This post is part of my cornerstone content, written years ago and updated for inspiring wisdom and deep understanding today.
While on the freeway the other day, my son, Garrett, was driving while I rode in the passenger seat. We were heading into a construction zone with cement barriers to our left and a tractor-trailer to our right. I could feel my son getting nervous as we were also about to go underneath an overpass, so I suggested: “Just take a deep breath, let it out slowly, and focus on staying in your lane.“
We made it through without difficulties, and Garrett said, “Thanks Mom.”
“Any time, my love,” I replied. “I learned that trick when I was a kid working at the gun club. One of the guys told me the best way to make your shot was to relax, breathe, and focus your way through it. I guess the technique works for more than just shooting targets.”
Passing through a tight squeeze
How often have you found yourself going through a “tight squeeze”? Something makes you doubt your abilities, so you tense up, hold your breath and pray for it to be over. Seriously, I think we’ve all done it!
The problem isn’t the situation; it’s how we respond. When we only focus on the fear of the frightening situation, we undermine our capacity to maneuver through it. We throw our bodies into panic mode when we tense up and stop breathing. By focusing on the outside stimulus instead of ourselves, we shrink precisely when we must be big enough to handle it.
The power of our presence
That’s not to say we’re not allowed to be shocked, scared, and downright lost sometimes. The storms of life can wreak havoc, for sure. An accident, fire, flood, divorce, or diagnosis can turn our world upside down. However, just like the weather, once the storm passes, we take control by cleaning up the mess and moving forward. We give ourselves a leg up by first taking care of ourselves by eating well, drinking plenty of water, and resting. Self-care allows us to show up strong and ready for action. That’s where the power of our presence kicks in.
When we focus on where we’re going and what we’re doing, we can avoid most of the distractions and drama that would stop us from meeting our goals in the first place.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”Maya Angelou
Focus on what we want
Whether our goal is an Olympic gold medal, a happy family, a successful business, or simply not crashing on the freeway, knowing what we want and where we’re going is the first step to getting there.
Of course, it’s easy to get distracted by the current state of the world. There is no shortage of opportunities for fear and doubt to take hold with war, politics, and the economy. That’s why we need to recognize ourselves within our boundaries to remain grounded and authentic, focused and calm, and tuned into the truth of ourselves. That’s where our power lies.
We can’t avoid going through the storms of life. However, we can do our best to be mindful of our energy and attention as we sail through them.
I offer a free virtual class about our eight boundaries every month. If you’re interested in learning more, please leave a comment below.