Nathan Peterson

When Emotional Storms Roll In...

The Reminder of Awareness keeps rescuing me from the storms in my mind.

I recently read something that suggested we stop trying to change ourselves, and instead focus on being aware.

For example: I feel anger. Instead of trying to stop myself from feeling anger, I turn my awareness to the feeling of anger. I watch it with the same detachment I might watch a storm rolling in. I watch it roll in... and, eventually, I watch it roll out.

As I've practiced this, I've noticed the correlation between my trying to get rid of a given storm—either by reasoning it away, ignoring it, or blaming it on someone else—and the storm's duration. The harder I try to get rid of it, the harder it is to get rid of—the longer it stays.

This brings to my mind a picture of a child who asks for attention. If the child doesn't feel heard, the child gets louder and more persistent.

This child exists in each of us. Feeling heard may be all the child needs. It could be even more important to the child to be heard than to have the problem fixed.

Storms come and go. That's what storms do. In the sky, and in my mind.

Awareness rescues me from the storm. Not by getting rid of the storm, but by reminding me that I am not the storm.

I am the observer. I exist beyond today's storm. Soon, this storm will pass. And I will remain. Soon, a new storm will come. I will last beyond that storm as well.

Storms come and go. I can observe them without being lost in them. My okay-ness and my true identity can remain in tact while each storm rolls through, freely.

Practicing awareness is like getting on a plane and flying above the clouds. This "plane" of awareness is available to us in every moment, no matter how big today's storm is.

Next time you notice a storm rolling in, try this: with interest and curiosity, observe the storm. Don't ignore it. Don't try to change it. Let it be. Keep on doing this until it rolls out (it will).

As you shift from ignoring or reacting to observing, notice how your body shifts. For example, when I practice this, I notice a shift in my hips—they release and feel less tight. It's a wonderful feeling. And having a wonderful feeling in the middle of an emotional storm is an incredibly powerful and liberating experience. Like a ray of sunshine cutting through the clouds.

Once the storm is gone, make a mental note: remember awareness when the next storm rolls in.

#awareness #emotional wellbeing #freedom