Blogging sister Julie Roads recently wrote about traits she wished she could surgically remove from her being.
About those traits? I have a lot of them: fear of failure, fear of appearing weak, fear of being a burden to others, fear of rejection, negativity, fatigue, cravings for things that are not good for me, worry, fear of other people thinking that I have lost a screw.
I could go on, but you get the idea. I’m sure you have your own list.
During the past few weeks, however, I’ve made quite a bit of progress at letting go of most of these fears. I’ve done it by blowing them out my nose.
I learned how to blow stuff out my nose during a meditation class I attended just before my vacation. It was at that class that my teacher explained the theory behind Black and White Breathing. Black and White Breathing is simple. You close your eyes. You bring your awareness to your breathing. Whenever you have a distracting thought—I’m not doing this right….Crap, I forgot to get the milk….I have so much to do tomorrow, but I don’t think I can get it all done… I hope my husband doesn’t want to have sex when I get home tonight—you mentally turn that thought into black smoke, and you blow that smoke out your nose.
Then you imagine all that is good in the world – love, peace, compassion, understanding, patience, orgasms and so on – as white light, and you inhale that light.
Now, I’ve been doing this Black and White Breathing thing for about a year, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I really got the point of it all. What can I say? I’m dense like that. But once I got the point, it was a huge life shift for me. I started doing it repeatedly throughout every single day. Here are some examples:
- We’re driving to the airport. Traffic comes to a standstill. We turn on the radio and find out that there is a four-car pile up and that the road is completely blocked off. My thoughts start going to the We’re-Going-to-Miss-Our-Flight-and-I’ll-Never-Get-to-Go-On-Vacation-and-If-I-Don’t-Have-A-Vacation-I-Am-Going-to-Die-From-Stress place. I breathe that thought out my nose as I say, “Whatever happens is what happens.” I breathe in my nice white light. Suddenly I could care less as to whether or not I catch my flight. (We did catch it, by the way).
- We’re in Florida and we’re on our way to a restaurant to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday. My husband is driving. His mother is in the backseat with me. His father is in the front seat. My father in law and mother in law are backseat driving, and it’s vicious. Not a second goes by without one of them telling my husband that he’s in the wrong lane, not turning at the right place, or going the wrong way. My husband is getting more and more tense. He ignores them, so they raise their voices. I’m thinking, “Gee this is quite uncomfortable” and “well, isn’t he getting a taste of his own medicine” and “wow, now I know where he gets this from.” As the tension in the car rises, I close my eyes and breathe the tension and negativity out my nose. When we get to our destination, I hug and kiss my husband. His entire demeanor changes, and now he’s able to deal with his parents civilly.
- I’m having dinner with a group of people. An acquaintance makes an anti-Semitic remark. I’m half Jewish. People often forget this because 1) I don’t celebrate Jewish holidays 2) I practice non-Jewish religions such as Buddhism 3) I apparently don’t look Jewish. None of that makes anti-Semitism hurt any less. I think about sticking a fork in this person, but then I quickly breathe that anger out my nose. I wish I could say that I said the absolutely most perfect thing—the thing that would make this person realize that Jews are human beings just like everyone else—but I did not. Still, I’m quite proud of myself for not sticking my fork in anything that wasn’t on my plate.
- As I’ve mentioned, I’ve experienced a long siege of mildly annoying events, the most recent of which was getting the stomach flu and spending Wednesday night in the bathroom and Thursday in bed. I initially worried about a lot of things—the vomit that I got on my bathrobe, all of the work I had to do but could not get done, and how to make breakfast for my 5 year old when I could not get out of bed. I blew it all out my nose. My 5 year old not only entertained herself, but she nursed me, putting “Get Well” stickers all over my shirt and bringing me Gatorade from the fridge. My husband came home from work and not only fed her and took her to school, but also cleaned the bathroom and brought me more Gatorade. My bathrobe still has vomit on it. I’m considering tossing the thing. But everything else worked itself out, no worrying required.
Oh, things I’ve blown out my nose these past few weeks. I’ve blown away worries. I’ve blown away cattiness. I’ve blown out my envy, anger, frustration, fear and more. Now, whenever I have a negative thought of any kind, I ask myself, “Is this thought going to get me anywhere? Do I need this thought?” If the answer is, “No,” I blow it out my nose. Blowing negativity out my nose does not stop life from being a struggle. Bad things still happen. I still get sick. I still get locked out of hotel rooms. People still say hurtful things. Not everything works out as planned.
But turning such struggles into smoke and blowing that smoke out my nose helps me to stop obsessing about the things I cannot change, so I can focus on the things that I can do something about.
Try it and let me know what you think.
How do you deal with negativity? Do you have techniques for overcoming worry, fear, anger and other negative emotions? Share them here, so others can learn from your experience.