Fully Loaded | Emily Hightower

Issue #17

 

12 times, she explained, exhaling smoke into the wind away from my face. That’s how many relapses with heroine she’d been through. She snuffed out her cigarette in the dirt and put the butt it in the pocket of her jean shorts. She picked up her pink compound bow with a wink and we walked over to the shooting line. I watched her load up a few arrows and loose them right into the kill zone of the target. She learned quickly, paid attention well, and was safe with a bow. That is to say, dangerously accurate.

Next to her on the line was a woman who was in her second round of recovery. Her energy was completely different. Frail and unsure of herself she filled gaps in any conversation with nervous laughter, oversharing, and questions you had the feeling she didn’t really care to hear the answers to. This was her third archery breathwork session with me. I was bringing her some arrows without letting her shoot on her own yet. Something didn’t feel stable.

After a few guided rounds through the shot process and breathing exercises, she said she was ready to give it a ‘go’. She breathed. Took her stance. Nocked her arrow and set her release. She took three more self-conscious breaths then drew back the bow. At full draw she started looking around excitedly instead of taking clear aim. She started to turn her body with the weaponized bow around to say something to the group. I was right next to her so she only got a few degrees off target. I quickly and firmly said

YOU ARE FULLY LOADED! PAY ATTENTION and TURN TO TARGET

She reactively pulled the trigger releasing an arrow off target that burrowed loud and deep into a board nearby. The ponies whinnied. She was stunned. Her body started shaking off the stress of the explosion, and she fell silent for the first time. I found her eyes, smiled and coregulated with a few long nasal breaths and asked her to ground with me. Then we took a slow walk to get her broken arrow.

The moment was perfect. 

There had been no moment like this yet in her recovery process. The bow gave her a chance to feel a consequence connected to her nervous system. She realized the phrase “YOU ARE FULLY LOADED” when out of control landed as an obvious connection to her experience abusing substances. She’d been fully loaded driving her kid home from school, at work, in relationships that didn’t have clear aim. She had spent her life taking risks without being fully present; caring more about the next hit (of attention, drugs, excitement) than of her own health. She hurt herself and others along the way. The power of the bow showed her how she has patterned her nervous system to dissociate during excitement. To deny responsibility. To look for a way out.

I asked her what her body felt like when she was at full draw turning away from target.

Dissociated. Nervous, Excited. Buzzed. Spaced out.

When you read that state in any situation, that’s your cue that you’re in the Fully Loaded pattern. It’s your cue to breathe and ground yourself in the moment before taking action. Let’s use the bow to practice moving through the old pattern to take calm ownership of yourself, for yourself.

But can you keep me safe? 

No. Only you can do that. I’ll be right here to help you go step by step, but it’s not safe, it’s a weapon. You just learned that. And it doesn’t care about you, so you must. 

Understandably she didn’t want to shoot again. But that’s exactly what recovery of any kind is. Stepping back up to the line to learn from your past without dragging the shame of mistakes into the next shot.

This is your chance. Do you want to recover from that last shot, from the last relapse? Take a stand. Breathe. Do the shot process at your own pace and if you lose focus, start calmly over. There is no pressure. You have complete control over this experience.

She read, regulated, and reinforced calm attention on that draw and dozens after for the next full hour. She dropped into her practice. It was beautiful. She remade herself; grounded, calm, and quietly confident. 

The 12 time recovery gal came by to walk arm in arm with her as they left the range. It’s not about how many times you go through something, or how many lost arrows of words, deeds, or weapons you flung in your past. It’s about finding your practice to claim power back in the enduring process of recovery. Stability is trainable.

This work was pre-COVID at 4 Winds Farm and informed by the process I co-created with my archery mentor through Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities to train self regulation skills in multi day archery breathwork retreats for combat veterans.

