FLAP YOUR WINGS

There are stories we tell ourselves about people and events that are not helpful. And when we keep telling ourselves these stories again and again they become our truth. In a figurative way this can put us in a prison and constrict us from living a life in which we feel free.

It is normal to have different opinions and views to other people. It is also normal to experience difficult situations in one’s life that trigger our emotions in a really tough way. Sometimes when we clash with another person it hurts deeply. We notice it in our thoughts and emotions and it can affect our body and show up as a discomfort somewhere. Instead of getting stuck with stories that are painful to us and that in some way take over who we really are, wouldn’t it be better and more wise to let them go?

Here is a little story I find helpful and that illustrates how we can deal with clashes in a different way. It is taken from the book “A New Earth” by the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. In the book he describes a scene in which two ducks come into a fight in the water. The fight is short, and right after it ends the ducks float away in opposite directions flapping their wings. The flapping of wings is important: The ducks get rid of the tension in the body (and story in the head) about their fight. As a result they can swim calmly around again. They are done with what just happened. It is out of their system.

If the ducks had a human mind the whole scene would have been very different: After the fight the ducks would probably have kept talking to themselves in their head about how stupid the other duck was, how wrong this duck had been to come over on to his territory, how it always happens, why is it always like this? and how unfair life is to treat it this way. And so on.

This is how many humans live their lives a lot of the time. With an endless back-and-forth discussion in their mind about how some people have treated them wrongly, that things are unfair and somebody else’s fault. They “know” this is why so much is wrong in their life. They don’t let go of the story and the same story just keeps going! Thoughts, emotions and sensations in the body are all linked and loop and feed back to each other. As a result of troublesome stories people are telling themselves their whole being ends up getting trapped.

How about we copy the ducks and also start flapping our wings right after we have experienced a tricky situation? How about taking charge and decide to 1) not add an emotional response in our body and 2) not go for an endless and unhelpful stream of story-making in our head?

Flap your wings. It literally helps to shake the tension off. Every time you become aware of a negative emotion you could shake your arms and legs. You could jump around or spin your arms around your body. It will help you feel better! The less tension you keep in the body, the less challenging thoughts you carry in your mind, the more you will feel free and light in your life.

If you want to, take a moment now to become aware of what negative stories you are telling yourself on repeat. Are they true? Are they necessary for you to hold on to? Maybe they are stories that are not helpful to you any longer and that you can allow yourself to let go of ❤️

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Annette Wiik

My name is Annette. I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School) and started practising Hatha Yoga over 20 years ago. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two grown-up children and live in Wimbledon.