It’s easy to get caught up in feeling powerless. Even if things are going pretty smoothly in your personal life, you might feel deflated by global events, take the current refugee crisis in Europe for instance.
The ramping up of the presidential campaign can also stir up a sense of powerlessness. With each presidential campaign the grandstanding and drama seem to escalate, obscuring urgent issues. The focus on showmanship (or woman ship) over social issues can make one wonder, “Will anything change?” “Can I do anything about it.”
Coming into the present moment, seeing an object in front of you in 3D, focusing on your breath, while gently pushing away distractions is in itself an act of power – possibly the only true power there is.
When these thoughts bubble up, feelings of helplessness often follow. Learned helplessness is a term used in psychology that describes a loss of personal power and control that arises from abuse, neglect, persecution or oppression. But even daily life make you feel helpless if you don’t have time to take care of yourself.
You can take back your power.
Today’s Letting go exercise: Balancing power and powerlessness
1. Contradiction alert! The first step in taking back you power is to let go of it. You might be hyper-focusing on a situation right now. Whether it is world-wide, or personal to you let the problem be and rest your mind on your breath, or your present surroundings. Just stop. Stop planning, even if you are sitting in your car or in line. Picture yourself handing the problem over to a wise mentor for just a few minutes. “But…. But… your mind will say…..If I stop obsessing about the situation it will get out of hand!” The opposite is actually true and we the neuroscience to prove it! Coming into the present moment, seeing an object in front of you in 3D, focusing on your breath, while gently pushing away distractions is in itself an act of power – possibly the only true power there is.
Acceptance is not the same as helplessness! Its just being with what is for the moment, and this “acceptance pause” almost always makes room for change.
Every time you take time out – even just 3 minutes of focusing on your breath, you are resetting your nervous system – moving away from the fight or flight response which often hampers our decision-making skills and making us act in unskillful ways. Dropping the power struggle will allow you to experience the rest and digest response and help you view personal and world situations with more clarity and calm. This will create a window of acceptance. Acceptance is not the same as helplessness! Its just being with what is for the moment, and this “acceptance pause” almost always makes room for change.
2. Keep coming back to the breath – Your mind will naturally want to wander. Old habits die hard. You might find yourself going back to your favorite obsession or fear. Simply bring your attention back to your breath, as if you were kindly trying to get the attention of an unruly puppy.
3. Focus on the higher ground – Still feeling helpless? Consider this: for every “bad guy” out there, we can find at least two brave warriors. You are not in this alone – ever. Add some positive news to your news feed, like The Daily Good’s Hero page.
4. After focusing on higher ground, come back to the breath again – Practice letting go of power and powerlessness and focusing on the present moment on a daily basis to regain and build a sense of safety, calm, and peace.
Keep coming back to the letting go project as we continue to look at power and powerlessness by exploring letting go of habits big and small.
Struggling to stay calm in a chaotic world? Contact us.
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness every day!