 

Give and Take | Emily Hightower

Issue #15

If someone says “hi” to you, you say “hi” back. To not do that would be rude. But why? We’re socially wired to reciprocate. There’s a stress response called Tend and Befriend where we curate relationships based on anything we have in common in exchange for tribal safety in numbers. If you’ve ever been in a new group environment you can witness yourself adjusting your style of speech and body language to fit in. It’s a subconscious response in our wiring. The more secure we are in ourselves, the less this nervous system response kicks in. It takes stability to be authentic. 

Our need to reciprocate works against us in the Attention Economy where this biological drive to connect makes us spend our time (ourselves) to repay attention in an unfair exchange that can cost us our stability. 

What’s unfair about it? 

When someone says “hi” to you passing by on the street it takes the same energy to say “hi” back. Compare that to how much energy it takes you to ‘like’ something on social media. You can ‘like’ something without even reading the content. Just a tiny touch of the screen and you’ve made a mark. How that mark is received is not energetically equal for most. Most of us put a higher value on ‘likes’ than they deserve. We spend our premium, sacred time and attention trying to get more of these little marks that require very little investment from the other people involved. 

This is true of comments as well. It takes very little energy for someone to spew their opinion in response to your post; much less time than it probably took you to make that post. The need to reciprocate to all comments can rob you of energy and set expectations about how you will respond in the future. A circle of call and response takes over that might not match the actual budget you have for giving attention to what you truly care about. 

This is not to say valuable exchanges cannot come from social media! I’ve met some of my favorite teachers and SH//FT members through those thoughtful exchanges.

When someone texts you, the biological desire to reciprocate clicks in immediately. If you have notifications turned on, you’ll be notified of the message no matter what you are doing. To not respond requires going against your biology. To respond immediately means switching attention from whatever you were actually doing which can include everything from cooking, being with your kids, and even driving. (I’m guilty of all) This type of switching adds up throughout the day. Scattering attention to reciprocate texts, emails, snapchats etc. weakens your presence and drains you attention reserve for real-time experiences. 

One way to work with this drive in your favor is to batch how you spend yourself. Batch windows of time when you’ll respond to your notifications and audit the amount of energy you’re willing to engage with in things like comments on social media from a more stable, aware place.

When we give from a place of stability, we get stability in exchange. When we give from a place of need, we get needy.  

In Time,

Emily Hightower

Army of Darkness | Brian MacKenzie

Issue #14

This last week I spent three days at Pelican Bay State Prison. As some may know, I have spent some time in prisons and correctional facilities for the last several years. This started with running an Art of Breath Program at San Quentin State Prison for six months until everything was stopped when COVID hit. Pelican Bay is in the absolute middle of nowhere and is one of, if not the most, secure prisons in the country. It houses the SHU (security housing unit) an isolation-based housing unit designed to keep the individual segregated from everyone else. Google images and videos if you care to see them. Pelican Bay is a Level 4 prison where at one time the worst of the worst went. It was the end of the road (you were never leaving). 

In my week-long adventure I experienced some of the deeper, darker aspects of human beings which did not come from the prisoners or the Correctional Officers/Staff at the prison. The prisoners and staff were a different experience of possibility and growth. Crazy to state this about prison like this! What I experienced that was darker was the large number of human beings who have decided to care or not to care about this population or the prison system. 

Let me articulate this in a way that helps anyone who cares to read this to understand where I am coming from. 

Many of us have made decisions about how we feel about most issues or many of the ‘systems’ in place through gathering information from media, the internet, and even social media. So, we end up planting a flag in an issue because so and so (a person I trust) feels a specific way and has gathered said information about a subject that I trust. They align with our feelings, and this is a very natural phenomenon that is rooted in our survival instincts. It’s why we didn’t eat poisonous shit or fight a bear. Someone learned a lesson for us, and we survived. 

Society has made leaps and bounds towards making us safer and life incredibly convenient for everyone, from disease to food, to transportation, and on and on. With that security we have been allowed to care more about a lot of other stuff. So we spend our time gathering information from others while learning who we like more and like less. One side does this. Well, I do that. We all get it. Critical thinking has little to do with this process, as we assume that the information we are fed is the truth on almost every occasion.

