Enjoy Fall…And Don’t Feed The Monsters!
Fall is such a beautiful time of year. Halloween is a part of it, although we aren’t quite sure yet how that will look in 2020!
Halloween is also all about ghosts, goblins, and monsters. They are generally pretty fun, on and around October 31.
Monsters, however, are not fun when they take the form of distressing thoughts in your mind. And when you feed them by focusing on them too much, or suppressing them too quickly, they get stronger and stay longer.
One area of distressing thoughts occurs when you compare yourself to others. ‘How come he is doing so much better than me in business?’; ‘Why can’t I find cool clothes like she does?’; ‘Why am I envious of that person; what is wrong with me?’
First, remind yourself that distressing thoughts are normal. We all have them from time to time. Next, practice a strategy to manage those distressing thoughts without ‘feeding’ (magnifying) them.
Tara Brach teaches a method known as RAIN:
Recognize what is happening:
The first step is simply to recognize that the thought, emotion and behavior is occuring. Just notice.
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is
Allowing means simply that. Allow the distressing thoughts, emotions, feelings and sensations to be there, without trying to fix or avoid them. You can even say something to yourself like ‘It’s ok.’ Allowing creates space to pause and go deeper.
Investigate with interest and care
Be curious. Direct focused attention on your present experience. Ask yourself questions such as: What most wants attention? How am I experiencing this in my body? What am I believing? What does this vulnerable place want from me? What does it most need? This will be most useful when you bring your primary attention to the felt sense in your body. Then simply say say, ‘Hello, I know you are there.’
Nurture with self-compassion
Be kind to yourself, and that part of yourself that is hurting. Try to sense what the wounded, hurting part of yourself needs, and then offer a gesture of active care. Does it need a message of reassurance? forgiveness? companionship?love? Experiement with what gesture might soften and open your heart. You might mentally whisper, “It’s going to be okay. You are okay. This is a challenging time right now. I love you, and I’m listening. Trust in your goodness.” Practice with a hand over your heart, and envision being bathed in warmth and light.
Check out Tara Brach’s RAIN meditation here: