Becoming more response-able — we get to choose

hand stacking stones

Another unexpected benefit of personal mindfulness practice that I am experiencing is how I relate. To others, to the world — and even to myself.

I am finding that I react less, and respond more.

And I thought I was pretty good at not reacting in the first place — but holy wow for awareness, humility, and leveling up.

When someone throws a snarky comment my way, I more often see it for what it is — an expression of their immediate process in this moment. Which includes their tiredness, their feeling out of control, their grasping for mental footing. None of which, actually, has anything at all to do with me. I just happen to be within range.

I’m finding that when I pause, and choose how to respond — rather than react — all of it dissipates. All of it. Regardless of if I have quietly held a space of breathing room for the person, or if I have spoken a response that gently but firmly reminds “enough.”

The secret isn’t the pausing. It’s choosing a response instead of a reaction. The pause just helps me get aligned with my heart-space, first.

Besides interacting with people, I notice that responding rather than reacting improves my situations, too. The hot water heater unexpectedly craps out? I can rail at the poor timing, the unexpected expense, and the headache of it all, — or I can embrace it as Life getting Lifey and turn toward a solution. Either way, I’m in the situation. I just get to choose how I feel about it along the way.

I also am discovering that choosing to respond rather than react improves my relationship with myself. All my creative energy today was used up for my work project, and now I’m clueless as to what to make for supper — again?!? This doesn’t mean I am failing; it’s just the way things are going right now.

WW oh crap

When I fall short or inevitably make mistakes, I have greater self-compassion. And I more often than not lead from that space instead of work my way there. Which for me, is life-changing.

SO — something triggers you, and you are flooded with emotion? Notice it. Name it. Choose how you want to respond. And watch it dissipate. All of it.

Things don’t disappear; they dissolve. Like stirring sugar into water, both are still present.

They are not gone; they are changed. You are navigating differently.

In cooperation. In awareness. In response.

And that makes all the difference.

hummingbirds at feeder

I have always been responsible and purposeful: now I am becoming response-able and on purpose.

How about you? Where do you react and where do you respond? Start with looking at your triggers, and pick one that you wish to change a reaction into a response. Recognize where you pause, and choose one where you already respond and wish to deepen your connection to that.


Perfect Sunset

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