Nothing Happened

Posted Posted in Breathe Yoga Newsletter, Client/Friend Stories

Hello folks, today we have a pretty cool story. Well, at least I think it’s cool… This is the kind of thing we can really learn from, too. A friend of mine was involved in some road rage activity while driving that almost left her without an arm. Almost. In truth, nothing happened to her arm except that a nice breeze gently rolled across it. Seriously! That’s the fact of what happened. Something entirely different was very close to happening, though. So her imagination got a hold of things, and the story started to spin out of control, which of course caused her to feel anxious and start to freak out. So she texted me, and I called and we had a very brief but great chat, really nailing it in its tracks. What she did is something that we all do, so it’s a pretty good story to consider. It’s actually really freaking cool when you stop and think about it. Here’s what happened…

I think her friend was driving, and they got into it with another car on the road. You know how people get mad at each other while driving and then one of them will actually tailgate the other one and sort of chase them? Well, that’s what was happening. Which I think is insane, by the way – and I used to do it some! I think there’s a future Road Rage post brewing. Back to the story… I don’t remember the details of who did what, so my friends might’ve been more the victims of someone else’s crazy driving. Or they might have been contributing as well. In the end, though, this other car came really close to side swiping them. And my friend’s arm was hanging out the window. And the other car came really close to hitting it. Which would’ve totally sucked! It quite literally could’ve taken her arm off. Whatever happened was a very close call, so her mind went off to the races. And that’s what most of us would’ve done. The mind starts thinking as if our arm had already been taken off. And that’s cool and all, except for the fact that our body is constantly reflecting what the mind is up to. We are feeling our thinking. So when the mind goes to the worst case scenario that didn’t even happen, our body feels that. And it does not feel good. Panic attack, anyone?

So let’s take a closer look. When it really comes down to it, nothing happened to her arm. Nothing happened. Nothing. Happened. Her arm was fine, exactly as fine as it was before this happened. Her arm was not even touched by the car. Not touched. Not a scratch. A wind rolled across it, and that’s the extent of what really happened. Yes, the wind was caused by a car that was inches from her arm! And I know that’s very scary, I really do. I’m not trying to minimize that. But the fact – the fact – is that it was still just some wind. And some wind can’t hurt your arm. Just saying…

So when she texted me, she was pretty panicky with the “what-ifs.” And who would not have been! She wasn’t doing anything wrong. In fact, she was acting totally normal for a human in 2016. Keep in mind, though, that we’re growing beyond mere normal here at A Clean Mind. We’ve already done normal, and it was really stressful and painful. So we’ve decided to look more closely at things. We’re doing our best to practice getting out of the way and looking at what’s really going on. And when we do this, we see that lots of our reactions are simply not necessary; they aren’t what we really want. They don’t bring us more peace, but rather quite the opposite. And we come to realize that we actually have much more choice than we had previously thought.

What do we mean by choice? What my friend thought was that if something like this crazy road incident had happened, then she had to freak out and be upset all day. And she had to tell everyone she knew and re-live it, staying freaked out all day. And hoping they gave her some sympathy and agreed about what an a**hole that other driver was. And she is free to do that! But when we talked, we were able to stay in the breath, let the body calm down, and stick to the facts. And she saw that the fact of the matter was that nothing had happened. I almost lost my arm. Almost. Big difference! And this brought her big relief as she breathed in the fact of “my arm is safe, my arm is fine, my arm is literally fine.” She breathed that in, so that her body would feel the safety and calmness. And her body relaxed pretty quickly; it worked like a charm. Then she saw that she could totally choose to tell others, but only if she really wanted to. And if she did want to, then the quality of the tale would be totally different. Because she knew she was fine. She was okay. So in telling the story, she wasn’t in need of validation or sympathy or anything like that. It was more matter of fact, which means she was more at peace. So cool.

