From Reactor to Creator

Photo by Britney Gill

Photo by Britney Gill

APRIL 11, 2015

Do you ever feel like you spend too much time putting out the proverbial fires of your life and not enough time creating and doing things you love, or enjoying all the amazing things that are happening around you?

After a blissful month of traveling with my family, I came home and dove head first back into the world of daily responsibilities and stress inducing to-do's. The contrast between my "traveling-gypsy" self and "at-home-business-woman-busy-mama" mode was stark, and I was struck by how different I felt now that I was back home. Of course, you're probably thinking, it's easy to understand why one would feel creative and free while on holiday and then feel crazy busy run down at home. But if I've learned anything over the years, it's that we can set the tone no matter what the circumstances, and I really want to infuse the space, clarity, and inspiration I feel when I'm traveling into my daily life, and I do believe it's possible!

As humans made of earth and sky, bodies and souls; we are wired to be both reactors and creators. Literally, our wiring, or nervous system, is like 2 wings connected by a see-saw. One wing, is the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which is the rest and digest response that takes over when you are in a relaxed state, able to contemplate, meditate and assimilate. It's the space from which we can dream and vision and have big ideas. The other wing, is the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), the fight or flight response that makes you want to quit things (flight) or blame other people (fight) when things don't go the way you want. It's also the part of you that will get shit done so to speak, the part that will get fired up for a good reason, and inspire passion and enthusiasm for change. When one is up, the other is down. The key is knowing when to move from one to the other. 

We need both, that's why we have both. This is not about being in a state of bliss where we'll never be triggered or stressed again, it's about creating balance and being intentional about where, inside ourselves, we spend our time. It goes without saying, that most of us spend so much time in fight or flight land, (reacting to what he said, worrying about what she'll think, dealing with short term crisis), that we forget there is another way to inhabit our bodies and our lives. 

In yoga, the nervous system is the medium through which the mind communicates with the body. That is to say, the nervous system respond's to what's on your mind, and carries it's message throughout the rest of the body. This means, that whatever you're thinking about, is being felt by your body and triggers one of two responses; react (stress hormones pump through blood, deal with crisis, let outside circumstances govern direction) or create (build immunity, intentional mood, long term projects). 

What's most interesting to me, is that the more we inhabit the creator part of ourselves, the less things we'll have to react to. That's because we are born creators, and it' where our true power lies.

Next time you feel yourself spending too much time spinning your wheels managing the conditions of your life, try shifting into a space of creation. Ask yourself a few key questions to help get you from Reactor to Creator:

1- How am I breathing? Breathe more slowly and deeply. If possible, move your body by stretching or dancing, or even just stand a little taller to wake your body up. 

2- Deathbed contemplation- At the end of my life, will the stress induced by this situation be worthy of my time, energy and life force?

3- What is the highest vision? In a perfect world, what would this situation/life area feel like? (this is not so you get attached to it looking that way, it's to give you clarity of direction so you can start moving the momentum closer to what you actually want).

4- How do I want to FEEL in this situation/area of my life? What is the feeling I most desire here?

Since choosing to infuse my holiday ease into my everyday, I've stressed less about answering every email on time, put less things on my to-do list every day, and have allowed myself to be happy for no reason. My vacation has become my vocation. And somehow, in a beautiful and paradoxical way, everything that needs to gets tended to, and life has given me more to be happy about than ever before.

Life is short. You get to choose how you want to experience it. Own your creative power. 

Chantal Russell