Just Say Yes

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By Bonnie Moehle –

How did our Great Masters manage to stay peaceful during moments that bring out anger and fear for the rest of us?  How do we keep our peace when we have no control over others’ actions or the situations around us?  By letting go of the things we cannot change and saying yes to what is.

Many summers ago I came out to my car to find that it had been keyed.  Someone had taken three keys and scraped off the paint from the driver’s side door all the way to the front of the car.  I had no idea who had done this, nor was I even sure of when it had happened.  The only thing I was sure of was that I had three choices; two which would hold me in emotional pain, one which would help me regain my peace.

The first choice was to stay angry at the perpetrator and fearful about the repair costs.  If I had made that choice I would have spent the rest of the day, week, or even month working myself into a tizzy only to make myself sick.  That choice would not fix my car nor would it punish the perpetrator.  It would only serve to hold me in discomfort. My second choice was to distract myself from my feelings so that I wouldn’t have to deal with them.  If I did that, I knew I’d find myself at an ice cream parlor, using food to push the feelings down.  No good.  It was summertime.  I wanted to look good in my shorts.  My third choice was to accept – to say yes to what is.

I opted to accept.  This took a little doing.  First I had to recognize what I was feeling.  I was angry and fearful.  To help me release the anger, I reminded myself that nothing anyone says or does is about me.  Therefore, the person who had damaged my car didn’t do this to me.  I understood that this individual was in far more internal pain than I.  I also knew that if I held on to the anger, the only one who would feel punished would be me.  I would be carrying the pain of anger.  Next I had to deal with money fears.  I knew that worrying about money wasn’t going to make dollar bills fall out of the sky and would only make me feel terrible inside.  Talking this through with myself helped me to let go.  But, that wasn’t quite enough.  I had to release the feelings from my body or I would continue to hold the anger and fear inside.

We have been conditioned to believe that we rid ourselves from emotional pain by distracting ourselves from it, by creating a story about it or by rehashing it over and over in our minds. However, focusing on the cause of a feeling or the story around it will only serve to make the pain greater.   The only way to release emotional pain is by moving into it, not by avoiding it or obsessing about it.

So, I put my entire focus on how I felt.  I described the feeling to myself.  “It feels like a pressure,” “it feels like a big knot of muscle”.  I focused only on the physical sensation.  I stayed present to it until the feeling faded away.  It was easy to do and very effective and in no time I had released the anger and fear, and felt peace.  I had said yes to what is.  Sure, I still needed to fix the car, but I could now take care of it feeling stress-free and healthy rather than angry and fearful.

The next time you feel yourself holding on to an uncomfortable emotion, change your inner dialogue and then release the pain by moving into it.  Then you too can just say yes!

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