Triggers are always present. I could tell you about twenty of mine on the spot.
They cause an emotional reaction when things are not going as planned. The quicker we notice we’re triggered the better our chance to not let them run the show.
Pain attacks or other major obstacles showing up in our lives are deal breakers. They open the doors for our triggers. They make us feel stuck, can knock us out and be vulnerable. And of course, they are also our teachers.
Last week I survived a few roller coaster days with a roadblock at the end that left me exhausted. A loaded migraine demanded me to stop, cover my head in the dark and suffer. Deep pain takes us off the guard. Emotional triggers love our weak spots like a fungus thrives in the dark.
We need to have a well-equipped toolbox we can open when stopped in our tracks. When the triggers march in like generals demanding the scene. The number one tool in our toolbox is
With awareness, we are stronger than our pain or any trigger showing up. Awareness helps us to not bite the hook as in attaching to it.
I learned a lot about the power of awareness in my yoga practice and lately while writing a book.
From my yoga mat
As yogis, we use awareness as a tool to get in touch with our body-mind and our emotions. With this awareness, we discover our truth. We learn to notice how we do what we do and use it for healing and self-discovery.
On my keyboard
As a writer, awareness is a tool we use to not let our inner critic sensor our words or sit in front of an empty page too long. “To be brave and write words that heal ourselves and the world takes fierce awareness.” Says my writing coach Laura.
HOW TO CATCH A TRIGGER BEFORE IT PARALYSES YOU?
As I laid there with my pounding head my thoughts turned dark. The number one trigger I got to know in the past, is the one making me shrink and feel unworthy. It spoke in a familiar soothing voice: “A yoga teacher and a migraine? C’mon, get real. You are not good enough, or your migraine would be history.”
This voice was trying to sabotage my self-worth. I knew her from a writing exercise, and I caught this beast right away and dumped her in the dust. I used a powerful combination of breath awareness and recognizing the inner critic. I took me
TWO MINUTES TO CATCH THIS TRIGGER
- Relax with one big exhale. Release tension in your body. Soften your face.
- Breathe in and out a few times. Observe your breath, no need to change anything. Let go of effort.
- For two or three breaths feel your breath touch your body. Where do you feel it?
- Notice your thoughts with an aha* curiosity. No need to label them as good or bad, be neutral, they are only thoughts.
- Clear your mind of all thoughts with a few exhales and your aha attitude. Let each thought flow away with an exhale.
- Come back to your breath.
*aha as if you watch a baby breathe
Not attaching meaning to our thoughts is the key to not buy into them.
I didn’t get rid of my migraine as fast as I wanted too but I recovered with my self-worth intact.
What I know from my yoga practice found fertile ground in my writing world and vice versa.
Yoga meets Keyboard
After the pain left I got ready to write.
It’s the book you heard me talk about for ages. It’s in the making. Part of it is being published in September. Yeah!
Both yoga and writing are now companions on my healing journey. They complement each other and when I’m in sync words flow onto my screen like my body finds it’s rhythm on my mat.
But nothing appeared; the page stayed white.
As I sat there, reflecting on my lousy day I used the above practice to pay attention to what was going on. I caught a whisper, “go ahead enjoy your life, this all is BS, your page is empty because no one is going to read what you write.”
I broke out in a smile. It was her again.
One sharp look at this trigger and it shrank. (Triggers like being in the shadows 😉)
This troublemaker had stolen its way into my head when the light was off. I had not cleared my mind enough. It sat there like an old apple rotting on the counter in its stinky molding feast.
But, I had discovered a tool to cut through such crab.
It was like a gift from my writing coach Laura Di Franco, author of the new and fabulous book “Brave Healer”.
Laura helped me discover what it means to write words that heal. And inspired me to grow the courage to share them.
In a writing prompt she asked us to bring awareness to our inner critic voice. The trigger that keeps us small and in hiding. She challenged us to name that voice.
This was the biggest aha-moment for me. My writing changed. I uncovered the reason why I so often felt sabotaged, not good enough and small about the words I wanted to write. It was my trigger voice. She smelled blood in my insecurities about my writing skills.
In very much the same way I use awareness in my yoga practice I can use it when I write. They work magic together.
In less than two minutes.
Do you know your triggers? Do you have tools to not let them run your life?
Remember💡Every moment is an invitation to live out of your weakness or to live out of your strength!
Here is what to do. You can choose a different reaction when emotional triggers show up:
- Grow your awareness skills with your breath to notice when a trigger shows up. Refrain from giving your thoughts meaning.
- Choose a different reaction. A different perspective or mindset instead of reacting from habit. You got this!
- Repeat step one and two and make this your way of life.
It’s a lifelong practice… we are nut suddenly enlightened and never get stuck again…. LOL… But the reaction to being stuck can change…one trigger at a time.
Happily, unstuck in the moment …
Sending hugs on wings,
P.S. My personal mantra is:
💡I don’t shine if you don’t shine. Let’s shine together!
Is a writer and Yoga teacher/therapist BDY/EY, C-IAYT. She was born in Germany and now lives with her husband and daughter in Santa Rosa, CA. She is the mother of a micro preemie girl and shares her healing journey in her blogs and teachings.