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17. Handle with care

Updated: May 14, 2020

Change and uncertainty are about the only things we have, but how many of us recognise this?

Often, we are trying dearly to maintain status quo, keep appointments, routine, calm, discipline, a tidy home, the bills paid, healthy levels of activity, enough's endless.

We strive hard to keep things the same but start to notice how often change and uncertainty permeate our lives, we start to become more adept and skilful when the big challenges happen.

Adaptability is an attribute we can work on, it's also incredibly liberating when we hold on with a less tight grip to things needing to be the same, all the time.

For example – a beautiful butterfly flutters around you, we stick our palm out inviting it to alight and when it does – wow, the delight, how lucky are we! We marvel at its colours, it's light tickle of touch, the trust it has inadvertently placed in us to handle with care, so do we grab tightly and squeeze? No! Bye bye butterfly. We may feel momentarily disappointed when it flies off – but we survive, and so does the butterfly.

How can you start to notice when you contract your grip around something for fear of change?

We start to pay attention to what is happening for us in the moment, when we are in fight, flight freeze mode our limbic system is at the wheel – it's the most basic part of our brain – the least evolved but the most prominent in times of stress. So we have to try and re-tune ourselves to the more evolved part of our brain – the prefrontal cortex – it's the part that kicks in on a delay timer, some four seconds after the limbic system – it's the part that helps us tune into better decisions! Mindfulness allows us to recognise, take a pause, and respond rather than react, and squeeze tightly.

We can use a meditation practice for this, and it comes back to our practice of acceptance of and sitting with the difficult. I've recorded another meditation for you to try.

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