Don't Anticipate the Bang
In life, you can't anticipate the bang. I heard that while I was watching a video on YouTube, and the line really resonated with me.
As we go through life we often behave because we are anticipating a certain reaction. I find myself doing this CONSTANTLY! Especially when things are up in the air, like right now. I find myself drowning in the seas of what ifs, tossed around by the currents and trapped under the waves. I gasp for air and find clarity for brief moments, but then I am pulled right back under, right into the confusion and into the riptide.
For those of you that have ever shot a firearm, you know there is a loud noise -- the bang -- and some kick. The principle behind don't anticipate the bang is that most people miss their target when shooting a firearm because they expect the bang. The anticipation causes them to fire and miss, often times with no awareness of where they were pointing the gun. When you don't anticipate the bang, you can line up your target, take aim, fire and nail it.
My god! What a great analogy for life. The target is your goal. The bang is all of the noise and chatter in your head, clouding your judgement and pulling you into endless sea of possibilities. The sea of possibilities it so turbulent yet beautiful to watch that sometimes we allow ourselves to get too close and fall in. That is when you get sucked away by the riptide, that is when you are left gasping for air and clarity battling the waves.
Writing and meditation are my life rafts for dealing with the beautiful, yet turbulent sea. Writing because it helps me make sense of the chaos and process what I am feeling, it allows me to pull myself to the surface and shore. Meditation because it allows me to be present and remember to not anticipate the bang and not to fall in to the sea. With meditation I can appreciate the seas for what it is and not get lost in it.
I know that both journaling and meditation can be uncharted waters for most people. However, if the confusion and chatter in your mind are the oceans during a hurricane, imagine the uncharted waters of writing and meditation as a peaceful lake in a valley. The water is so calm that rivers and streams flow to the lake for its peace and tranquility. If that sounds like a lake you might be interested in checking out then please keep reading!
I started journaling when I was in college after experiencing my own crisis. Journaling was something completely foreign to me, but I started it on a whim. Let me tell you, I'm so glad I did. Writing allowed me to sort through the clutter -- swim through the sea -- in my mind and process it. When I started journaling, I didn't have a plan, I just started to write. I wrote about what ever was in my head. I didn't care about grammatical errors, I didn't care about sentence structure or what people would think, I just needed a way to get was inside of my head out.
Back then, there really wasn't anyone that I can remember that talked about journaling. However, today there are people like Katie Dalebout who are sharing the amazing benefits of journaling and making it more accessible to people. In her book Let it Out she talks about her own personal journey with journaling and provides several tools. Some of my favorites and most effective tools for me are:
The Morning Dump Tool
And, no. I am not talking about your morning movement, but instead the practice of waking up in the morning and writing to get all of the icky grimy thoughts that are flowing between your ears out. This has helped me so much on my own personal journey!
The HappyThankYouMorePlease Tool
This one is super easy! All you need to do is create a note on your phone titled HappyThankYouMorePlease and in that note you write down the things throughout the day that make you happy. It could be something as simple as your morning cup of joe or finding that perfect parking spot. The idea here is to create this ongoing list that helps you shift your way of thinking and focus on the positives. Positivity begets more positivity.
You should definitely check out Katie's website and book if you feel the slightest inclination to Let it Out.
I know that at the mention of the word meditation some people will get the willies and tune out. However, for those of you still reading, hear me out. Meditation is not something to shy away from. It is not some hippie practice reserved for those granola people. It is something that is so powerful and helpful for anyone willing and wanting to invest time in themselves.
For a long time, meditation was something that yogis did. It was weird, they chanted Ommmm, and I just couldn't connect with it. However, once I started realizing that meditation was part of all of my idols daily practice, I decided that I needed to give it a shot. It wasn't easy at first. I needed to be guided because I always felt like I was doing it wrong. However, then I had an unlock and it became easier. I'm not saying it's easy for me, but I keep trying because the at peace feeling I have afterwards is so comforting . Comforting doesn't even put justice to the feeling I have after meditation, but it's the feeling I imagine I would have taking in the wonder of that tranquil like in the peaceful valley.
Gabby Bernstein is an incredible resource if your interested in diving into the world of meditation. Gabby's website is filled with guided meditations! If you're looking for a place to start, start here. This gives you an overview of what meditation is and her approach. I encourage you to take a peak and use some of her guided meditations as a launching point.
Meditation Apps are great for those that are on the go! The Apps available allow beginners to take their meditation practice anywhere. One App that I have found incredibly useful in the past was Headspace. This App forces you to crawl before you can walk, which is key with meditation. Please check it out as well.
Don't Anticipate the Bang
Meditation and Journaling are my life rafts. Everyone has their time lost at sea, trapped under the waves and gasping for air, including myself. However, with these life rafts the time at sea left fighting the ripe tide of my mind is cut down. By developing these practices I am able to quickly pull myself out of the seas and back to the tranquility of the lake. After all, if left fighting the ripe tide for too long we might drown which would be a waste of your gift.