Every week I hear from someone whose habitual reactions and protective defenses are creating havoc in their relationships. They are aware that these behaviors are adding stress to their relationships, but they don’t know how to respond and communicate differently.
Relationships allow us to share our love and enjoy companionship. However, this love also illuminates our fear and protective behaviors. The love of our friends and partners tap our wounds and hit up against our biggest hot buttons: ‘something is wrong with me’, or ‘I’m not loveable as I am’.
Law of Energy: Love brings up everything unlike itself!
Protective defenses arise in many different forms. Some people protect themselves by shutting down or isolating. Addictions become a coping mechanism. Others lash out with habitual blame and rage. While some people seethe in resentment and allow passive aggressive tendencies to take over; martyrdom, sarcasm, stubbornness, negative attitude, withholding, chronic tardiness and procrastination, to name a few.
If you deal with protective habits that interfere with your life and relationships…read on! This week I offer you the hunting practice of the Jaguar Stalker. Implement your inner hunter to hunt down protective reactions that disconnect you from you and your relationships.
A jaguar is a mighty hunter. When it is hungry its survival is at stake. It takes its time to get to know its prey—for instance, a deer. For the jaguar, right timing is everything-it is the difference between eating and going hungry. The predator methodically stalks the habits of the deer. The jaguar learns where the deer feeds, when it drinks and in which situations it is vulnerable. At dawn when the deer is drinking at the lake, not paying attention to its surroundings, the jaguar pounces in perfect timing.
Successful hunting takes awareness, cunning and patience.
Raising Your State requires these same stalking skills. You become like the Jaguar in order to stalk your reactions based in fear and pounce on your prey—the energy you expend in defensive reactions. Each time you react to life and relationships with defense, rather than respond from a grounded clear place, you bind up precious life force—you lose vital emotional energy needed to meet life in a healthy way. And, you do damage to your relationships!
Just notice how depleted you feel after you’ve had an angry outburst or fight with a partner or friend. Or, you’ve shut down completely. Protective defenses waste energy and erode trust and respect in your relationships.
The goal of becoming like the Jaguar stalker is to stalk your reactions and eventually erase the patterns of defense. Stalking is a method for switching off the internal auto pilot and taking over the controls. In this process you gain awareness as to why you are reacting, what you are hiding or protecting, and what beliefs fuel your defensiveness. You also get to Raise Your Inner State.
HERE ARE THE STEPS:
1. Awareness ~ Note your habitual protective behaviors–how you react when you aren’t feeling safe. Most likely you can identify what you do to protect yourself. (See some of the coping mechanisms mentioned above.)
Watch – Witness – Observe – Track
How do you recognize when you are going into fear? Does your breathing get shallow or your belly tighten? Do you talk louder or more rapidly? Do you feel you must escape? Or, do you lash out and attack someone, either sarcastically or directly?
Fear creates reactions. Love offers clear response.
2. Refrain ~ Make a commitment to yourself to refrain from your old typical reactions when they arise. Take space rather than use that knee-jerk reaction. ie. “When I feel that rage arise and I’m ready to lash out and blame, I’m going to stop and breathe and refrain from reaction. No more rage!” or “When I start to feel resentful, I’m going muster up the courage to communicate rather than live out my typical passive aggressive tendencies.” Be willing to be uncomfortable rather than repeat your same habitual auto-pilot reaction.
3. Inquire ~ Explore what your fear is about. This is the real work—taking an honest assessment of your behavior, motivation and beliefs. Choose to be with your vulnerability. What is threatened here? Are you defending your image and attempting to keep it intact? Is your ‘I’m not okay’ button being pushed? Are you losing control? Are you in fear of being replaced or rejected? What beliefs fuel your reactions—and are the really true and how can you know they are true?
4. Rewind ~ Take this wisdom you’ve discovered and commit to create a new strategy. Play out the same scene in which you reacted, yet with a new strategy. Feel into your body and emotions to discern the difference in reaction and response. Focus on responding from a truthful, grounded place. You’ll experience vulnerability, yet this strengthens you and brings greater intimacy into your relationships. Practice this so the next time reaction arises you can do it differently.
5. Patience ~ Exercise patience with this process. You didn’t develop this reaction overnight. You learned this coping mechanism to survive. You may even take three steps forward and one step back. Persevere and you can shift protective habits.
6. Remember ~ Committed to Raising Your State, you are expanding your heart power and decreasing fear-based operations. Offer compassion to yourself for always doing your best!
Re-gaining your energy through the stalking process strengthens your integrity and gives you emotional reserves to presence life and relationships in a kind way. Through this practice, you’ll reclaim energy to communicate clearly and bring harmony into your relationships.
Feed your Jaguar stalker the food it deserves–Love!