In the previous post, the words and story of Jill Bolte Taylor offered us some inspiration and encouragement toward our ability to find peace in any moment. Today I'm going to share with you the how. How do we begin to find our inner peace, especially in moments of hurt, or irritation, discomfort or pain? The following practice, called Positive Emotion Refocusing Technique (or PERT), is one way to do so. It's particularly useful whenever you're experiencing emotional discomfort in the present that's related to something that happened in the past. With practice, it's also useful to alleviate the discomfort of present-moment challenges. Working with PERT will help you tune into your emotional discomfort earlier in the process over time, which can spare you untold energy and suffering over the course of your life! Certainly worth the investment of a little time now - so stick with it! Whenever you first begin to notice yourself feeling upset, sad, hurt or irritated, practice PERT:
1) Take 3 long, slow breaths while focusing your attention on your belly.
2) Bring your attention to the area around your heart as you think of something truly wonderful in your life (someone you love, a pet, a beautiful piece of music, some kindness given or received, a place in nature that inspires you, or some gift in your life). Hold the feeling of this in and around your heart as you continue to breathe into your belly. Do this for several breaths or until you feel calmed.
3) Ask the calm part of yourself: "How could I better handle this difficult situation?" You'll get a response that's more helpful to you than you'd be able to access from the upset place, or one that reminds you that you don't have to get upset in this moment just because you were hurt in the past.
Like anything we practice, you'll get better at remembering and applying this the more you use it over time. For today, you can use it whenever you get upset on the road, or when you notice yourself getting upset while rehearsing or ruminating over interactions with loved ones, when something doesn't go the way you like or expect, or when you feel you have let yourself down in some way. Any time you begin feeling negative emotion, pause and give it a try. You might be surprised at how quickly you can turn your emotional state into one of greater peace when you notice and respond to your discomfort quickly.
Dana Wyss Healing Arts
Breathe deeply, practice often, be well.