annika’s spiral model – what can I do when things get difficult?

This is a proposal for dealing with difficult moments – murkiness, times when we lose our sense of self, purpose and orientation, or get irritated by what’s happening around us. How can we reconnect to our values and alive curiosity? Another way of describing this would be: how can we see past defensive or aggressive impulses and take better care of what it is that truly matters to us?

  1. trigger: a moment of intensity, struggle, discomfort – a frown, gasp of fear, sadness, anger, judgement, frustration – or a lack of presence and participation, a sense of tightness, blur, numbness or fading away.
  2. noticing: taking the time, creating a gap, clearing mental space – “no need to act or understand immediately” – what am I experiencing? what are the facets of this moment, what is coming up? is there any change I can make that would make me feel more comfortable? in all senses, things I’d locate ‘inside’ or ‘outside’ of me. breathing, sounds or movement might help (relaxing the shoulders, taking slow, deep breaths, humming – if the situation feels right for it, laying down on the floor, rocking, rolling, sounding, stretching).
  3. my multiverse: engaging with this dynamic ‘fully as mine’. i can and should do with / through it what is mine to do. both in the sense of not getting distracted by focusing on and blaming others, as well as by taking the liberty to really do what I think is needed and right: how is this all meaningful to and affecting me? it might be interesting to go back and notice the ‘trigger’ from this perspective.
    ~ go slow ~ this shift, and the gradual unfolding of noticing can be a very slow process and take a lot of time. many moments, diverse encounters.
  4. what’s below, driving this: what valuable aspects or sources of strength/delight are covered below the thing I “judge as unwanted / impossible to participate in”? can I relax this quality of trigger/struggle/”argh!”, and sense into this situation concerning the message it conveys in terms of “this is important to me!”? which quality is this experience inviting me to pay greater attention to, be more welcoming towards, stand in for with my behaviour, or go look for others who support and inspire me in this regard?
  5. this is what matters to me, here, now: once there is greater clarity / moments of opening, consciously acknowledge that this is what is central for me (here and now). this is my experience and perspective of this situation. i will use my voice, brains, bodies and whatnot in service of this. i will not get distracted by something else (e.g. telling others how they are wrong and attempting to correct their actions; or, pretending nothing happened, numbing my self so as to fit in).
  6. creative ideas, new paths: do emerge, with time spent in this attitude. let the process do its work, too. practice rest and patience.
  7. offer to others: notice and create opportunities to invite others into this process. by sharing experience, listening to others with an understanding for what matters or is difficult to me, setting up a moment to explore or exchange in a group about the topic or situation at hand.