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Yesterday, I was reminded of something important by a very wise mentor of mine:  “Your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions are NOT the truth.”   And that statement completely re-calibrated some things that were feeling stuck for me.

(Now, this statement might sound surprising coming from me, since I’m always talking about things like trusting what you feel and knowing what you know).

And, yes… as we are navigating, creating, and manifesting our most amazing lives, it’s crucial to “know what you know”.   And, it’s equally important to recognize when your feelings, perceptions, and thoughts are not the truth.

(It’s one of those seeming paradoxes of being a human).

Because, let’s think about what can happen:    Something stressful hits.  The sh*t hits the fan.  Perhaps an event triggers an old trauma or wound.  Your critter brain freaks out, going on high alert and spinning madly, trying frantically to fix things while pumping out stress hormones and amping you up until your both wired and exhausted.

From that place, what are your perceptions going to tell you?  They might tell you something like:  “The world is a totally unsafe place.”  “Everything is hopeless.” “There are no solutions.”

These are the kinds of responses that come from a brain and nervous system that’s stuck in the trigger.  They are going to feel very, very real.  And, they are not the truth. 

And one of the key pieces of healing is being able to recognize:  “Oh, I’m stuck in the trigger in this moment.  My thoughts, feelings, and perceptions are telling me a whole bunch of things that are not actually true.”

So, what to do? How do we stay connected to spiritual truth when our bodies are feeling off center and the stress reaction has our full attention?

Here are my steps to get out of the trigger:

1.  Pause.  It’s the simplest and most powerful tool.  Pause, notice your breath, feel your body or notice your environment.  Just give your nervous system that little mini- break to recalibrate a tiny bit.

2. Separate the Sensation from the Story.  This is a concept and teaching that comes from Peter Levine, the founder of Somatic Experiencing.  When traumatic experiences affect us, they become imprinted and coded into our experience.  One of the ways this happens is through a “coupling” between a thought and a sensation.

Perhaps you’ll notice that when you are thinking stressful or painful thoughts, there’s almost certainly some kind of a sensation on a body level that goes along with it.  Perhaps it’s a tightness in the chest, a pressure behind the eyes, a spinning in the head, or a “crushed” feeling in the heart.

As you pause, breathe a bit and notice that sensation, you can begin to separate from it a bit.  You “separate the sensation from the story” and notice that there is a story in your mind, and a sensation in your body; and that even though they feel like one and the same, they are actually two different things.

And as you breathe, pause, and notice those two things, you can begin to find a bit of space between them.  One way to do this is to “pendulate” your attention back and forth:  Sensation.  Story.  Sensation. Story.  Even the intention to separate them will begin to give you some space.

3. Centering, Grounding, or Breathwork.  If you have a favorite practice to create some connection and grounding, bring in that here.  One of mine is the “self hug” which comes from Jin Shin Jyutsu:  wrap your right arm around the left side of your chest, as if you are cradling your heart.  Wrap the left arm on top of the right in a “hug.”  Feel the contact of your arms and hands against your body as you gently breathe.

4.   Resource List.  Now that you’ve got a bit of space, you might want to bring in your resource list.  (That’s your personal super-power list of things that bring you goodness, calmness, or ease.)

5. Write what you know to be true.  From this more grounded and centered place, sit down and write a bit about what you know to be True with a capital T.  Now that more of your brain is back online, write from that place of you that does know. When our bodies are out of fight/ flight, then we can connect to spiritual truth.

This whole process can be done in 5-10 minutes, and can help bring you back to center even when the really crazy stuff hits.

What other practices help you come back to center, and to what you know?  Here are some more of my favorites:

– Energy balancing work.  (I use a multitude of different practices and modalities, but check out Donna Eden’s work if you’re looking for a simple, do-able way to work with your own energy body.)

– Connecting with friends and colleagues  (Crucial now, more than ever before!)

– Being in nature  (This is always my go-to and it’s amazing how fast it re-sets me.)

– Getting lots of sleep.  (My body and nervous system function soooooo much better.)

– Meditation (I like doing a twice a day practice, morning and night, but this will look different for everybody!)

– Support (I regularly invest in my own Somatic Experiencing sessions, group programs, and ongoing learning- because up-leveling the consciousness and energy is a must when we’re living our best lives in crazy times.)

And I find that when I’m regularly building in all of that energetic, emotional, and physical support for myself, then the challenges become launching- off places for amazing growth.  (And that’s my goal…. that the challenging days become the high-growth days.)

What are your favorite practices to recalibrate and center? How do you stay at your highest possible frequency? Mindfully bringing in all of our supportive tools can help to live life from our highest and most resourced level of being.

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