Releasing tension and creating space to flow.
Updated: Jul 3, 2018
There is so much we can learn from the experiences we have in life. Everything we go through can teach us something. It can be a new insight, a different perspective or the biggest ah-ha moment of our lives. Quite often we experience the same situation over and over again, until we learn what it has to show us.
Last week was insane. I felt so overwhelmed with feelings and emotions. My head was all over the place and I was having a hard time trying to come back to myself. I am generally a busy person. I have a full time job from 9 to 5, I teach 3 yoga classes a week and I also have my coaching clients. On top of that, I spend lots of time writing, preparing classes and studying. Quite a lot huh!?! As crazy as it may seem, I absolutely love all of it. I believe that once you find what your passion is, spare no efforts to make it happen. Working hard is part of the game. However, suddenly I saw myself stressing too much about it and not really enjoying it as I usually do.
The problem is... how tight are you holding the grip and not allowing for things to naturally flow and unravel in a more organic way? And that’s what I caught myself doing this week. Being too demanding with myself, setting the bar way too high and expecting results today that can only be achieved tomorrow or in some time in the future. I saw my myself spiraling in anxiety, on a monkey mind that literally couldn't focus on the same thing for more than one minute. It was exhausting I will tell you. Soon, all that accumulated anxiety would start reflecting on my body if I didn't do anything about it.
I thought to myself: “Wow! This is serious! What am I doing to my body? This is so not right and it has to stop!”
The moment tension takes over, we instantly lose our connection to ourselves. We cut our creative flow making us feel stuck. Nothing seems to work. If you need to write, words just won't come. If you need to plan a class, you probably won't even be able to come up with a theme for it. It just doesn't work. And the more you force it, because YOU JUST HAVE TO GET THINGS DONE AND MEET THAT CRAZY TARGET OF YOURS, the worse it gets. Stress and anxiety result from accumulated tension which kill creativity, whereas being happy leads to a higher performance on creative tasks.
What is happening here then? It’s actually pretty simple. You are standing in your own way. Sometimes we hold the grip too tight. We take life way too seriously and the cup gets fuller and fuller until it spills all over making a big mess of things. What if you can recognize that, see it coming and stop it before it happens? Believe me! It’s possible and I can help you with that.
Sometimes all we have to do is let go of control, get out of our own way and let life take over and show us the way. Magic happens when we let go of the grip. It can be scary at first specially if you're so used to controlling everything all the time.
Does any of that seem a teeny tiny bit familiar to you? If so, feel free to continue reading as I walk you through 3 steps to help you understand your pattern of behavior and create some space to bring yourself back to your own flow.
1. GET TO KNOW YOURSELF and how you function.
Begin to understand how you feel when you are feeling great. Close your eyes, turn your awareness in and take a snapshot of that feeling. Do your best effort to memorize how it feels. Memorize it with your body rather than with your mind. I call this the Feeling Snapshot Exercise. It's like taking a photograph of your feelings and emotions when you are having them.
Here are a few cues that can serve you as an inspiration, specially if you have never done anything like this before.
When you are feeling great, pause for a second and ask yourself:
How am I feeling?
Do I feel lightness?
Do I feel spaciousness?
Where do I feel that in my body?
How does my heart feel?
What is the quality of my breath?
Do I feel love? What does it feel like?
Do I feel grateful? What does it feel like?
Do I feel inspired and courageous?
How does my body respond to that?
How does that reflect on my energy levels?
How does that reflect on the quality of my thoughts?
How do you feel when you feel great?
And then follow the same steps for when you are not feeling great. Take a snapshot of that feeling and ask yourself:
How am I feeling?
Where do I feel this anxiety/fear/stress in my body?
Does any part of my body feel contracted or tight?
Do I feel like crying and where does it come from?
How does my body respond to all of that?
What led me here?
What is my first response when I feel that way?
What are my thinking patterns when I am about to go on a spiral?
The idea of taking a snapshot of how you feel is to start to create a pathway of recognition. It’s like when you move to a new place and you have to memorize your way back home. You have to do it a few times until it becomes natural to you and you don't even have to think about it anymore.
The same applies to getting to know yourself and your feelings. It might be hard to approach and understand them in the beginning, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. The snapshot exercise will help you create a pathway that always takes you back home, back to yourself. The moment you memorize what does it feel like to feel good and balanced, you will be able to find your way back to that place much quicker when you most need it.
The same applies for the second example. The moment you understand how you work and how your body responds to tension, the easier it gets to recognize it before it rises and that gives you a head start to do something about it and avoid going down that crazy spiral. It gives you some buffer time to observe, access and make a decision on how to move forward. At the end of the day, it is all about making the right choice. You don't have to lose yourself every time you go through a difficult moment. You have power over that. But you do have to get to know yourself first!
Repeat this exercise as many time as you need. Remember, once you learn your way back to yourself, you can never unlearn it.
2. TAKE SOME TIME OFF! Give yourself a break and stay away from your responsabilities, from your plans and mainly from your to-do list. Leave that to the side for a moment and go do something that is genuinely for fun. Be selfish (good selfish) and spend some time with yourself to do whatever you please. Don't spend too much time planning what to do. Let go of the urge of controlling your day off and go with your instinct. Believe me when I tell you that the world is not going to end if you pause for a moment. Taking a break will help you shift your perspective and create some space for love and creativity to flow. If you can get a day off from work, do that. If that is not an option, take one morning/afternoon/night to be with yourself - and be as kind as you can be to yourself. Chill! Relax! Invite ease back in.
3. MOVE YOUR BODY. Go for a run, do a yoga class, dance around in your living room. Find a physical activity you love and use it to flush that tension out of your body. Shake it up! Any form of exercise can act as a gateway to release tension and invite flow back in. This will not only pump up your endorphins as it will also work as a meditation in motion. It will help you to effectively get out of your mind and into your body. It is really important that the activity you choose is something you actually enjoy doing. The key here is ENJOYING it. Run away from doing something simply to tick the box. That won't be useful as it will only bring you back to tension.
Once you learn your way back to yourself, you can never unlearn it. There is so much we can learn from our feelings and emotions, and our bodies work as beautiful pathways to that understanding. Tap into that potential and be your own teacher. Let go of control and find your flow.
Hope this article was useful for you. Please feel free to ask me any questions if you wish. Leave a comment and share the love.