“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning
The adventure has begun!
Last week, we took off on our 16-city book tour to promote my memoir My Journey Through War and Peace (out now—grab a copy here!).
As I was writing this book, I had many opportunities to reflect on both the external and internal journeys I was on during my 20s and 30s. As I was experiencing them, they felt distinct. I looked at them as separate journeys which served up separate lessons and insights.
But, with hindsight, I now see how the internal and external journeys were woven together like a DNA strand. Not only did they affect one another, they informed one another. It’s funny to look back on that time period and know that so many of my decisions and experiences—like running into a dangerous war zone with a camera at the ripe age of 21—was a spotlight into what I was feeling and needing at the time (mostly, to prove myself.)
This book tour is an adventure and a very obvious external journey, but it’s also a great opportunity to gauge where I am now on my inward journey.
As I was reflecting on the ways I plan to check in with myself during this book tour, I thought it would be useful to share my practice with you, so that you, too, can check in with where you are internally.
This can be done as a journal exercise (you know how much I love those!) or you can quietly reflect on these questions:
- What’s happening externally?
- How often am I triggered?
- What is triggering me?
- Do I feel like I’m living in flow with what’s happening amidst all of the unknowns and uncertainties I’m experiencing?
- If not, what’s happening internally when I’m not in flow?
Because this is a spiritual practice I’ve been honing over the years, I’m able to reflect on these questions moment by moment. As I ask myself these questions—and give myself time and non-judgemental space to answer—I pay attention to the sensations in my body.
The thoughts I have and words I write down are important, but the sensations in my body are the biggest truth teller. Do my muscles tense when I reflect on what’s triggering me? As I follow my breath in and out of my nostrils, what do I feel? Is there a particular part of my body that feels hot, cold, wet, dry?
I think you’ll find it helpful to start tuning into your own body when you notice you’re being emotionally triggered by a person, a memory, a thought or an external event.
I’m in such communion with my body that I know how to read each sensation and understand what it’s telling me. If you’re still learning how to tune into your body’s own unique language, don’t worry so much about what the sensations are trying to tell you just yet. Just pay attention to what you’re sensing and thinking or feeling in those moments.
Over time, you’ll start to see a pattern emerge and, even more importantly, begin to trust and make decisions based on your practice.
Start now. What’s happening externally? What’s triggering you? What’s your body doing as you ask yourself those questions?
P.S.: While these questions can feel heavy, I promise that you’ll find humor, laughter and fun in the answers alongside your deep realizations and insights.