Welcome! I’m excited to share with you a very simple yet powerful tool to free yourself from suffering, just by saying hello. As with all things here, I draw on my own experiences, sharing only that which I can personally attest to working and understand on an experiential level. Now, let’s dive in…

You know those times when everything seems so infuriating for no particular reason? Endless stories start streaming through your mind about how frustratingly wrong things are with a kind of ferocity that is almost debilitating. Well, I have. On some mornings, for no obvious reason, a wave of agitation grips me with such intensity that my first impulse is to cancel any plans I have and sit in fiery solitude. One such wave hit me the morning of writing this story. I was angry and my mind wanted to find all kinds of reasons for why it was everyone else’s fault, which funnily enough only made me feel worse. I’ve already gone down the road of blaming everyone else over and over again and I know where it leads me, to more frustration and more suffering. So I decided to try a new strategy. Feeling unable to really do much else, I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. My mind’s angry stories could play out all they liked, but for the time being, I was going to close my eyes and breath deeply.  The world may be entirely unmanageable but for right now I could inhale, and exhale. Inhale, exhale. After a bit of time breathing, I was ready to tackle another step. What does this agitation feel like in my body? Where does my body feel not like itself? My attention was drawn to a coursing, hot, intense energy in my chest. Actually, now that I was looking for the discomfort in my body it was impossible to miss. Now that I’ve found it, I might as well greet it. “Hello, agitation. I see you there.” As I said these words in my head, it was like space was created between me and the agitation. There was me, and then there was it. While I was watching it, it couldn’t manipulate me like a marionette attached to strings of thought. It was suddenly, entirely manageable to observe the sensation. It had been overwhelmingly unbearable to BE the sensation. Identifying it allowed me to realize that I wasn’t it. I HAD an agitation, but I wasn’t the agitation. And what a powerful thing it was to feel that shift as it happened.

I’ve become very familiar with the idea of observing rather than identifying with my thoughts and feelings, it’s something you’ll hear regularly from meditation and mindfulness teachers. It can be easy to do when you’ve planned your nice, calm meditation space and everything is rosy, but this practice really tests you when instead of roses it feels like you’re working with a steaming hot pile of poo. But while it may be hard, what good is it to have these tools if you don’t actually use them, especially when you need them most?

So next time you feel like punching a wall, you might want to try this instead:

  • Breath deeply, it can also help to close your eyes. All you have to think about is inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Only move on when you feel ready to try another step. And if that doesn’t happen, simply breathing deeply will allow the emotion to move through your body. Try it again next time this happens. Eventually, you’ll be ready for the next step.
  • Bring your awareness into your body. Where do you feel the agitation (or whatever your personal pile of poo happens to be)?
  • Say hello to it. Acknowledge it.
  • Realize you are not the agitation. You HAVE an agitation. 
  • Sit with it. Accept that it’s there without trying to argue with it or change it. See what it does. Keep breathing deeply.
  • Let it run its course. By allowing and observing it you may just find that it becomes much more manageable. The more you acknowledge it as separate from you, the more it will shift.
  • It may or may not have a message for you. If it does, observe any insights or inspiration that may come to you afterward. For me, it was gratitude for learning how to more deeply integrate tools I’ve learned, followed by inspiration to write this post.

It took me about 15 minutes to work through my process and feel like myself again. In times when I haven’t done this, I’ve let agitation ruin my whole day. In those times, I wasn’t ready to let go of my stories about why I felt the way I felt, I needed more time to work through my process. It was painful, but it was my reality at that time. Maybe you feel that way too, in which case, cool. I respect your process. But If you don’t want to do that anymore, here’s something else you can try. If you do try it, I’d love to hear how it goes for you! Write to me in the comment box below or message me through my contact form.

P.S.  If you’re interested in learning more about non-identification from thought you can read more about it here, here, and here.