Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How Important Is It?

In the middle of a crisis, the question 'How Important Is It?' can really come in handy if you want to lower the situation's emotional temperature. To use it most effectively, breathe in slowly and then breathe out and ask yourself, 'How important is it? Does it effect my breathing?' If the answer is yes, the problem is a big one. If the answer is no, it simply is NOT that important.

But, in all honesty, unless you've done some preparation to keep calm in a crisis, you may find your breathing affected, not because the situation is killing you, but because you've blown the problem out of perspective. The last time I shared the Alanon/Naranon 'How Important Is It?' slogan with someone, we were talking about taking the trash out and the fact that her daughter wouldn't.
"When she doesn't, I get so upset that I can't breathe," the mom shared.

So, let's look at this more carefully. Is the slogan 'How Important Is It?' useful for turning down the temperature of a difficult situation or not?

Breathing of course, is automatic and necessary. The more deeply and slowly we breathe, the calmer we are able to stay, regardless of whether the issue is taking the trash out or watching a loved one slowly or quickly kill themselves with drugs or alcohol. Yet, when a crisis hits, the first thing we often do is panic and stop breathing.

That's why it is said that peace lies not in controlling what happens to us, but rather in whether we respond or react. In other words, we can breathe through the situation, slowly and calmly, as we collect our thoughts and decide how we will respond, or we can react with panic, anger or fear, which will make our breath shallow, our muscles tense, and our minds upset.

Dr. Fred Jones, a teacher of mine, once put it succinctly: "Calm is power. Upset is weakness."

By putting aside 5-10 or even 20-30 minutes each day to develop a calm center of power within ourselves through prayer, meditation, journaling and/or reading inspirational books, blogs, or articles, we are in effect preparing ourselves for those large and small crises that inevitably grace the lives of those affected by a loved one's addiction (and everyone else for that matter). It all starts with the breath - Once we develop a calm presence, we will truly know the difference between what IS important, and what is NOT!

Until next time, keep breathing and let me hear from you!

Recovery Coach Bev
786 859 4050

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