My dog, Max, can be an asshat.
Max is relentless if he senses anything edible in the air.
He knows how to knock over trash cans, nose his way into my closet, pull my bag off a ledge...
I come home and find bathroom trash strewn about, all the protein bars and gum in my bag eaten, and underwear missing the crotch (because he is a dog).
UGH! I get so angry and annoyed!
I want him to be different! I don't want to be inconvenienced by closing doors or putting my laundry away or putting my bag up on a higher ledge. THAT IS SO ANNOYING!
But, once again, he is a dog.
He is doing the thing he is wired to do.
Not because he is trying to piss me off. Not because I don't feed him enough. Not because I don't give him enough attention. Not because of anything other than He. Is. A. Dog.
"Ah yes," you might be thinking, "I get that. He is a dog."
To expect otherwise is to walk head-on into suffering. PERIOD.
It is up to me to close doors tightly, put my bag up higher and offer compassion to both Max and myself in those moments where my humanity and his dog-ness collide.
But what about when it comes to people?
Should we expect something different than what we expect from a dog doing his dog-thing?
We like to tell ourselves we are entitled to expect someone to act differently than they do. In fact, we expect them to act the way we want them to act AND we believe it is reasonable to expect that.
Nope. It isn't. Sorry to break it to you. They might not be a dog, but they are Jim or Sarah or Yolanda. And they are simply acting in the Jim-way, Sarah-way or Yolanda-way that they are wired to act. Not because they are trying to piss you off (seriously). Not because you haven't given them enough attention (seriously). Not because of anything other than they are on their own path.
So how do you be with what is, when it is NOT what you want?
4-steps, my friend:
1. Name it. Out-loud. Let it exist. "I am so frustrated _____________________!"
2. Express whatever emotion is up for you around it, in a safe space, in a safe way, but THROUGH the vehicle of your body.
✨ Safe Space: Your bedroom, the bathroom, your car - somewhere that has a door that you can close.
✨ Safe Way: Scream, cry, shake your fists, stomp your feet. This is not directed AT the real dog or real person, but just into the room you are in.
3. Notice how it feels in your body to have done Steps 1. and 2. Without making any of this right or wrong or needing to take ANY other action.
4. Repeat, as often as necessary, until the big energy dissipates.
✨ This, my love, is BEING with! ✨
Next steps can include finding out what you need and meeting yourself there, or doing a thing that is supportive for you (like taking a bath).
It might include expressing what you are feeling to someone else, but it probably won't be the human you are feeling the emotion around. Just saying. That could totally come...but not when the emotion feels so raw.
For now, it is okay to simply acknowledge what IS and express the feelings that are up for you around it. Seriously.
With so much love for you, for our humanity and for the freedom that rises up as we learn to be,
How did this land for you? What resonated, what didn't? What you are thinking about right now? What questions do you have?
When you engage, that's when you move the needle on your own process - THAT is Exercising Your Soul!
Rachel Sartori is an Embodiment and Wholeness Coach. She is kick-ass and heart-centered whether she is showing up as a workshop/retreat facilitator, a private coach, a writer or a speaker. Rachel invites you to exercise your soul, and participate in the healing of your own heart and the world around you. With Rachel, all is welcome, all the time.
Read: Exercise Your Soul: Ignite Healing and Wholeness in your Life and Live from the Inside Out