We have all been there. A trigger comes up and all the communication practices we have learned, breathing techniques, affirmations and love and light bumper stickers go flying out the window. We find ourselves in a flight or fight stress response – that is, we either want to run as far away as possible from the trigger or we want to argue and make sure the person who caused the trigger knows how “bad” they are. What is an alternative? What can we do when our shit comes up so that we can allow these fight or flight stress responses to vibrate through our body without creating separation with a loved one?
PRACTICE FOR WHEN A TRIGGER ARISES:
Firstly, give yourself permission to take a break, step away from the person or situation and connect with yourself in a way that helps the body become calm and the heart to return to love. What this means: instead of going into various stress responses, you will be able to bring yourself back into a rest and digest state. In other words, instead of escalating, you will be de-escalating.
1.Pause and Breathe
Breath slowly to centre yourself. Bring the air that you breathe into the lower belly, and then exhale from the lower belly – this is our power centre. Focus on the air flow at the tip of the nose.
Inhale– mentally say ‘relax, you’re safe’
Pause at the peak of inhalation – ‘I’m here, in the now’
Exhale– ‘Let go of the need to make him/her wrong’
Pauseat the end of exhalation – ‘I can give myself what I need and I can ask for what I need’
2. Body Scan
Do a body scan and feel where the tension is in your body. Keep breathing with one hand on your heart, one hand on your belly. Bring yourself some loving touch. Witness and feel. Identify the feeling– anger, sadness, fear, longing, disappointment, guilt, loneliness, rage, etc. Validate it – “It’s understandable that I feel that way. Fair enough.” Ask the different places of tension in your body what it is that they are needing.
3. Express and release:
See Chantelle Raven on Spotify for some good accompanying playlists.
Give the emotion breath, sound and movement so that you can express and feel that emotion more deeply. Let the sound come from the body, not the mind. One by one let go of the stories of blame, until you can be with the raw emotion.
When feeling into your body it’s important to move whatever energy is stuck through the express and release tools:
Moaning or sighing in longing: Sound “Ahhhhhhh”
Hand scream: Covering your mouth with your hands and screaming
Pillow scream: Scream into a pillow
Power stomping: Stand and stomp your feet while exhaling with sound
Wailing/Grief ritual: Spread your arms, arch your back and open you heart, wailing your grief
Pillow pounding: Punch a pillow with both your fists
Pelvic thrusting with pillow: Thrust your pelvis into a pillow
Tantrum: Throw a tantrum
Shaking:Shake, shake, shake
Dancing:Put on some music and dance while staying in your body and sounding. Trust how your body wants to move
If you are somewhere where it is not realistic or practical that you can express and release just practice some deep breathing with an active exhalation (open mouth); shake a little and try some silent hand screams.
Come into a space of silence and stillness. Focus all your attention on your heart and your breath and just BE. If you get taken away by the mind again, just compassionately come back to the breath. Place one hand on your heart and one on your womb.
5. Forgiveness and Compassion
Breathe deeply into your body. Forgive yourself and others for not being perfect; for not always giving the love, kindness and respect deserved. Take this opportunity to let go of everything that is stopping you from being in a space of compassion, ease and acceptance.
6. Give Yourself Love and Tune Into Any Realisations or Needs
Once the nervous system/emotional body has had a chance to vibrate and calm down, it’s important to ground and nurture yourself. Breathe deeply. Place attention on your heart; bring some loving strokes to your heart and belly. Stay present to whatever is alive in you without any judgement. To facilitate this, circulate your hips and squeeze your perineum muscle with the intention of inviting ease into your body and committing full presence with self. Feel into what your body needs – sitting, resting, dancing, eye gazing with yourself in the mirror, having some fun – the possibilities are endless!
Is there something that I need (from myself or from another)?
Is there something that needs to change?
Is there a boundary that needs to be set?
Is there a truth that I didn’t or don’t want to hear?
Is there a situation or person no longer serving my life?
Sometimes you can give yourself what you need and sometimes you will need to communicate your needs to someone else. Make a healthy request, or set a healthy boundary where appropriate.
The more you practice, over time your experience and your capacity to contain deeper experiences grows and becomes more stable. Your capacity to be open and present becomes greater. Eventually all emotion leads to greater expansion of freedom and awareness, and by doing this work you begin to close the gap between your deepest experience of freedom and wellbeing and your very human incarnate life.
Remember the butterfly – being in the chrysalis, being with the discomfort and the pain/struggle, is a core part of emerging and flying in the world, a core part of truly loving yourself and receiving love unconditionally! Just as you would never abandon a suffering or frightened child, neither must you turn away from the pain inside you. Metamorphosis is the transformational journey from one stage to another so that the butterfly can emerge from the dark cocoon.