- TWIL (This Week I Learned)
When I was writing my thesis for my MSc in mental health counseling, I often cited the work of Sharon Salzberg, who wrote this about Radical Compassion: Helps us uncover the states of love, self-care, forgiveness, compassion and tenderness we each are capable of…a beautifully written book.“
…We are all capable of…
That has really stuck with me over the week.
Some of us are really good at “Keeping Calm and Carrying On.”
Some of us are really good at expressing ourselves.
The idea is balance. Knowing how and when to express yourself so that we can be with ourselves and others.
Whether you’re a Keep Calm person or an overly expressive person, here’s the work:
Get out of your trance and into your life.
“When we’re in trance, our minds are narrowed, fixated, and usually immersed in thought. Our hearts are often defended, anxious, or numb."— Tara Brach, Radical Compassion
Here are some examples shared by Tara of being in Trance:
- I realize I’ve just gone through a whole bag of trail mix.
- Everybody’s the bad guy today — kids, boss, partner — It’s the world’s fault.
- I catch myself sizing up others to see who is most dominant.
- Even small stuff feels like too much.
- I’m listening to someone and planning how to get outside for a cigarette.
These are a few — one or more likely strikes a nerve. Here is an idea to prepare you for a richer, fuller, more balanced life:
When you find yourself in trance, become aware of your trance. Literally say to yourself, “Hmmm, I am in trance.” No judgement, just be with being in trance.
And, in those moments where you are in life, present, become aware of the fact that you are in life: “Wow, this is life.” No judgement, just awareness. Though, honestly, when you find yourself in Life it’s hard not to be in awe.
The acronym Tara Brach teaches (but is common to mindfulness teaching) is called RAIN.
Such a great acronym, since listening to falling rain can be so peaceful to many of us.
The first step, Recognition, is basically what we started to do in the prompt.
Allowing flows from recognition and man alive is that one challenging sometimes.
Let’s try :)
First, it’s really important to notice that being in trance is okay. It’s a great protection our bodies have come up with for times when we really just can’t even.
So choose a time and place to allow that feels safe. And — this is extremely important — if you being to allow your emotion and your fear or shame feels super intense and feels overwhelming, that is a sign that you need care. Listen to yourself. There will be times when you recognize and then allow an emotion and your whole body says, “YES” thank you. Tears might flow, you might laugh, your body might tingle with release. In that case, allow, allow, allow.
If your body says, “No” — listen. Buy this book :) Find a therapist who understands mindfulness-based interventions and is trauma informed.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
How do we Recognize and Allow? Stay curious. Ask yourself, “What is happening inside me?” And then as “Can I let this be?”
As we let the emotions wash over us, there is a stillness, that allowing, that feels both uncomfortable and deeply good. We shift from a constrictive, tight holding to a release, a tolerance.