“You’re not playing with me!”
Her right foot was poised to throw a front kick at her big sister’s back.
I saw it from the corner of my eye but I wasn’t quick enough to block it.
Good thing the little one was, well, little, her kick hardly moved her big sister in place. I don’t think she even felt it.
But that still didn’t make it right.
I was controlled enough to keep my mouth shut but my hand involuntarily slammed my table.
The little one looked at me as tears started welling in her eyes. She walked out of the bedroom and slammed the door with all her might. Bam!
For a few seconds, I forgot to do one small thing that could have made a big difference to how I handle this situation.
Do you forget to breathe?
I know that sounds silly, if you forgot to breathe for a very long time, you will die.
But during times of stress, do you notice how your breathing becomes shallow and irregular? Sometimes it’s so shallow, it’s like you’re barely breathing.
We forget the deep kind of breath that brings so much good to our body. Because according to this, “oxygen purifies our blood and removes poisonous waste products from our system.”
Now try this with me: Straighten your posture, inhale deeply, hold it in for about three seconds then exhale slowly.
How did that feel?
Now try that again.
And as you breathe in, imagine the air cleansing your mind, your heart, and everything else inside you. It’s like positive energy, patience and love filling you up.
And as you exhale slowly, try to really empty your lungs and imagine yourself pushing out all the negative vibes, frustrations and stress inside you.
Ah that feels good.
Enter the sanctuary
Pressure. Stress. Worry.
The feelings were mounting, my head was hurting and I felt like I was gonna explode.
I got up from my chair, shook my hands to break my state and walked to my fortress.
The vibranium steel structure reached the sky. It was shimmering in the sun in the middle of a field of roses.
It is my sanctuary. When I am inside, nothing can disturb me.
I entered the fortress and closed the door shut.
Serenity. Love. Patience.
I am safe. I am at peace.
How do you become at peace?
Create your own sanctuary.
The sanctuary is one of the techniques I learned when I trained in NLP. And just as the word suggests, it’s a place you can go to (or run to) when you need to feel positive again.
And since it’s imaginary, you can build it with anything you like and you can find it or bring it with you anywhere you want.
Thanks to the Captain America movie for the idea of vibranium, that’s what I used to build my fortress. It’s the strongest steel in the world and negative energy cannot penetrate it.
You can make your fortress with bricks, stones, steel… whatever you can imagine. Remember that this sanctuary is filled with everything that is good. Know and believe that this sanctuary is strong enough to protect you.
Another thing to remember is enter your sanctuary when you’re in a neutral state.
So if you’re feeling bad, shake the feeling off of you to break the negative state and breathe deeply before you enter your sanctuary.
And while you’re inside, continue to breathe deeply until you are feeling relaxed.
This can happen in all of ten seconds but if you want to stay in your sanctuary a bit longer, feel free to do so.
But isn’t that just in your imagination? How can that work?
I can hear the objection of your logical self. And that’s understandable.
Just know that whatever situation you are in, you always have a choice. And your mind is your most powerful ally to help you make those choices.
In this case, you can choose to continue feeling negative or you can choose to use your body plus your mind’s natural ability to heal you and give you peace.
So what’s your choice?
She peeped through the door, eyes sad and just a little bit hopeful.
“Mommy, is mad at me…”
“Come here baby…”
“But you’re mad at me.”
“I’m just upset at what happened. I want you and your big sister to care for each other.”
She stayed behind the door, like she’s pondering what I said.
And I let her be, waiting for the message to sink in. Hoping she would understand that, even if I get impatient sometimes, I still love her. I always love her.
After a few minutes, there’s a gentle tap on my arm.
“I’m sorry Mommy.”
Then she turns to her sister, “I’m sorry Jamaine.”
I scooped her in my arms and hugged her tight. I knew she understood.
Practice: Spend a few moments every hour to practice breathing deeply. Savor the feeling inside of you and feel good. When you find yourself in a tight spot, create your sanctuary and go there whenever you feel the need to.
Other Posts in the “Practicing Patience” Series
- How to be patient with your children
- Three reasons intentions can help you become more patient
- Want to be patient? Close your eyes
Do you have a personal sanctuary? Tell me about it in the comments below.
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