A storm in a teacup. A hurricane in a glass of water. The phrase above is a Hebrew proverb that has its English equivalent in the idea of making a mountain out of a molehill, the latter expression defined as “making a big deal out of nothing”. The former proverb however contains a slight twist, indeed it is making a large fuss out of something small (it fits in a teacup) but further, the storm has little effect on the outside.
So often we ourselves get all stirred up over something that really could be looked at as insignificant if we would just view it from a different perspective, through a different lens so to speak. How often do we become the teacup that contains the storm, with little effect on the outside circumstance? And the further difference here is that although our internal storms may have little effect on the outside “weather”, those storms can wreak storm force damage on our spiritual, emotional, and physical health.
Often these storms build up, from low potential disturbances, to full blown hurricanes, aided by our fears and doubts about the future and our assumptions based on past experiences.
Learning to identify the small stirrings within us and then calm them using various tools and techniques is a useful practice. Here are three tools you can use quickly and effectively.
1. Breathe deeply and exhale fully. Most of us do not do this often enough. We hold our breath without even realizing it when we are tense, afraid, unhappy. In about 30 seconds most of us can take at least 3 good breaths.
2. Center yourself. A yoga teacher I knew used to instruct her class by saying, “All of that energy that you are sending out to all those different people and situations and things that concern you, just for a few seconds, draw all of that energy back to you, bring it all back to your center.” This was extremely helpful to me at the time, just taking those few minutes to breathe and picture in my mind all of this energy flowing back to me, instead of away from me, just for a few breaths.
3. Live in the present. Yes, this is easier said than done, but remember that all fears and worries are attached to the past or the future. What did happen, or what might happen. One of the easiest ways to be fully is present is to be aware of your sensory perception. Tastes, smells, sounds, feelings. A quick way to do this is to notice the feeling of life in your hands, or if you are eating or drinking something let yourself really be aware of the taste, the feel of it in your mouth. What sounds can you hear? What colors are in your surroundings? Along with the breath and centering, this tool can be used very quickly to bring oneself into the present moment.
The storms we feel arising within are our bodies way of getting us to pay attention. We each have complete control over our own internal weather and with the right tools we can make the choice to return a stormy sea into a calming cup of tea!
Here’s to sunshine in the house,