The truth is interesting because it is rarely seen but often felt. To understand the truth for ourselves, we have to learn to work on ourselves. When we work on ourselves, we see many of the insecurities and issues we’ve avoided or protected ourselves from. It is a process that involves deep reflection and an ability to understand why we react instead of respond. The search for the truth is rooted in the foundation of science, and I will paraphrase William Briggs on this. The truth implies there is an uncertainty to something as we can not be uncertain of nothing. Therefore, we are uncertain of something, and if there is some thing, there must be truth. I know it is a mouthful; however, this is where truth exists, in our conscious understanding that there must be more to this.  

Our consciousness is the ability to seek out this truth and our ability to be aware of more. The last decade or so of work has made one thing very clear about our polarized world. On one side or the other, the common theme is that the other side isn’t thinking clearly, and how could they come to these conclusions? It is my awareness that is better than your awareness ‘thing.’ Never realizing the algorithms in front of me are not the same in front of you, feeding our misunderstood feelings. It is entertaining to watch most of the time, albeit a sad show. 

So here is how this fits with prisons or any issue if you feel like inserting it. On the right, we’ve got people who think that prison reform is asinine and that many people should be locked up and we should throw away the key (this is the end); on the left, we have people who want to shut down all prisons and let as many people out as possible (this is the extreme other end). There are a lot of opinions and information that swirl on either end of this as to the why, but by and large, I’ve come to understand that the lack of understanding has created the most noise in these halls of dissonance. Big money fuels feelings. The siding up on issues – like prison reform in this case – shows who cares and who does not but is equally vocal. It is without fail where uncontrolled emotion (reaction) to an issue show’s how deeply someone has taken the time to understand their insecurities. Why do ‘the work’ when my feelings can be validated through my choice of information portal (insert media, internet, social media)? It’s the equivalent of having a drink every night to calm down, except this is literally ‘killing you by you’ without any chemical or toxin necessary. It is clear as day for those who seek the truth. 

Some of the most polarizing issues we have today have a token representative for the cause that usually self-identify with either having something ‘wrong’ with them or with humanity and that they have the answer. I’ve sat on this soap box of cynicism and self-defeating behavior. There was never anything wrong with me, nor is there anything wrong with you. I was only being fed that through whichever stream validated my opinion, which stems from my feelings. We are all afraid when we cannot understand. Understanding requires us to go through something, not gather information, for the sake of knowledge. 

I am not writing this to convince you of prison reform, which I have mixed feelings on. I am not interested in your opinion of the issues you care about, nor do I want you to care about my opinion of any problem I care about. I, however, do care about how you care about yourself. When we begin to care about ourselves, we look at others in the same light. Until then, we can never know how dark we are, thinking we only stand for what’s right. 

SH//FT Health is built on this and your exploration of the truth. We begin February 18, and we hope to see you there!

Projected Mirrors | Brian MacKenzie

Issue #12

Most of us have heard the term we are mirrors of each other. Although I believed I understood this analogy most of my adult life, it has come into a new light and understanding for me.

I’ll start with what I thought I understood.

When I would think of people as mirrors, I was under the impression that the behaviors I did or did not like in others reflected my behavior(s). Similarly, the behaviors I picked up from my parents, siblings, and even friends were a manifestation of this paradigm of mirroring. While none of this is wrong or incorrect, I’ve come to understand this process is more in line with attachments and patterns we mimic. Still, a very natural process, and nothing is wrong as we all live this process out.

I have been curious about most of the human experience my entire life. Most who choose to read this stuff probably understand that I went towards this human experience through the physical and human performance side.

Almost 25 years ago, a light bulb came on that was the first actual event horizon in my life outside of being born; I was 23. I began to rethink my decisions; I began to look at the people I chose to associate with. I began to educate myself. I started to ask others for help with understanding life. I began to ask critical questions. I figuratively, and in some cases, literally died and went in the opposite direction of everything I knew and understood.

