Trailogy of the Emotional Sherpa # 5: Village of Weavers
After a long day of playing 5,4,3,2,1 ( game details to follow) and listening to some great tunes, the Emotional Sherpa walks into a clearing and catches sight of three people tangled up in what appears to be blue twine. He moves closer, hears some music and then it registers, they are dancing. He’s heard of interpretative dancing and synchronized swimming, but this scene takes the cake. Perplexed and dog tired, the Sherpa sits down on an inviting looking log and takes off his pack. From out of no where, a dude in a rocket man suit who’s carrying what looks to be a plank and wheel approaches, and shouts out, “we have a visitor! Welcome to the Village of Weaver’s Annual Hoedown.” The Sherpa thinks it must be a costume party, or a Rainbow People event. He is, as you know in the middle of a forest! The Rocket man asks, “Where do you hail from Mr. Heavy Ladened?” The Emotional Sherpa chuckles, “do I look like some kind of Sherpa? I’m from right here, right now. And, for the record, my rucksack is not that heavy anymore.” “That’s hysterical,” replies the oddly dressed fellow now surfing on his wooden toy. “I’m not following you,” responds the Sherpa. “You will over time. Solo sojourners move in and out, back and forth, and pretty much turn upside down, and inside out to get to where they want to go,” replies the Rocket man. Sherpa ponders this last statement and asks, “so what’s your gig? I’m not quite getting the suit and board thing.” RM (aka Rocket man) demonstrates his balancing skills as he explains to the Emotional Sherpa how he got to where he is right here, and right now on his life journey. The Sherpa and RM look on as the weavers move slower and slower, getting more and more tangled up in blue. Blue yarn that is. RM turns to the Sherpa and asks, “want to know what these weavers are all about? Their journey is more complex than mine. And, we are traveling in the same direction so I want to set the stage for you with the Village of Weaver’s story.” “My best guess,” responds the Sherpa, “is these weavers are tangled up in blue and aren’t going anywhere real soon.” RM chuckles and states, ” you are starting to get it. Speaking of being right here, right now, how are you going to avoid getting tangled up in blue yourself?” The Emotional Sherpa knows far too well how easy it is to get tangled up in blue. He’s been there, done that. But, can he choose a different trail this time? Just because the Sherpa is aware of how easy it is to get entangled doesn’t mean he knows how to prevent himself from getting tangled up again, right? The Sherpa reaches into his pocket to get a photo of this crazy making event and hits face-time instead. Damn face-time. Yikes! When that happens, the Sherpa knows he has to look at himself and consider his role in tangled up relationships. “Why is it so hard to change?” asks the Sherpa. RM replies, “well, let me tell you the weaver’s story so you can figure it out yourself.
RM begins the tale with, “a long, long time ago in that Castle way up on the hillside over there lived a Queen the villagers called Queen Unpredictable, and her mute husband they called, King I Don’t Care.” RM stops and tells the Emotional Sherpa he’s gotta go. “Are you kidding me? You start a story like that and then to take off ?” cries the Sherpa. RM explains to the Sherpa this adventure he’s on is like a Netflix series. After about 37 minutes, the story ends to be continued next time. “Get back into the here and now and start dancing Mr. Heavy Ladened,” shouts RM. The Sherpa does just that. He gets up and joins in.
Here are a few Tips from the Trail offered by the Emotional Sherpa himself as he practices staying in the right here, right now:
1. To bring yourself back to the here and now, play the 5,4,3,2,1 game. It’s the Sherpa’s sure-fire way to live in the present moment. Remember this from previous posts?
See 5 things on your daily walk you haven’t noticed before,
Hear 4 things,
Feel 3 things,
Smell 2 things,
Taste 1 thing.
2. If you get back into the present and feel a sense of discomfort like fear, anger, or anxiety; STOPP and allow yourself a few moments to feel the strong emotion. This is very uncomfortable for some of us, so please only practice this technique if you have a toolbox full of effective, self regulating skills. If that’s a foreign concept to you, find a Trailtalk therapist to assist you in filling your toolbox so you can learn to tolerate strong emotions.
3. Ride the Emotion Wave – this is a popular tool called the Crave Wave (read more here).
Here’s how it works: when you feel a strong emotion, STOPP. Remember that tool?
Stop what you are doing.
Take a deep breath.
Observe what you are thinking about.
Pull back like you are zooming out to see a panoramic view of your thoughts, and ask yourself if you have all the facts. Is there another way of looking at this situation?
In your mind’s eye, imagine yourself riding an ocean swell. As you are at the top, breathe in, and as the swell moves on, breathe out. Here comes another one! The emotion is strongest at the top as the swell brings you up and you breathe in. The emotion dissipates as the swell moves on, and you breathe out.
Practice. Do this visualization several times knowing that what you are feeling is a perceived threat.
Now take on the day! See, hear, feel, smell, and taste every moment. Happy trails, Allison