Staying Present in Groundlessness
So last week I talked about the top 5 ways to eliminate fear. The first step was to admit you are afraid. Then the next thing I said was “step into that shaky place.” Here’s what I said:
Step into the “Shaky Place”. How do you do this? Courageously step into what I call “the shaky place” – that moment of groundlessness, where you don’t know how to find your balance, everything is shifting and you have to reorient yourself to your new situation. It’s that moment when you go into your normal coping patterns that are holding you back. It’s taking that moment and choosing to do something else. Instead of getting angry, get curious. Instead of backing away, get playful. Instead of hiding or dampening feelings with food or other habits, GET MAD! Yes, I said get MAD. Anger is energy, fuel for the fire that will transform what you are afraid of into something you have overcome.
So now that I told you all about how to move through it, I thought I should help us understand exactly what “it” is. What is groundlessness? What does it feel like in our bodies, our hearts, or minds? How can we identify it so that we KNOW when it’s time to turn on the courage and move through something?
The are a few telltale common phrases that we humans use when we feel groundless. For example: “I got the rug pulled out from under me.” “I had butterflies in my stomach.” “I felt naseous, like I wanted to throw up.” “I got dizzy and lightheaded.” “I couldn’t keep my balance.” “I’m such a klutz today, bumping into things or knocking things over.”
When we experience groundlessness, our very foundations, our core, our balance or how we relate to/perceive the world starts to shift. Our eyes get blurry, we may feel like the world is twirling around us in a blur and we are just trying to get a sense of it. This is one of the magic process of transformation. Often we panic when this stuff happens, as it is SCARY and WEIRD and we would just like it to stop, please!
The way we can manage and surf these feelings is to slow down. Often we have the opposite reaction – get busier, drown the feelings, eat the feelings, stuff the feelings, take the feelings out on others. Pretend the feelings aren’t there, or cover them up with “nicer” feelings, “more appropriate” feelings or – even ickier – make sure we have the “right” feelings, rather than the feelings we feel!
This easily takes us into the emotional side of things. When we feel these feelings in our bodies, often they are paired with or a result of things going on in our minds and hearts. Ever felt so anxious it made you dizzy or lightheaded? Ever get so upset or stressed you felt like crap the next day? Ever have a upsetting thing happen and get in a car accident very soon after?
When we experience groundlessness, our culture teaches us to anesthesitize ourselves with “feel good” stuff – and to some extent this is helpul to not get overwhelmed with the challenge we are currently trying to face. However, these behaviors can quickly move into the unhelpful and unhealthy realm if we aren’t facing our fears and challenges, moving through them and making progress as human beings. That doesn’t mean you have to lose the weight, achieve any type of goal or acquire any material wealth. What it does mean is that you are staying present to your challenges – to your progress or lack of progress and making decisions for your life based on that.
So really, how do I deal with this inbetween space?
So this “shakiness” or “groundlessness” can be dealt with my finding those spaces within our practice that are not defined. The moment between the inhale and the exhale. The transition between the poses – the moment when you change from doing one thing to another. The moment you find you’ve drifted off into normal mental or physical patterns and you bring yourself back to what you are presently doing and not what you’re tempted to do or usually do. In short, its the practice of being aware of shifting. Changing. Movement from one place to another – in the mind, body or spirit.
Another thing that helps is playful curiousity. When we are paying attention to the shift, the transition from the peak to the trough and back again, is to playfully observe and be curious about the sights, sounds, smells, thoughts, feelings, touch, etc of that movement. Can you feel your hands move on the mat? Can you feel the breeze gently move past your cheek as you sit up? What sensation do you have in your feet to help you connect with the ground?
QUICK CHEAT SHEET
So here’s your quick cheat sheet for when you feel like you’re in that “Shaky Place”:
1. Stop, or slow down your movements or what you are doing.
2. Take a slow breath, and notice the pace or nature of things changing around you.
3. Feel your feet. Rub them back and forth across the ground (barefoot if you can) or use your hands to feel something in front of you. Feel the texture of the surface (hands or feet). Notice the color, smell and shape of the surface.
4. Be playful and curious about the surface or what is happening. What colors, shapes and sounds can you describe?
How are you facing your own fears? I would love to hear how this path of noticing this practice in your life has affected you or the people around you. Please feel free to post on my facebook page or email me!