Eyes closed, adjusting my butt so I was comfortable on the floor cushion and resting my head back against the edge of the windowsill I listened to the instructor. “Recall the details of the room.” Laura said. We went around the room each participant telling one thing they remembered about the room.
My mind went blank. My throat tightened.
The things that I remembered; the palpable feel of anticipation in the air, the sensation of belonging – of tribe, the sudden crackle of energy when we all closed our eyes as Laura prepared to scribe our thoughts, the jumbled chaos of scrambling thoughts bumping into each other even while our bodies were still, the soothing comfort of honor and acceptance from the mini alters on each windowsill; I pushed these thoughts out of my mind discarding them as not ‘right’.
They didn’t fit into my perception of the ‘rules’ of the exercise. I named physical characteristics instead, the few I could remember, and when my turn came I passed on the last several rounds. After opening our eyes and discussing the exercise, an excursion in excavating the salient details of the room, we embarked on writing prompt.
During the preparatory meditation words swirled eloquently in my mind yet as I put pen to paper they eluded me like ghosts slipping into nothingness. What showed up were scribbles, nonsensical half sentences, and that familiar tension in my left jaw as I clenched my teeth and tried to muscle through. When it came time to read my writing I declined eyes cast down fidgeting like a small child.
As I drove home dissecting my ‘failure’ (yes, by dissect I do mean obsess over). I realized that I was so concerned with getting it right and following the rules that I shifted into performance anxiety. When I do that I shut down. Trying to please others at the expense of my own true voice is what I know, my default pattern, one that I am overcoming step by step.
The truth is there were no ‘rules’ to the exercise. Laura emphasized that whatever came up was exactly right; the prompt is only a starting point. My perception was that I needed to describe the physical details of the room. My mind went blank with an inner shout of “Oh shit I don’t do details” and it went south from there.
Rather than embrace my strengths of seeing the big picture and sensing the energetic climate I tried to force myself to remember what color the carpet was (I still couldn’t tell you). I chose to struggle. I chose the hard path. I let my default pattern guide the way. It took me out of flow. The fear of doing it wrong shut down my sacral chakra and there was no creative flow without it.
The good news is that I recognized it quickly and had some techniques to help me shift out of it. It amazes me how integrated the body, mind, and spirit are. I had triggers in all three areas. If I didn’t catch one another came along. One of the simple things I did to shift was ask the question “Is that true?” I quickly realized that I had filled in some ‘rules’ that weren’t really there.
Did you notice the triggers as you read? (Tight jaw/throat, blank mind/negative self talk, slow/stopped energy flow)
Do you have triggers that you can easily identify? I would love to hear how you deal with triggers when they pop up, please share in the comments below.