When emotions are in control there is a tendency to get caught up, sort of speak, in the waves of turmoil. I have the image of taffy being pulled in a candy shop- going this way and that way without a sense of center or direction.
When caught up in emotional chaos, people may behave in out-of-control ways. While this may be a legitimate attempt to control the environment or emotions, sometimes behaving in out-of-control ways leads to shame and embarrassment- and can make problems worse, not better. And sometimes this reinforces the belief that a person isn’t in control of him or herself.
The practice of mindfulness is about sitting quietly and looking at, sort of speak, the contents of our minds. When stressful life situations come upon us, the situation has the potential to take over our life. Mindfulness is about sitting quietly and being able to see exactly what is in front of us. Without being pulled like taffy- back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Instead we sit still.
Sitting and looking at the stressful events may sound kind of mundane, and may also be experienced as distressing (“But I’m not DOING anything about it!”). However, the experience of being able to sit quietly and look at things as they are can help center us. Ground us in the moment. Give us perspective.
When this happens options open up. We can observe our tendencies to be pulled in certain directions, and we can see where the directions lead us. We can evaluate the pros and cons of actions. We can make decisions from a place of being centered. We can allow for the pain of emotions and the pain of our life situations- and we can bear with it. But unlike taffy, we can pull the sticky stuff of our minds towards a purposeful direction. We can set intentions and have clarity about the path we want to send ourselves down.
Without pulling taffy.