Last week, after DAYS of countdowns and chaos, my daughter and I packed up, grabbed the dog, and got on a flight to Hawaii. We were already over the Pacific ocean when the pilot announced they would have to turn around because of issues with their communication system.
So we fly back, get in line for another plane, and then I get called up to the gate agent, who told me I couldn’t be on the next flight because my dog had to be on a flight that landed before 11:30pm.
I’m already exhausted and sleep deprived. Now someone is telling me that my backup plans won’t work either (and, by the way, what they were telling me didn’t even make sense because I had all the paperwork AND a message from my vet confirming the midnight arrival time was good to go).
And this person is asking me to process this and make a decision… all while out of alignment.
When the agent told me my next flight option was four days later and my daughter started crying, I lost it. I started freaking out – my head felt like it would explode, my breath got short and shallow, a threw in some f*cks and sh*ts…and now I’m the a-hole who is raising her voice at airline staff.
And the piece of me that meditates was reminding me to calm down, so I’m throwing out phrases like, “I’m not made at you…just the situation but…f******ck!” I was SO upset.
To make a long story short, the woman finds us a non-direct flight, which makes our 6-hour journey into a 36-hour one… and we get there in once piece and the vet checks off the boxes so my dog is good to go. And BTW the vet also said she asked aroun and never heard that rule (you know me…I like to be right;).
After all that, what I noticed was a lot of shame. Shame for how I responded, for having people see me that upset. For being a poor role model for my kid.
It’s so important for us to realize when we’re out of alignment and to know how to get back into alignment… and what to avoid until we’re good to go again.
Let’s start by looking at the signs of us being in or out of alignment. Think of it like a scale of -5 to +5. Being in +1 or +2 feels calm, confident, and centered. +5 is positive, confident, grounded, energetic. SUPER in alignment.
For me, the -1 and -2 have me being more impatient and irritable, and -5 is like full on raging.
When we’re in the negative, it may sometimes feel desperate – like I have to figure it out NOW and solve this problem now. But it will be way more effective if we take time to get aligned again.
Once we can notice those small indications of being out of alignment, we might also notice thoughts, behaviors, emotions and sensations that show up: critical self-talk, pessimistic thinking, and buffering behaviors (like reaching for another glass of wine or eating junk food for that dopamine hit).
Mindfulness of those thoughts is helpful because it’s often the thoughts we have about that stressful thing that throws us way out of alignment. It’s also a reciprocal relationship because the thoughts that come up are often impacted by how aligned we are too.
Once we have the mindfulness of thoughts, then before we process a situation or make decisions, or give OR receive advice, we ideally try to get back into alignment.
The key here is to change your physiology as soon as you notice, because hitting that -5 puts us in that fight/flight/freeze/fawn mode – a trauma response for many of us – and it is hard to recover when we are way down on the scale.
Resetting ourselves helps us to gain a wider perspective, a more creative and compassionate perspective.
There are a lot of ways you can calm that nervous system. Relaxation breathing, splashing cold water on your face, taking a walk outside… and definitely using a self-compassion practice!
In addition to learning how you get out of alignment, it’s also helpful to notice when someone else is out of alignment. They are not in the place or process to have a conversation with you or make decisions or give you feedback when out of alignment.
If we could all see that and empathize with them and have compassion for them, that would be a game-changer, right? And isn’t that what we all want for ourselves? To be given the benefit of the doubt?
And of course, we will all mess up. But we can learn from it. We can continue to practice and try to do better next time.
Having compassion for ourselves won’t absolve us of responsibility, but it will help us see our humanity.
So listen: next time someone is lashing out, don’t listen to the words or the drama. See what happens when you listen to the suffering.
I’d love it if the world gave me the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t you? If you trusted that they’d be like, “Wow she must be tired, or have had a hard day.”
And because we know that we’d love it if the world gave us the benefit of the doubt, maybe we can do it more for others.
We can say, “I choose alignment. I choose to give them the benefit of the doubt. I choose to give myself the benefit of the doubt.”
As Ram Dass said, we are all walking each other home.
In this Episode you will learn:
// Why we shouldn’t make decisions + give OR receive advice out of alignment
// How to learn your own signs of being out of alignment
// Why thoughts and emotions are so critical in the cycle of mis-alignment
// How taking a pause can help us realign + some examples of ways to do that
// The importance of self-compassion + holding compassionate space for others
// How to proactively stay in alignment
// Episode 44: The Power of the Pause
// Episode 51: Self-Compassion
// House cat vs Serval Video (Facebook link)
// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist FB group, and tune in every Wednesday at 11:30am PST as I go live.
// If you’re in need of a powerful pause and ready for some re-alignment, shake up your life with the upcoming Adventure Mastermind. It’s a no-BS group of 6 womxn ready to slay the next year – YOUR way. Six months of transformation and adventures (inner and outer!) that will have you blowing your own mind, and you can learn more at www.AdventureMastermind.com Check it out – application is open, with an amazing bonus of a ticket credit to one of the retreats, and you won’t want to miss the chance to hang out with me and a small group of rebel womxn in adventurous places to get unstuck and create the next chapter of your amazing life!
// Want to dive into this work on a deeper level? To study it and practice it together? Check out Freedom School – the community for ALL things related to freedom, inside and out.
It’s also where you can get individual help applying the concepts to your own life. It’s where you can learn new coaching tools not shared on the podcast that will blow your mind even more, and it’s where you can connect over all things freedom with other freedom junkies just like you and me. It’s my favorite place on earth and it will change your life, I guarantee it. Come join us at JoinFreedomSchool.com. I can’t wait to see you there.