Since I was a child, I’ve hated scary movies. And as I grew up I learned to avoid the genres of action, adventure, crime, fantasy, horror, mystery, thriller and science fiction. I am a sensitive person and so I would get so caught up in the film it would feel like I was a participant. For example – when I was in high school I chose to stop watching The Amazing Race because I would get so wrapped up that I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep afterwards.
Last week I went to the movie theatres to watch the relatively calm film Inside Llewyn Davis and as usual there was a preview for an action film before the movie started. And I had the realization that if I focussed on breathing deeply while watching the preview – I didn’t get caught up in it. I didn’t get carried away into thinking that I was actually the main character in a fight for my life. My body didn’t go into fight or flight mode. And I could relax even while watching the preview.
Now this might not seem like that big deal but this has been a huge paradigm shift for me. Instead of avoiding all the things and all the people that make me tense (which ends up being A LOT of things and A LOT of people and gets quite complicated) – I can shift the way I interact with them. By connecting to my breath and to myself I can change the experience of the situation.
And now there are a lot of opportunities for me to practice :). Living and working in a shared space means I end up bumping into others and into myself. So what helps me stay connected to my breath in the midst of conflict?
I am practicing and I am finding out. And I am learning to change how I experience the challenges in my life.