It takes a lot of courage to sit with what comes up.
Sit with what comes up. These five simple words strung together are some of the most powerful one can utter. Shared by Sue Cochrane, whose own courage stretched the bounds of the imaginable, this phrase captures what takes many of us years, if not a lifetime, to master.
It’s natural to fear, ignore, appease, deny, or escape from the innumerable thoughts our minds churn out and the spectrum of emotions that accompany them. This might look like:
• Cleaning or tidying
• Splurging or binging
• Sleeping more than usual
• Seeking distraction
• Being hypervigilant
• Engaging in negative self-talk
• Busying oneself with frivolous tasks
• Seeking reassurance
• Overeating or undereating
While this is often effective, even rewarding, in the short-term, the long-term consequences of such behaviors detract from our overall experience of joy, self-acceptance, and -agency, in addition to our relationships, our work, and our ability to respond appropriately in the face of perceived threat or danger.
By being with what comes up, we’re more attuned to:
• Our inner selves
• Our external reality
• Our choices
• Our unresolved trauma
• Our resilience
• Our surroundings
• Our needs
• Our love for ourselves
• Our love for others
• Our ability to be with uncertainty
While our increased proximity to our thoughts and feelings can cause initial discomfort, it also provides long-term stability and intelligence we rely on to navigate what lies ahead.
Practice being with what comes up this week. Challenge yourself to embrace your experience without writing a story about it. When you feel the urge to escape, ask yourself what you’re trying to flee from and experiment with using your five senses to stay present instead.
Remember that you are not your thoughts. You are simply the canvas on which they are painted.