unexpected gift

Have you ever taken a picture and posted it to social media to share with others? If so, you are a content creator. 

Have you ever noticed your thoughts and intentionally chose thoughts that support what feels right to you – what you genuinely feel resonates as truth for you? You led your thinking. You are a thought leader. 

Have you ever encouraged someone from an authentic space of possibility and belief in the other’s power to heal, or to achieve the desires of their heart? You influenced them. You are an influencer. 

Have you ever used your words to tell a story and paint a picture for the mind of new outcomes for yourself and/or others? You are a visionary.

You are a contributor. 

You are a change agent. 

You are AllTheThings as the trendy saying goes. 

A shared humanity looks outward and notices ‘the things’ and says, ‘like you, I too am fill-in-the-blank’.

I love access to digital technology. 

As I write, I can search any question I have about spelling, synonyms, references, origins; as well as anything I want to confirm, deny, or investigate a bit more as I organize my content. 

This week I keep thinking of the saying: how do you eat an elephant? one step at a time. 

I wanted to reference it as a Chinese Proverb, but I wasn’t sure why I assumed this was its origin. I searched. Here are a few references I found: 

  • a ‘joke’ (‘there’s an old joke about eating an elephant…’)
  • ‘Desmund Tutu once said…how do you eat…’
  • ‘The saying goes back to an army general….’  
  • just eat the damn elephant…

Big ideas are interesting and can become overwhelming. Slowing down and being curious allows one to move toward the big idea, or new way of thinking, one step at a time. I often say in my mind “just chip away at it Sally…all you ever have to do is the next thing.’

The executive functioning skill, to initiate, simply means to move in the direction of the elephant. 

Self-awareness is the gateway to accessing our executive functions. One has to be aware of the elephant to begin the next step.To be able to orient to life through the lens of self-awareness, is to notice our state and choose tools, skills, and strategies that support a regulated state. A regulated state is a state of equilibrium, or balance. 

The elephant represents a situation, circumstance, or event that presents itself as a potential danger, threat, or unexpected challenge. The reason I say unexpected challenge is because anything that is ‘unexpected’ will present, at the very least, some level of challenge because it was not planned, it wasn’t ‘on the schedule’. 

Unexpected events, challenges, circumstances create discomfort. 

Discomfort activates the nervous system. 

Our intelligent nervous system is coded for equilibrium, a balanced state. This balanced state is wellbeing. Focusing from this balanced state allows us to live from a space of what is possible. Discomfort gets our attention. The attention creates focus. This process leads to growth.

When we notice how we are responding to discomfort, we can choose to intervene by soothing the response. When we do this we support the skill of initiation by moving toward the discomfort. 

Intentionally bringing awareness to breath and slowing it down, using supportive and encouraging self talk, stretching/loosening/softening the body’s response by using movement to allow energy to flow; are just a few strategies that support our innate ability to regulate (control, lead) the energy in our body. Just like we would notice the temperature of our body and make choices to regulate our comfort level. 

Does reading the word discomfort make you feel…discomfort? Does reading the word discomfort in a self-care blog make you feel…vulnerable? As if you are going to be asked to move toward something you would prefer to ignore.

There is an unwritten privacy clause to those of you who engage in my content. The privacy clause is that it is your own private journey. No one needs to know anything about your curiosity to be more kind and gentle toward your own self. It’s interesting this idea may be considered selfish. Keep the practice as a quiet inquiry until the momentum of it grows its own ‘legs’.

When bumped, thoughts and feelings spill out. It feels so good to tell a story on the inside that is so powerful, so clean, so inclusive, so loving, so GOOD, that it doesn’t need to be bumped to ‘spill out’ — it naturally overflows into your day-to-day experience toward yourself, and then into the lives of those with whom you interact.