Last week my project was to redesign the back room at the studio. It used to be storage room, but I envisioned transforming it into a treatment room for self care. A cozy place for me to do my Thai Yoga Massage and for my beloved friend Hannah to offer #acupuncture.
I quickly dubbed the room "The Zen Den." My friend Amy helped me gut the room, donating all the old furniture to an organization the furnishes housing to get homeless people on their feet. My daughter Addison helped me freshen up the space with a new coat of paint. A vision in mind, I headed to Ikea to get some furniture to complete the transformation.
I found the perfect pieces of furniture and was excited to assemble and get the Zen Den open for business. Now I don't know if you have every put together Ikea furniture, but it can sometimes feel like rocket science. There are absolutely no words, just pictures and a cartoon looking guy who just points to things. I have put together a few ikea things in my life and always screw it up, put something together backwards, normally always ending frustrated.
So I was surprised to cruise through the first few pages with no issues. Finally I reached a page that stumped me. I could not for the life of me figure it out. I quickly realized that I was missing a piece!!!!! "OMG...Ikea are you serious." "How could you do this to me" I naturally got angry, placing the blame on Ikea as we often do when we are frustrated or something isn't going our way. You should know that is the design of our brains, our primitive system highjacks us and we can't connect to logic or reason. Our brain is just trying to protect us from harm, but in our modern day life it makes it hard sometimes to find a quick and peaceful resolution.
So here I was disconnect, brain highjacked, frustrated, body temp increasing, getting nowhere. So I thought "you know what maybe I can keep putting it together." I jumped ahead to the next few pages and holy bookshelf batman did it hit the fan, cause not only was I missing one piece, but it appeared I was missing 6. "LIKE....W....T....F?" All hell broke loose in my mind, my reactivity in overdrive, my anger at Ikea was huge as you can imagine at this point.
This is where our #yoga practice really comes in handy. It gives us the tools to pilot the important real life moments. Our breath is something we emphasize constantly in class. As a #yogateacher I emphasize it all the time because I know the science behinds its potency. When we are faced with this "Ikea moment" in our own everyday lives and our primitive brain highjacks us, we are in our fight, flight, freeze mode, just trying to make it out alive. Fortunately our brain has evolved and we now have the power to pull our own selves out of that reactive mode, by calling on our relaxation response. The #relaxationresponse is so simple and as yogis we do it every time we are in a yoga class.
The next time you get pissed, try pausing and taking 3 slow deep breaths. Wait I know what you are thinking, "I am pissed off at Ikea I can't calm down right now." 3 deep breaths has the ability to coax the nervous system out of the sympathetic zone and start to ease us into calming the systems of the body, and the neurological response that has taken over. As these deep breaths move through us, we begin to feel ourselves "come back to reality." We feel less foggy, less highjacked. We feel a little more clear. We are reunited with our evolved brain, able to respond from the prefrontal cortex, connecting to logic and reason again.
So yes, freaking out at Ikea for 10 minutes felt good in the moment, but it was brining me no closer to resolving the issue of the missing pieces of furniture. So I started to take a few deep breaths, felt the "real Jessie" come back to the moment and then my higher brain reasoned with that primitive part of me and said" there has to be an explanation, Ikea would not mess up this bad."
Calmer and more alert I hoped on the phone and called them and the guy at customer service said "That shelf comes in 2 separate boxes from the warehouse."
OHHHHHHHHHHH...It's not Ikea...It's not their fault, they didn't mess up, they aren't to blame. From the calmer more awakened part of myself I was able to see clearly...It's not Ikea...IT's ME!!!
There is nothing more empowering than taking ownership for your actions, being accountable for your moments. Yes, I messed up, I didn't even notice there were 2 boxes for the shelf I bought, and yes I started this furniture assembly journey placing the blame on everyone else. But with a few deep breaths in the thick of a stressful moment I was able to return to my center, calm my reactive brain and see clearly.
So when yoga poses get hard, when life gets thick, when you feel the juicy emotions of your humanness bubble up...Pause...take 3 deep breaths, when the dust settles look clearly at the rubble, stand in your truth and own that shit. Sorry Ikea, It's not you...it's me. That is empowering!!!