive meaning and direction to our actions. 

 

Varying Shades

Have you ever watched a sunset and noticed how the colors of the sky gradually change as the sun slowly goes down?

Carl Rogers said it perfectly: “One of the most satisfying experiences I know is fully to appreciate an individual in the same way I  appreciate a sunset.  When I look at a sunset … I don’t find myself saying, ‘Soften the orange a little more on the right hand corner, and put a bit more purple along the base, and use a little more pink in the cloud color … ‘ I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch it with awe as it unfolds.”

Give yourself a kindhearted break, and discover the beauty of your varying shades and the shades of those around you.

Each shade has its own unique quality. So remember, that your stumbles are as complete as your successes.  Each step, each breath, each action is complete as it is.  As you accept this completeness, it encourages you to learn and to develop appreciation for your life as it is.

Pause to Pay Attention

When you know you are off-balance or when you are feeling distressed…. pause a bit, and be willing to acknowledge your responsibility in all of it; your thoughts, your feelings, your actions/your reactions, the sensations  in your body. We pause to pay attention. With attention and acceptance for all that is happening, it becomes much easier to find a solution that feels right.

Pause
Breathe
Pay Attention
Assess
Adjust
                                      Allow