It’s been an interesting process trying to get this blog published. The idea of creating this space flowed to me as the perfect outlet for my own processing, as well as a step towards expanding my long-term vision of creating and sharing. While waiting for an oil change a couple weeks ago, it was like a light bulb went off. All of a sudden, I rattled off ten or so topics I’d like to write about. Then the topic for my first blog post came to me, and I started typing it out on my phone. It felt like the words just poured out of me. It felt easy and exciting.
Well, then came the technical aspect of building my site. It didn’t take long until I found myself completely stumped on how to put this thing together. I called up tech support, and after a long time on hold, I got through to a man who stated, “go ahead and delete the post page, I assure you your blog will still be there”. I hesitantly responded, “ok, well it says right here doing so will also delete my blog so I really hope you’re right…”. Sure enough, one click made all my work disappear. Fast forward to two more hours of hearing, “let me take a look at that”, followed by many, many minutes of being on hold, ended with, “I have to forward this issue to our higher up support, they’ll get back to you in a few days”.
The call ended, but I could feel my emotions just starting to rev up. I could feel my chest tighten, my heart rate increase. I could feel myself getting angry. Angry being code for powerless. I was starting to tell myself all these stories about how this shouldn’t have happened, this isn’t fair, this isn’t right. Who the hell trained this tech guy anyway? I stomped into my bedroom, plopped myself on my bed, and slowed it down. I did what I do best, I listened. I listened to the stories of my mind and signs from my body. I placed one hand on my heart and one on my stomach. I took long, deep breaths. I let myself feel a whole range of emotions, knowing that, much like waves, they would soon crash down and mellow out. There was no need to fixate on any emotion or thought, but rather, with a non-judgmental and curious stance, allow myself to notice my experience merely as a witness. I believe there is so much valuable information we can learn about ourselves if we just slow down enough to really listen, without self-criticism.
Let’s take a look at what was happening here from a neuroscience perspective. In losing my work on the blog, I was perceiving a threat. My fight/flight response was activated. The amygdala is the part of the brain often referred to as reptilian brain, meaning, this part of the brain holds our survival instincts. When our amygdala detects a threat of any kind, we can struggle to remain rational and balanced. We can feel “hijacked” by our amygdala, responding in ways that may be more reactive than what the actual threat level warranted. The good news is, we can also train our brains to manage our threat response in a more conducive way.
Once I got back into my usual chill zone, I could appreciate the silver lining here. I realized the bigger reason for my mini meltdown was because I was being confronted with my attachment to the blog. My attachment to how soon I publish this thing and what I hope it achieves. I was reminded in that moment of a goal I’ve been working on-detaching from expectations of outcomes (more on that later). I had to smile when this clicked for me. After all, isn’t it so much more enjoyable to take all the little curve balls of life with a sense of humor? I thought to myself, thanks for that reminder, universe! I see what you did there. Thank you for making me aware of my attachments, and getting me back into a place of trusting and flowing. And with that, it’s back to being onward and upward!
My story is just a small example of how we can focus back on our present moment experience when things start feeling out of control. I like to remember it’s when we can practice our emotional regulation skills in these not so earth shattering moments, we’re more likely to effectively work through the bigger stuff when it happens. What are some ways you come back down from spiraling out? I’d love to know!