In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, our minds can become tangled up in some pretty tricky traps. Think of the traps like nets. The more nets our minds get caught in, the more net we’re carrying around. The more net we’re carrying around, the more likely they are to get tangled, making it really difficult to see what is happening right in front of us. When we can’t see and we feel the weight of the nets bearing down on us, distressing emotions can start to build in our bodies—frustration, anger, sadness, fear, exhaustion, loneliness. And there we are, entangled in heavy nets, feeling exhausted, frazzled and not being able to see where we’re walking. It’s not a fun situation, but we’ve all been there—for one reason or another, our minds love taking the bait.
Removing the net is the goal, but often this process can cause the nets to get even more tangled and increase the distress of the moment. Some approaches that tend to tighten the knots are pretending that you can see accurately through your entanglements, judging and criticizing yourself for falling into the traps, and walking around blindly, which usually results in getting caught in more nets.
A great place to start to loosen the grip of the nets and begin to see clearly again is with our breath. We have a constant, soothing ocean that is moving in and out of us at all times. Turning to the breath with mindfulness can give us a moment to calm down, recognize what we’re feeling because of the tangled mess that our minds are in, and formulate a wise plan for how to get out from underneath it all. Think of it as a platform that will allow you to get a bird’s eye view on the gnarly mess that has come to shade your vision, so that you can figure out which knot to tackle first.
Finding this platform takes practice. Our breath is constantly going in and out, but our minds aren’t readily trained to tap into the wise ways of our bodies. The more we practice finding the platform, the better we’ll be at finding it in moments when we really need it.
By: Colie Taico, LCSW