Sometimes the best way to quiet my mind is to listen to it. When something happens that really tweaks my fear-brain and my emotions start to run wild, I know that my first order of business is not to follow my fear’s plan (her plans are always trouble) but to calm down. To calm down by quieting my mind. I take deep breaths, I feel my feet on the ground, and the tension starts to ease a bit. If I leave it at that, my mind will likely circle back to this same concern throughout my day and give me a gut shot just to make sure I haven’t forgotten that this thing is really a major, vital, serious concern.

My mind can be territorial, like a dog with a bone. “I have the answers!” she growls at me between gnashing her teeth on the bone. She’s chocolate brown, with lavender skin encircling her big yellow eyes. Her prominent brow furrows as she glares at me. “Listen UP! You are in TROUBLE!”

Her coat is sleek and shiny, her canines formidable and she seems so sure of herself that at first, I don’t even notice I’ve stopped breathing.

Eventually, I have to take a breath and this blessed need brings me back to myself. I wasn’t sure who I was for a moment there, but now I can feel that I am not solely my mind. She is simply a part of me that is very upset right now and wants very much to be my decision-maker. That bone she’s gnawing on is the object of her fear.

She growls threateningly and resumes listing off the reasons why her fear is justified. I feel myself being convinced by her, feel the discomfort of believing her as my gut twists in knots. Another breath.

I realize that I’m going to need to get that bone from her. I take a deep breath to gather my courage. The feeling of my lungs filling with air gives me the strength to be patient. I take another breath and I understand that I need to be gentle.

I lower myself to the floor, about six feet away from her and sit with my legs crossed. My ankles and my sit bones press into the hard wooden floor. She rolls her eyes warily at me. I look at her softly. She is me and yet I am here, sitting, while she is there, gnawing that bone.

I make no move to take the bone away from her. I begin to listen, in earnest, to her concerns. I continue to feel my hard bones pressing my flesh to the floor and I listen. I don’t argue. I don’t agree. I don’t disagree. I simply listen and know that I am part of a larger whole whose wisdom and grace brings unexpected solutions. She sighs and her brow softens.

As I continue to listen from my vantage of wholeness, I feel my center anchor more firmly in my body. I’m more aware of my physical self and the sensations of my entire body. The area around my heart feels expansive and warm, vibrating as my chest rises and falls with my easy breath.

She leaves her bone and comes to me, laying her head in my lap. I stroke her ears, delighted by the feel of her soft, smooth coat and the blinking of her eyes as she accepts my comfort. I see a walk in our future.

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