This process has defined the last 25 years of my life, career, and path. I learned to think critically at a time when most of my peers were still reinforcing a lifestyle and habits that would come to haunt most of them. That’s not to say I was the beacon of decision-making, as I am still working on that.

This path has led me to many interesting and brilliant people. I have been fortunate beyond my ability to make sense of with these relationships and the ability to learn from so many of these people who have quite literally changed the arc of many of the industries they exist in. Learning from many of them is where many of my ideas come from and this is precisely where the mirror changed for me.

The mirror is much more straightforward than behavior and is not relegated only to people. However, it can still involve our behavior. It is in our emotions, and the reflection is my emotion. Our emotions are the accumulation of feelings drawn from our senses (all 8 of them). This filtering is the work of our nervous system and many of the physiological processes involved in this. However, when we were children, we could not filter those feelings as our pre-frontal cortexes weren’t entirely online until 24 or 25 years old. This is why, as children, we developed patterns of emotions to feelings; we lacked the logic to solve the feeling of discomfort.

Fast forward to being an adult -> “this is who I am.”

Only when we can logically look at something can we learn to process or begin to understand it. The cure for anything is understanding, yet how many of us want to go through something to understand it? I know I’ve kicked and screamed… there’s that mirror.

It is not a coincidence that with the equivalent of more than 100 newspapers of information being thrown at us every day, an educational system predicated on the memorization of data (no real skill), 100 podcasts for every subject and hack, and everyone and everything telling us what is important and how to think that we’ve deemed mental health its own sub-unit of health. 

If just a fraction of the above we were to engage in, who in their right mind would ever want to go through anything to understand it? Why do that when I feel like I am getting all the information I need from an influencer, professor, podcaster, scientist, or expert extraordinaire? Why would I get off the couch from the news? Why would I not scroll infinitely through the Gram? Why would I not pick a side to stand for? Because it requires more energy than I have. Now that I’ve given my attention to all of this, I believe I understand. The emotion remains as anger, sadness, and fear. The mirror shows me where the anger, sadness, depression, and anxiety are still inside me. Because whatever I am choosing is not changing this stuff.

It’s not all bad. How many get the mirror of love, happiness, and joy? We all do at times! But, unfortunately, life is difficult regardless of who you are; that has been my experience traveling the world. No amount of wealth or fame saves you from this. I’ve seen it first hand, and in fact, in most cases makes it even harder to understand any of this as we can so easily insulate ourselves with excitement and convenience.

Equality and freedom are in that mirror and it’s there when and where I want to experience it. It’s in how I recover after a workout or during it. It is how I handle not knowing how to communicate or hearing something that doesn’t feel good. It is in my practice every time I am willing to experience it.

We are about to enter a new SH//FT in discussing Health. If you’ve been paying attention to these emails or any of our information, you know this is coming. Our programming for membership and our offerings are about this evolution.

We are looking forward to engaging more with you all,

Brian MacKenzie

 

Embrace The Dark | Emily Hightower

Issue #11

This week’s Solstice is an undeniable bookmark in the seasons. It’s a holiday that doesn’t require any stories or religions to understand. We’re in the darkest week of the year with the 21st being the longest night. Every living thing in the North knows it’s time to hunker down. Except us.

We keep the lights on and the cities humming! We fight the dark with pills to give us energy and calendars to keep us ‘on schedule’. Meanwhile we miss an opportunity to go with the dark, and in the dark there is power.

Darkness gives everything a chance to go inward; to slow down, be more silent, and tune in to our real needs. All of nature aligns with this strategy. What grows and survives in the spring belongs. If we don’t take time to tune into the darkness we risk investing in and growing things (ideas, behaviors, relationship patterns) that do not belong anymore in our lives. Rest and reflection is vital to create awareness and balance.

