Over the last 18 months or so, I’ve been toying with this idea of “leaping over.” When I get triggered, frustrated, angry or charged in some way, I’m curious what it would be like to leap over the cortisol charged reactions and the analysis and processing that follows. Now, I don’t mean just squashing those feelings down. They have some good information for me and if I don’t pay attention to them, they will come out again later, often unskillfully.
What I’m considering is what if I just gave myself the benefit of a little peak around the corner, post reaction, to see what might be there? A quick example: I was recently in a conversation with someone who said something about me in a joking way that I took very personally. I immediately felt my heart rate pick up and so wanted to spout something right back, half in jest (and half hoping to let them know how I was feeling in that moment). I took a deep, mindful breath and thought, “ok, after I feel it, say it, apologize for it and move on what might be there?” What I found was a willingness to just let it go. In that moment, it felt really vulnerable. After all, I had a right to retaliate! Moving gently through the vulnerability, I chose to leap over there and see what it felt like to let it go. Almost immediately, it felt lighter and I actually laughed out loud.
This is a work in progress of course, but the half dozen or so times I’ve tried it, I’ve been really surprised at how quickly the feelings go all the way through me and dissipate quickly. Most importantly I don’t ruminate on them later and they haven’t come back around wishing for a different outcome. I’ll keep you posted on the longer term impact – but for now, it’s pretty cool and I guess that others are probably happier as a result too.