In any given moment I have two options: to step forward into growth, or to step back into safety – Abraham Maslow
Becoming an observer in life is a daily practice for me. In any given situation, I have two energies that guide my reactions. The primitive part of my mind which reacts to threats of my safety, and the observer who steps back to see a bigger picture of my emotions and thoughts. I have learned I have control over my reality because right now, I am choosing my thoughts.
The examples below can trigger my safety response which may cause me to feel invalidated or raise my voice and start a fight with my partner, or get angry or want justice at the driver who cuts me off. These responses may happen so quickly, and unexpectedly, I may not even know what I am doing until after it happens.
- Your partner criticizes you for being disorganized and uncommitted
- A driver cuts you off in traffic
- Someone makes an off-handed comment that really hurts
- Your supervisor yells at you for not getting a project finished on time
When I practice stepping back from the drama as soon as I feel the first response, I become aware of my thoughts and actions. Once I am aware, I have a clearer understanding and choose an appropriate reaction.
The observer is a passive energy that I actively and consciously engage each day. I find that daily stillness and a conscious awareness of my thoughts, helps activate this in me. The moment I am truly still with my situation, not trying to figure out a way to fulfill it or ignore it, it reveals itself to me. It’s not that I don’t feel a reaction, I do, but I continue to practice being in the moment.
Each time I make an effort to choose differently, I respond for the highest good of all, and this makes my reality and my journey calmer and clearer.