The work of Dr. Thomas Wehr challenged everything about our beginnings into the avoidance of the dark in the 1990’s. In his study after 3-weeks of removing all artificial light people returned to what we thought was lost or did not exist; a type of sleep that must have only existed during our paleolithic times. A deep reset into our biology, something we seek now through various interventions.

Our Hightower family marks the Winter Solstice with friends at a ranch nearby where our buddy collects enormous piles of deadfall all year just for the occasion. He’ll make a bonfire as big as a house. Dogs and kids will play in the snow around adults and elders and tables of food. No one can stop themselves from casually adding logs (and trees) to the fire. As it grows beyond reason, the contrast expands between the blaze and the dark winter night in every direction around us.

If people want they write down something on paper for the Solstice fire to take to the winds; as if burning it will digest it into form. But there’s no formal ceremony or rules to follow here. People just naturally start burning things, including ideas, emotions, habits, regrets. Some use the fire to mark what they are letting go of, some to claim what they’ll grow in the spring cycle.

We encourage you if you haven’t already to go inward this week. Start by noticing your artificial lights. If you dare, use candles and fire at night and let go of the screen time especially before bed. Be bored like the seeds hibernating in the soil right now. You might get tired sooner, wake up more rested. In the morning, let the dawn light come when it’s ready instead of rushing it in with screens and houselights. Be with the natural darkness and tune into yourself. Breathe. The morning darkness is an especially sacred time to reflect and write.

What would you like to ‘burn’ and let go of when you sit with the shadows? How would that make more space in your life?

What would you like to focus on and build with the coming lighter days?

No matter what your process is these shifts come through our nervous system. If you can pause and be with the dark long enough to listen your body will show you what it needs and wisdom percolates through. Being in deep states of meditation, sleep, or Yoga Nidra can facilitate these connections without words. Just trust your body, give it the dark inward time it craves. Allow what you choose to keep with you to grow slowly and surely with the coming light.

Enjoy Your SOLSTICE and HOLIDAYS!

Emily and Brian

On Discipline | Brian MacKenzie

Issue #10

This paradigm of health is entertaining if you look at how we have made it exactly that; a model. We have allowed ourselves to conveniently develop a model for something with no path. This has ultimately fed into our control issues of trying to inform folks about right and wrong. Run, lift, stretch, walk, stand, don’t sit too long, eat this way, eat that way.

I have invested considerable time in physical practice and breath practice for my exploration. This has given me a lot of understanding of how I spend my time. In deconstructing the last 25 years of my life dedicated to this, I could fall under the illusion that had I made better decisions earlier, it wouldn’t have taken me as long to get to where I am.

“Do more. Go longer. Be better. Why are they interrupting me. Don’t they know I’m working here?”

Normal right? Pretty much.

It’s funny that we think changing our behavior makes us healthy when the only truth is when we are healthy, our behavior changes. Tail wagging the dog, or dog wagging the tail?

What does health look like? Is it being shredded? Is it constantly looking in the mirror, taking selfies, or wondering if I’ve put on excess weight? Is it questioning the food I am putting in my mouth or “working out” to burn off that food I put in my mouth? Does any of this read healthy?

When I think about health, it looks or feels more like that person who’s smiling, invested in their lifestyle, glows when they enter the room and doesn’t worry about what they eat or when things don’t go their way. They don’t need to set a record in the gym or don’t have to run to feel good about themselves. They are active because they love it, not because they need to look a certain way. We all get glimpses of this.

The confusion arises amidst the reversal of actions and a need to fill something that feels missing.

Changing behavior without understanding the root issue is a cozened handshake with that devil. Unfortunately, this has been one of the issues inside the mental health space since it was decided to be a separate issue from health; we’ve got a new model to sell. Mental health is health, but health is not something we attain; it is an actual behavior. And this is where that devil begins to sing…

I described above a version of what is called high-functioning anxiety. If you look around enough, you’ll learn that any control issues fit some psychological assessment. Therefore, they are mainly irrelevant unless, of course, you’d like to live there.

