How to Keep Your Cool When Sh*t Hits the Fan

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Whew. Recently, Danielle LaPorte wrote a pretty fabulous piece about how, even when you become "spiritual" or awakened or whatever, things are still going to happen to you. You're still going to get stressed, shit's still gonna hit the fan. We don't magically get this cloak of immunity to the ails of being human, she says in so many words, and daaaaang was that real for me this summer. It's been one hot pile of crap after another, it seems, and I'll be honest- I'm struggling with keeping the faith. It actually seems like the deeper I get in my inner work, the more intense the hard lessons become (which has been rendering a lot of moments of what's the point?).

So right now, I'm deep in my tools just to manage my game and stay above water. I want to share those tools with you because I think a lot of us are seriously committed to the process of bettering ourselves, but still have situations that show up which can throw us off that path if we give them the power to do so.

Here's how not to.

EPIC stress management tools from a holistic health practitioner.

Grab your umbrella. 

Realize that whatever is going on is separate from you, isn't ever personal (I wrote a whole post about not taking anything personally here), and is always temporary. Open up your umbrella and while the shit falls around you, maybe even getting on your boots a bit, shake that shit off, center and ground, and make your plan.

That said, there's usually always something in it for you- a lesson. But I find that it's better not to worry about that in the beginning. Right now, you just gotta focus on preserving and protecting yourself (even if it's from your own sabotaging thoughts and behavior).

Grounding. 

This is an important skill that will help you in all manner of self-honoring. Grounding helps you come into your body and into the moment, reconnect with Source (your higher power, Creator, or creative center), and tap into your truth in the moment. Grounding is necessary if you don't want to get swept away into other people's drama/story, toxic thinking, or the shame-blame cycle. This will look different for everyone, so I'll tell you what I do.

Either sitting or standing (standing is better, but I want this to work for when I'm in the car or anywhere else), I simply connect with where I'm touching the surface I'm on, whether that's my sitz bones or the soles of my feet. I imagine myself being supported by this giant earth, rooting down into the feeling of being connected and supported. Then I draw up energy through my pelvis (this is some awesome, simple, and profound pelvic bodywork, by the way), imagine that energy coming up my spine, my neck, around my ears, to my third eye, and washing over the crown of my head. I let that connecting energy wash over me and fall back down again, over my chest, my thighs, my feet. I might do this a few cycles, going up and down from the ground to the top and back down again, until I feel centered, refreshed, and clear. Always drawing up from the earth into my core and sending that back down again. Breathing, getting present, getting into my body. And I keep it that simple so I can do that anywhere, any time.

Stay in your power.

This is essential when you're dealing with other people that you could just wring up by the neck (yes, I've had maaaaany of those thoughts lately). It's too tempting to send one more text, or forward the emails, or lash out righteously. Red hot anger is powerful stuff, and has to be cultivated so that you're not giving that power away. For instance, I try to pause before sending a hot headed text and sense how it feels in my body. I'm familiar with the sensation of my power escaping me- it feels like my skin is crawling, my ears get hot, and there's a ball of fire rising from my belly or a tightness in my throat. Sometimes I even get shaky. Stay with your body in that moment and let that feeling just wash over you. Don't try to shake it off... just let it roll through. THEN make decisions. (Put the phone down or shut the computer until you're ready.) You can consider this: How does what I'm about to say support my personal power? How is this about to give more power to a shitty situation? And most importantly: Can it wait? Is it necessary? Give yourself 5 or 20 minutes. Overnight is better.

Staying in your power also means letting other people own their shit. One of my teachers, Renee Jeffus, calls this radical self responsibility, which is fueled by self-love instead of guilt or shame. For me, that means un-attaching (not detaching) myself from other people's karma and letting them own what's going on for them. When I do this well, I'm positioned to really own what's going on for me and come from a place of agency and accountability while also protecting myself from the behaviors of others. (This is also part of mastering not taking things personally.)

Commit to the highest possible good.

And I mean it. Worst-case-scenario thinking will put you straight on the receiving end of whatever bullshit is going on. Committing to the highest possible good means staying open to the possibility that everything is going to work out. Maybe this means that people will get what's coming to them (kidding... sort of). Maybe it means staying open for a solution to emerge that you hadn't even considered. I know one thing for sure- checking out and throwing in the towel almost totally excludes the best possible outcome from happening. Staying committed, and I do mean actively practicing that commitment by staying grounded and in your power, is the shortest path to the highest possible good. If you're dealing with a situation that doesn't involved anyone else, this is simply staying faithful that a solution will emerge.

Just a word on the "highest possible good"- maybe what's possible in a situation is still pretty shitty. You have to train yourself to let that go (I suck at this). This is the part that takes the most time and healing, but all the tools above should help support you in the time after the shit has mostly settled on the floor and you're left to clean up some of the mess. Which leads me to...

Gratitude.

Being grateful for the family that understands me, the vehicle that has gotten me so far until now, second chances when I thought that I failed, and even the end of a toxic relationship and the opportunity to move on- I can't say enough about how transformative the practice of gratitude is. Sometimes I resist this when I'm angry, but mostly because I know how effective it is at cutting right through the heat of the moment. Remembering what you're grateful for keeps the end in sight, can be grounding just by itself, and has the power to get us through to the other side.

With all that said, it's important to really honor your feelings, write about it, talk to a friend who has earned the right to hear your story, and not try to keep yourself from feeling what you feel. Entering this practice will help you own those feelings, though, and keep them from driving your thoughts and behavior in unconscious ways.

So am I blowing smoke? I'm mostly just trying to give you my process because I've heard so much You seem to be dealing with all of this really well! when I tell people about the summer I've had. But if you think I'm full of shit, let me know (ha!). And if you have your own strategies for staying calm and centered until things blow over, leave them in the comments. I'd love to hear about them.

Want more resources?? Here are some that I love.