Stomp, Drop and Roll
You know the feeling when you’re lined up at the top of a new trail, assessing the amount of pain that could be inflicted if you don’t make it over that bridge, down that slab, or through the field of baby heads. There are so many obstacles, how will I ever get down!
As you set off down the trail, your brain is flooded with anticipation. You’re tentative, stopping, starting and losing all your flow. Just as you encounter the first big unexpected feature, you freeze and think oh f*ck and immediately grab a handful of brake. Over the handlebars you toss yourself into a creek. *Owie*
At this point you can’t focus at all. You’re a mess and continue to eat shit over and over, eventually finding a tree to hide behind and cry for a bit before meeting up with your friends at the bottom.
Life is one big trail
My friend Joe once gave me a piece of advice that’s stuck with me. We were talking one night—mostly I was talking, about all the overwhelming things going on in my life. I could barely hold it together and couldn’t think straight. He stopped me and said “Rachelle, think of your situation as a new bike trail. You can’t focus on the whole thing at once and panic or you’re going to eat shit. You have to clear your mind and focus only on the next obstacle right in front of you.”
As we go through life we are faced with challenges, uncertainty and at times what feels like relentless setbacks. It’s hard to not feel overwhelmed and panic. I thought a lot about Joe’s analogy and there are so many aspects of it I could take away.
Look where you want to go
Practice mindfulness and calmly rest your attention on whatever is happening in the present moment. Mindfulness helps restore the proper balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. This creates a feeling of calm and relaxation.
As you regain perspective and energy, you can start to tackle problems. Pick one problem at a time that seems solvable, decide on a solution and identify a simple next step.
Get a little stoke on
Congratulate yourself when you make some progress. Get a little stoked each time and then keep going—you’ll be pleasantly surprised. By shifting your focus away from persistent, negative thoughts and feelings, you can restore perspective.
Slow down, and breathe
Practice deep, slow breath’s from your diaphragm. This will help calm your nerves and you won’t feel as anxious. Breath supplies our bodies and its various organs with oxygen—this is vital to ensuring your body is going to help you with the task at hand.
Keep away from the brakes
Panic is the abandonment of your skills. Don’t freeze–or grab a handful of brakes. Trust yourself. Rather than obsessing on the obstacles, slow down and apply a thoughtful amount of pressure to the problem.
Drop your seat
What’s getting in the way? Or are there just too many tasks and you don’t know where to start. Maybe there’s something you can give yourself the permission to put aside for now.
Be patient – it takes as long as it takes. Some things cannot be rushed.
*Photo credit: Dave Vanderveen 😛