In one door, you have the choice of disciplining your behavior. You will change and grow many things through this process. However, the root problem will always exist, and all attachments you have must be constantly repeated and controlled to avoid the other door.

The other door is a gateway to accepting your decisions and uncovering why you believe you need to change your behavior. It is a path to accepting the decisions you have made in your life, learning to listen to what you need, and getting to the root of what drives you.  This door also gives you every piece of what you believed the other door would without the repetitious attachments hiding that truth.

If I need to discipline myself to a new “healthy behavior pattern,” let us first consider discipline’s definition: the controlled behavior resulting from discipline. Or, to train (someone) to obey rules or a code of conduct, using punishment to correct disobedience. “I’m a bad man!”

Discipline eludes to learning a process of behavioral control, which makes a lot more sense for us culturally, right?

Once again: if you look around enough, you‘ll learn that any control issues fit some psychological assessment. From an over-simplified physiological view, applying discipline to behavior is using the dopamine and adrenaline lever to mobilize energy to make us feel productive while reinforcing those patterns (via the nervous system). It feels so good! I can now check the box off.

Needing a disciplined lifestyle to be healthy only keeps us busy avoiding the truth, and being busy and being disciplined are not actual skills. If you look deep enough, you have become highly skilled at many things without the thought of discipline, simply a passionate drive. The irony is either path myelinates that nervous system and our habits.

The hard part about the health space is that the term and ‘behavior’ and ‘discipline’ are so pervasive that they have become synonymous with skill, so I invite you to pay attention to when professional athletes retire and how difficult that process is for a large majority of them. Or most people who retire from something. How about winning the lottery?

We’ve been sold on the concept of luxury, popularity, safety, of convenience and that there is no consequence for any of it… All this is for our natural beauty and health. Yet, that little devil is anywhere I can sense, and I can choose to feel it or protect myself from it by avoiding the truth.

Until Next Time,

Brian

Protocol vs. Practice | Brian MacKenzie

Issue #2

If you read my last post, I went through the stress response and how I am no stranger to it. I also suggested a few tools I use during more “busy” times when I may feel a little more on edge; I’m sure you know what that feels like when our life-management resources get tapped out.

Today I want to focus on the response part of the stress response, and for a particular reason.

Day to day, I work with people, professional athletes, CEOs, and high-profile individuals to keep their cool and not flip their lids during times of very high stress. Of course, this is much easier said than done, as trying to change high-stress responses is an art requiring an entry point of less significant stressors. For example, I’ve watched folks at the top of the food chain yell profanities into the phone when a deal doesn’t go their way, and believe this is just how they respond to things like this. Imagine how this follows them into their everyday life, and it does.

I teach clients how to recognize this heightened response, then, through practice, we begin to change the answer; sometimes, by using the very same techniques I use myself, the most tangible of these is breath control.

A Protocol versus A Practice:

A breath protocol, as simple as breathing seems, impacts our entire being far more profound than you can imagine, only when adopted as a regular practice. Let me explain why this is so important:

Following a breathing protocol once or twice weekly will remind you to take a breath every so often. This is a great tool when faced with a challenging situation; when you feel the fire inside rising (aka about to flip your lid, or maybe you have already flipped your lid).

A practice, however, is specifically carved out time in your day when you get to be fully present… when we get to pay attention to the things that are so easily ignored; like how that person made us feel yesterday or why we reacted to our kid the way we did.

Our brains only learn through repetition. And if we mention neuroplasticity in any of this, it has to do with repeating an action to understand it truly. Practice brings a greater possibility of awareness, which is limitless. And as my friend Mickey Schuch, always says, “Awareness is the currency with which you buy time.”

Having a practice made me laugh this past week when I arrived an hour before my flight to the wrong airport.

It wasn’t until I got to security and scanned my boarding pass did the TSA help me realize I should have been over an hour south at another airport.

