So what are superpowers? Well, duh, its stuff like being able to fly, being so strong you can do anything, extreme flexibility, invisibility, breathing fire, having blades in your fingers…or is it? I mean, who has those things anyway? Certainly not anyone I’ve ever met. In the not too distant past, superpowers meant characteristics and or skills that leaders incorporated. There are some people who can command a room with their presence. Is it the way they carry themselves, their demeanor, the way they dress or just their air of confidence? Yes to most of those things, but does that make them super powerful or just seem that way? In the past several months I have come to understand superpowers in another way.
Superpowers, in my new mindset, means having the ability to understand, and thus control, oneself and the ability to create ones life, a life of dreams. It seems obvious that one can control oneself, but look around you, look deeply into you…who actually does that? Who do you know that really, truly controls themselves, their environment, their life, and is happy? I only know a few people who have pretty much everything they want, live a life of dreams and are content in their life. I cannot say if they were deliberate creators. Now having superpowers doesn’t mean you’ll never have a bad day again. Nor does it mean you’ll live happy every after, never hurt yourself or get ill. Having superpowers means you have the ability, you have the know how, to use your emotions as guideposts in your day, your week, your month… your life. And using those emotions to point you in the direction of your dreams.
So, how does that work? Emotions are so, well, dramatic are they not? Not necessarily. Emotions are energy; thoughts that entered the body, got labeled as good or bad and then ran amuck in the body creating mental and physical reactions. Let’s consider the driver who cut you off on your way to work. You were on your way to the work you don’t want to go to anyway, and because your child was dragging his feet, you got started late and now you’re in a hurry. Being in a hurry, you already feel tense, even though you slept pretty well last night. You have a nagging sciatica that isn’t bothering you today. Then some driver cuts you off and you react. You slam on breaks, spill your coffee, emit some expletive from your mouth and suddenly your leg starts to hurt. Your body is awash in cortisol, epinephrine and norepinepherine, in other words, the stress response is now running on overdrive. (pun intended) And that is a great example of how emotions create pain. Now consider coming home from your hectic day and as you walk in the door, tired from your day, you find the house is neat, spotless, feels warm and homey, smelling of fresh baked bread, and a delicious looking dinner is cooking. The table is set. Your spouse says you’re getting a massage after dinner and a hot bath. Suddenly you feel such deep gratitude that a few tears run down your face. The emotions of love and gratitude flood your body and your shoulders melt down your back as the tension of the day falls away. You feel appreciated, respected and heard. The leg pain just disappears. Sitting at dinner isn’t painful at all. You avoid talking about your no good, very bad day because even thinking about it brings tension back into your body. So, you embrace the evening. An example of how emotions soften and even eliminate pain.
These are two simple examples of how what shows up for us stimulates emotions and physical reactions. The morning is also example of how when we are stressed, things get worse. Our thoughts create. Mind-Body medicine helps put you in touch with your thoughts by teaching you how to slow down the mind so you can actually notice the thoughts. Once you are noticing them, you have the choice to focus on them or let them move along. You can even deliberately bring in thoughts that calm you or make you happy. Mind-Body medicine also helps you identify your emotions, notice what those emotions are doing to you or for you…physically, mentally and gives your some skills to move through the emotions. Your emotions are your superpowers!
When you have the ability to control your emotions, to choose the ones you want to keep in your life and know how to process the ones that don’t feel very good…that’s a Superpower!
Upcoming Mind-Body Medicine class….
Tuesdays December 3, 2019- February 4, 2020. (No class dec 24, 31.)