Mother Nature can serve as an excellent metaphor for us. I used to sit on the east shore of Lake Tahoe and watch the coming storms. They always came from the west, and from my perch, I could literally see those big storm clouds approaching. I knew that when they arrived, they would bring wind, lots of snow, and sometimes changes in the landscape. One storm brought winds so high that the boulders along the shoreline were budged, many storms meant fallen trees. No matter what, the storms always passed, and then I would have to clear the snow, wait for the electricity to come back on, and move on.
Our lives operate much the same way. Storms come, and we are left to either react or respond after they leave. I choose response rather than reaction today, how about you?
Reaction is that knee jerk, unthinking thing we do as a result of storms. Reaction is usually not pretty: it is full of melodrama and frustration. I call it "banging my spoon on my high chair."
Response, on the other hand, is usually dignified and carries with it a certain strength and power that is unshakable.
How do we get to response rather than reaction? There are a couple of spiritual practices that I have found invaluable. One is introspection. There is a very good reason that every faith and every mystery school and every wisdom tradition and every spiritual path tells us to know ourselves. It is powerful stuff. And yes, I do know how scary that can be, to simply go within and sit with yourself and discover. While today I don't find that journey scary, it was at first and I didn't do it alone. I had a guide who was very supportive in holding the light while I dug.
The other spiritual practice I have found very helpful is to pause when agitated. This means that when something happens, I don't say anything, I don't do anything. Except retreat. I retreat to my safe place, which now is within me. I take a look, I grieve the loss, I use my guide to talk it over, then I respond. You can bet that after doing my own work, my response serves me much better than a reaction.
If you have some clouds in your life, take a step back. Do the inner work, and be all means use a guide if you need to. Coaches and mentors are all good for this. Allow yourself to grieve, take as long of a pause as you need, then respond.
And if you need a guide, call me!