It was just cool for me to see her really relax into the fact that her arm was fine, 100% fine. Nothing happened! Wow, what a close call. Maybe we should re-examine how we interact with other cars on the road? Or maybe not. Again, I don’t remember their role in this. If I’m freaked out all day letting the chatterbox run wild, though, then I’ll miss any lessons I might learn. And finally, let’s take one more brief look at what the mind actually does in so many situations: It acts as if we’ve already lost our arm. It goes to the worst case scenario, even if that is unlikely or impossible. Let that sink in. The mind goes to the worst case, and then our body feels that. Folks, this is not a fun way to live! And we’re all doing it to some degree. And we are totally free and innocent to do this. I’m just trying to share stuff as I learn it, though, about what’s really going on in our minds as we go through life. And when we see what’s going on, we now have a choice where there was none before. So start seeing it first! And then see if there actually is a choice, another option that you didn’t see before. And as always, let me know if I can help!

The 15-Second Panic Attack

Posted Posted in Client/Friend Stories

Hi folks, today I’d like to introduce you to… the 15-Second Panic Attack! The coolest thing happened in my office not long ago. A client and I were talking about a recent life change she was facing, and wow, did her body feel it. And wow, did her body let it go in record time, too! This is a major transitional time for her, and she had gotten what many would interpret as “bad news” just prior to our session. But we don’t interpret it that way. We do our best to just call it “news,” since it has already happened, and then we ask our wisdom/common sense what we should do next and what is the best response. Also note that there are no coincidences on the timing of the news with our session later that day…

So we were talking about this change, and things were fine. We were discussing her options, modeling how our wisdom thinks. Letting the body be as relaxed as possible first, even while talking about serious stuff. Especially while talking about serious stuff… And going over her options, slowly. And sticking to the facts. And then a few minutes into the conversation, her body let her know what she was really thinking. There was a lot of fear and uncertainty. And let me say that she wasn’t doing anything wrong! Fear and uncertainty were totally normal under the circumstances, since we were dealing with a major change.

I saw that her body was having a reaction, and then she said something like, “I’m not doing very well right now.” Basically, she started to have an anxiety attack. So I helped her to just relax into it and surrender, as best she could. I reminded her that she is totally safe here in my office, and these feelings are okay; they are normal, in fact. Just stay in your breath and don’t resist them one bit. They’re okay. We will talk about it in a minute. So she did exactly that, staying in the breath and not trying to think about anything or analyze anything. She literally relaxed into it. And you know what happened? The panic attack that had started just fizzled out. In no more than fifteen seconds! What a cool thing for each of us to experience. This has happened before in my office, as well as with clients outside my office, but not so quickly. So it was cool for me. But imagine the experience for her! She was the one doing it, so she can never be afraid of anxiety again. She laid down all resistance and it just moved through, leaving her totally fine. So cool…

And do you know what we did next? We continued talking about the situation! What most people do is continue thinking about the situation while their body is contracted, and it just makes everything worse. And their thinking isn’t as clear, either. So it’s a two-for-one of badness. It seems to be our instinct to freak out, though. Or our conditioned instinct, anyway. So we are unconditioning and unlearning that, and flip-flopping everything. Feel first, get centered, and then think about it. Slowly. And factually. Feel it out, after the feelings have lightened up. And you will have a different experience. And you get better and better at it with practice, and that old habit is replaced with a newer, much more peaceful one. And you still deal with the same situation! You just let your body chill first. It’s like your IQ goes up when you do this, so you actually end up dealing with things much better. So cool…

So there you go, another story as we continue to wear down anxiety, like the water wears down the rock over time. Remember that we have plenty of posts here at A Clean Mind about anxiety, with plenty more on the way I’m sure. Just scroll down to the “tags” section and click anxiety (or click here). And remember that you rock and anxiety is not stronger than you! Start to get curious about it and not so resistant, and you never know how it can shift in your life, for the better. And as always, let me know if I can help!