PAUSE… Now, if I were me from 5 years ago, I would have flipped the f*k out. You could bet I would have sworn a lot and thrown an adult tantrum (drama). Instead… I laughed. I even surprised myself.

The problem is in the eye of the perceiver.

This is the importance of having a practice. I wasn’t even bothered by this situation for the rest of the day due to the practices I have put into my life. I rescheduled my flight without skipping a beat and drove to the correct airport. This impacted my day further as well, as I now had to figure out dinner in a location that didn’t have many options, and my bedtime would be pushed back too. Anyone who knows me knows sleep is boundary number 1.

Flipping out has a host of other physiological consequences on the body. For example, it’s one of the reasons why stressed-out business folks can get diagnosed with autoimmune diseases like type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, poor patterns of behavior transcend dis-ease in many of our cases.

Will there be a point in your day that you can laugh instead of losing your shit?

If you need the reminder or the push to start your practice:

Go HERE and use the Breath calculator on the SHI//FT website.
Follow the chart to Cadence or Apnea breathing, plug in the number, and come up with your own breathing protocol that you can start today.
Find a time in your day that is uninterrupted and spend 10 minutes simply following the pattern as see where this goes after a few weeks.

Only those ready to up-level will make the time for practice. And, I believe anyone is capable of this. I did. If you think you need it, you can schedule a one-on-one consult with me here, and I will help you figure this out.

Yours Truly,

– Brian

Travel Stress, Screens, and Balance | Brian MacKenzie

ISSUE #1

Being on the road teaching for the last few weeks has been a refreshing experience and a sobering reminder of what allostatic load means.

I’ve traveled for work for more than 15 years, and still, when I return home, I too often jump back into my routine far too quickly. As a result, it’s easy for me to forget the impacts travel and working abroad have on me.

And yet these actions of “getting back to it” are all part of a stress response – a presentation I’ve done probably a dozen times in the last few months.

The stress response (as Gabor Mate outlines in “When the Body says No”) is a 3 part process: it starts with the stimulus, then moves to the nervous system’s action, followed by a physiological response and resulting behavior(s). In its simplest form, a stress response is perceived as a threat or desire for safety.

However, in the complex process of being human or human being, the stress response in the case of my travel can be seen in how much time I spend in front of a screen when seated in a chair traveling across the country at 30,000ft, for 4 hours. Or the toughest one, getting to a vacation spot and not being able to relax. I’ve experienced both.

To be human is to accept the machinery that we are. The ‘being’ part is tricky because we are often caught up in pursuing things as ways to fit in or fit back into…, and the notion of getting back to my routine ASAP fits perfectly into this paradigm.

Stress has an interesting way of creeping into my process. Most of the time, I am acutely aware of the load I take on because it is a routine; it’s habitual. Add to it maneuvering an airport, sitting longer than regular periods on planes where it is tough to stay hydrated and remain nutritionally adequate. So I now have to be extra vigilant.

I bet you all know what I’m talking about when we bring up screen time, causing a stress response. Take Instagram, for example. When we see something we don’t like (stress), there is an emotion and hormone (reaction), and this is sometimes repeated 5, 10, 20, or 100 times a day. I know I’ve caught myself more times than I’d care to admit scrolling the infinite loop of social media… and becoming reactive to it!

I still fall off the ‘being’ part pretty hard.

Does it pay off when I am dialed in and acutely aware of these stressors? – YES, giving me a straightforward approach back to my daily routine.

Fortunately, I’ve got a few tools to help:
– I’ll take a short walk
– do a little yoga
– or simply backing down during training to a Gear 1, or easier Gear 2 (Breathing Gears)

If you can relate to this, I hope these tools can help show you the road to more awareness, just as they have helped me. I am not getting younger, so it seems to be required more often than a few years ago… And I love every part of the process.

Stay aware,

Brian

PS. If you have signed up for our Mentorship, we cover this in the group calls. If you haven’t and are interested in the next sign up date, you can click here to learn more and sign up to be the first to know.