Victorious Sisterhood: We welcome you to join us every Monday at 11 am PST, where we connect and notice the cycles of our lives. Each week through checking in, we can see how we are shifting and changing over time. We hold a protective and safe space for you to be in whatever season you are without judgment or comparative energy. We celebrate all seasons and welcome each woman's experience. Please register to join us tomorrow or a Monday soon that suits you best!
It is easy to remember the warmth of the sun when the sun is shining on us. But it can feel like amnesia sets in when the clouds roll over a bright blue sky, sending us onto a brain fog of grey, painting our experience with the dull ache of self-doubt, and self-disappointment. We forget that all things, all moods, and cravings, are temporary. It can feel as though we are locked into patterns that keep us in the grey. We tend to quickly lose our optimistic minds and may get lost in emotions such a deep shame if we make choices from those temporary cravings. The self-critical language is familiar, we berate ourselves for our low mood, or eating one too many cookies...again. So when the tunnel vision of the all-or-nothing attitude sets in, how do we remember we have options available to us? How can we shine a light towards remembrance?
We give ourselves a third option.
The all-or-nothing mindset, clinging to moods like they are permanent, can launch us into neural pathways that have deep grooves; they are deep because they are familiar, and familiar is the mind's go-to choice. The mind would rather ride the same train than take a chance on a different mode of transportation. The unknown could feel too unpredictable to consider a new option. Controlling our environment with knowns rather than unknowns, makes us feel safe. But as Dr. Phil would say, "How is that working for ya?" By asking the mind to adopt a new way of thinking, one that is compassionate, as well as one that may bring healing to the all-or-nothing attitude, encourages the mind to shift towards a pattern of self-awareness.
We always have a third option. It is the expansive, compassionate, caring, evolving road of self-awareness. Looking for the third option cracks open a door where we didn't even know there was one.
Let's say the night before you weren't able to find the third option when eating the cookies. Maybe it was a tough day, you were triggered, tired, maybe you didn't eat well and your blood sugar was a crazy mess of cravings and you ate the bag of cookies. So imagine now it is the next morning. You feel like shit. You feel the shame rush in. Two things might happen. You may go down the rabbit hole of shame and decide that you don't care about being healthy anymore and you open another bag for breakfast. Or you could go down the rabbit hole of strict overcorrection and throw away all the carbs in your cupboard, swearing to every god in all religions that you are never eating a cookie again. But there is a third option! Let's look at that third option. You could ask your body what it needs. You stop to listen because you care to hear the answer. Perhaps you drink some water, you take a probiotic, have a blood-stabilizing breakfast. You have a hot shower, light a candle, and maybe you even start asking yourself what was going on with you the night before? You do this with honest curiosity. And maybe you can see that the issue really isn't the cookies, they are not bad or good, they are just cookies; You were eating your feelings and overate to numb out. Its happens! Practice self forgiveness.
The third option can be a mindset that says, "What would bring me into balance, what does my body need, and how can I create the atmosphere for self-awareness, and self-kindness? Can I apply the tools that bring my mind into remembering that the sun is still shining above those dull clouds?"
We can notice the patterns of our minds and offer it another option. The third option is great for asking, "What can I add? " Doesn't that just feel good to think about?
We both know that you may eat another cookie in your life, and next time you can apply third option curiosity and watch as the third option unfolds right before your eyes.
Some questions to ask yourself...
What is my third option?
What can I add?
What is going on within me?
How can I make room to feel what I need to feel?
How have I managed my blood sugar today? Do I need a nap? Would a walk help shift my perspective?
As we practice giving ourselves this third option, perhaps we will only eat a few cookies, add a glass of water, a balanced meal, and do some journaling around the emotions we've been carrying that day.
The pendulum tends to swing heavy this way or that way creating familiar pathways of self-judgment, or self-rigidity. Asking ourselves what may help bring us back towards middle ground, even if just by a few degrees, opens us up towards a more optimistic mind, where we remember we have options.
Patricia MacNeill R.H.N., C.CHT