In a fast paced world with so many calls for our attention, we can get caught in a cycle of reaction. A simplistic look at the differences between action and reaction, is one is often planned on some level where the other one is usually in response to something that made us feel uncomfortable.
The thing that is dangerous about reactions is that it can accompany an endorphin rush or a quick boost of energy that help us through. It might be more recognized in terms of the familiar phrase, of “fight, flight or freeze”. Flight comes in handy if we hear a bear on the mountain bike trail, recalling reading, as our legs are pumping up and down as fast as they can go, that bears cannot run any faster than 30 mph. However, in day to day life of reacting to basic things as they happen in a flight response can cause mental and physical fatigue (freeze), which also impacts our spiritual life. We stop living. This can create a cycle that can feel challenging to alter, because we also gain a feeling of power from that surge of flight energy. We will eventually begin to freeze more and more, unable to act without needing to react.
The thing we miss trying to live in flight mode, is life. We are experiencing things, but in limited doses or segmented experiences. This is not much different than living by burning the candle at both ends at the same time. This can lead to all sorts of illness (often called stress), but can be alleviated by slowly making shifts. We cannot fix our past, all we can do is be aware of our present and begin setting focus on how we would like the future to look.
As an outcast, this can feel an impossible task. Though it is beneficial to be open to shifting, one piece at a time within our own lives and actions. We are after all, the only ones who truly understand our lives. It is still the possible to have someone(s) who walk with us, as long as we are open to who they are and not who we want to walk with us.
We begin to notice those pieces, when we look inward, to see what is working or what could be reworked to work more favorably. Winter is in the northern hemisphere, still offering a time of year that encourages contemplation. This reminds me of the trees letting go of their leaves, to bear their trunks to become stronger as the push and pull of winter winds help strengthen their trunks, to make another ring. It all happens inside the tree, while we see gradual growth over the years and the joy each spring offers with the sprouting of lush shades of green, most of the change is unseen. Much like prayerful contemplation and/or meditation, can help us find a new understanding of who we are and how we will be in the world, recognizing we are continually evolving.
We learn about the world through our own filters, by changing the lenses we can open up to other possibilities. It is easier to do this, if we feel safe within knowing or at least open to learning about ourselves. This gentle shift can begin, once we accept the invitation toward planning, with contemplation helping us know where our resources of movable plans of possibilities. Just like rings on a tree, our comfort begins inside of us and is carried outward.