Blowing Winds Change Our Lives
Clara was feeling at peace because she just completed her Personal Reflections and Challenges for 2020. She is aware of what she needs to leave behind in 2020 and what she wants to take forward in 2021. It took her a week to review her relationships, work history, finances, education, and housing for 2020, and she is delighted and excited about moving forward in 2021. One of the essential things she decided to continue in 2021 is therapy with her mental health counselor. Clara met with the counselor to discuss her reflections.
During her session, the therapist pointed out that as we move through life, there are different winds that touch all of us. The winds bring situations that always blow across us and cause us to react. We cannot avoid the winds because they become a part of life. The therapist asked Clara to give examples of what she wants to let blow into 2021 and what winds she needs to put up barriers against in 2021.
The situations are:
1. Gains or Losses
2. Prestige and status or Disgrace
3. Praise or Judgment
4. Pleasure or Pain
Clara was employed at a community agency for seven years but lost the job due to COVID in September 2020. She found another job in January 2021 that she likes but at times, does not feel confident. She is not sure if she has the qualifications to do the job and constantly judges herself. This experience brought the winds of gains and losses. The therapist reminded Clara that while she is judging herself, she also needs to take the time to look at the positive comments she receives from co-workers and her supervisor. She is not in touch with the wind of praise. Clara will say positive affirmations every day and will also say a compassion mantra daily.
When COVID first started, the company where she worked announced that there was a possibility that they would cut back the staff. The reductions began in September, and this caused Clara to doubt herself. She was depressed because she felt she had lost the social status work gave her and considered herself a disgrace and failure. The therapist helped her to understand that nothing is permanent and that the winds of disgrace can turn into the winds of prestige. She encouraged Clara to look for another job. After she started her new job, Clara felt she would eventually recover her lost status.
Clara mentioned that there are times when there are several winds that blow at the same time. When this happens, she feels overwhelmed. For example, one time, while she was preparing to start work at her computer at home, the Internet went out and she was not able to get online. She immediately thought that her supervisor and co-workers would consider her to be inadequate and unprepared. Her sense of praise was hijacked, and she immediately started blaming herself. She later learned that her Internet provider was offline across her state for an hour, and several employees in her company could not get online either. The personal gains made in getting her new job were lost, and she could only focus on losing her new reputation at work. Instead of feeling good about working at home and not having to drive to work in a snowstorm, she felt the shame of not being online at the start of her workday.
The therapist helped Clara to understand that strong winds blow away our losses and soft winds blow gains towards us. She mentioned that the winds do not last forever, and we need to learn how to let the wind blow over us and not stand in the path of the strong wind. When we take shelter from the strong wind, we give ourselves the opportunity to feel the soft winds blow. The strong winds cause stress, and the stress causes us to suffer.
The therapist advised Clara to learn how to respond to the winds and not react to them. She recommended that Clara take a Mindful Seat (please let me know if you need instructions on Taking a Mindful Seat) to see how she is feeling emotionally inside. If her emotions are high, she can do alternate nostril breathing, belly breathing, or gentle stretches to bring down her stress and anxiety. She gave Clara a poem by Dorothy Hunt to use as a journaling prompt. She will use journaling to help her form a path for responding to and softening the winds.
Here is the poem:
Peace is This Moment Without Judgment
Do you think peace requires an end to war?
Or tigers eating only vegetables?
Does peace require an absence from
your boss, your spouse, yourself?...
Do you think peace will come some other place than here?
Some other time than Now?
In some other heart than yours?
Peace is this moment without judgment.
That is all. This moment in the Heart-space
where everything that is, is welcome.
Peace is this moment without thinking
that it should be some other way,
that you should feel some other thing,
that your life should unfold according to your plans.
Peace is this moment without judgment,
this moment in the heart-space where
everything that is, is welcome.