I learned as a child if my clothes ever catch on fire to stop, drop and roll. I grew up with stop drop and roll in my naïve vocabulary. I’ve never had to use it. Some of you may have. It’s a scary remedy.
Metaphorically speaking, stop, drop and roll is not far off from what I feel when Covid news gets closer and closer to people I know. When I hear about the hardships people are enduring, people I know. When emotions are stretched and fears abounding. I feel it all around me and it’s going to get worse.
My ‘what if’ chatter starts up. My breathing gets shallow. My panic rises feeling threatened in public and more vulnerable when in private. I am on edge. My go-to partner is not there to go to. What am I to do?
Stop, Drop and Roll.
Stop the negative thinking – it’s easy to say. Takes mindfulness to do. Back up the bulldozer and reframe thoughts. Interrupt the inside voice that’s jumping to scary conclusions and do what you do when you come upon a scared child who is lost in a store with panicked eyes and losing it. Take a breath. Speak truthfully to ascertain the facts. Take action to help. The last thing you would do is join the child in fear they are truly lost. Be the adult and hold steady with breathing in calmness, ascertaining the facts, and action to get help. Stop the negative from getting out of hand.
Drop in to your Higher Self. Ask for help from within. Using your breath, breathe in to knowing you’re a good problem solver. One foot in front of the other is what it takes to stay steady. Turn on inspiring music. Watch a mood-changing movie to gain a new perspective. Eat a healthy meal or snack. Take a walk and move your body. Take gentle care of you as you mindfully move your fearing mind into your Higher Self. Your HS never abandons you. You abandon it. Your HS reaches out to you as you reach for it. Your HS has wisdom that will surprise you.
Roll mindfully. Fear is a virus that spreads by low self-worth. Roll with the facts. Rolling out of control can be thrilling but disorienting. It reminds me of a water slide. If I want to slide down at the highest speed, I straighten out my body, arms at sides and go. If I want to control the speed and slow things down, I change position. Roll mindfully. Roll with facts.
Stop, Drop and Roll. Mindful intervention.
Don’t connect the dots. Connecting dots is taking one fact and connecting every other fearful thought to it. For example, my friend’s son contracted Covid. My daughter could get it. My grandchildren could get it. I won’t be able to see my daughter and grandchildren until next summer. That’s connecting the dots.
It’s up to me to stay slow and steady with myself. Stop Drop and Roll. Beware of connecting the dots. Breathe. Mindfulness in action.
Let’s go see what Now
is like outside.
Let’s open the door
look up at the sky
feel the cold night air
on our noses.
Let’s look at our breath
as we walk out
to the street.
Let’s look at how Now
holds the moon
in black branches,
how stars shine down
with a Now from long
long ago, how
they stare down
on our Now which
has coaxed them
to wink at us.
to the night sounds
that rove the dark Now
beneath the traffic.
Let’s stop, look back
into the Now at the end
of the street; there
is something there
but I know it is behind us
in a place called Then
where our footprints
we ever made them.
I want to thank you for a new use of ‘stop, drop, and roll’ because it’s real easy to remember. We already know that little mantra. I’m going to use it when I get triggered. So when I get triggered, I’m going to stop—pause—and then drop into my Higher Self. So it’s dropping from my judgmental, critical self into my heart, my compassionate self, so that’s self-compassion and compassion for others. Then I can roll forward. So unless I do that stop and drop, then the rolling forward is probably not a pretty picture.
I was struck by your images. It reminded me of a word ‘catastrophizing.’ It’s really easy to do that, and I need to figure out how to short-circuit that. Other metaphors are how we unplug, how we stop giving it fuel and air so that it can’t burn. Another word for catastrophizing is pre-suffering which is not a place I want to go. So it’s important to figure out whatever metaphor works, and to step back into the now and breathe.
I was thinking about literally connecting the dots. I loved doing that when I went to church because it took me away from being there. I would look forward to some image that would emerge, a tree, a horse. As a child, I’d connect the dots to get to that final image. When we use the words connect the dots metaphorically, sometimes it doesn’t work to think we can get to the final image of what the outcome will be. That means we have to deal with uncertainty. If we always knew the final image in connecting the dots as we try to force the image of what’s going to happen, I think we would miss many surprises as well as the dots once connected bringing about sorrow and tragedy. I think we have to stay with what is. If we put the dots at the vertices of a square and connect them, you get a box. That’s boring. If you connect the even and then the odd ones, you get an X, which represents a kiss. So be ready to connect the dots in a different fashion.
You are reminding me of expectations which is connecting the dots and seeing the image of what I want, or expectancy which is not connecting the dots remaining open to any possibility.
I’m going through a challenge with switching to work from home. It involved some days of training in a process that was alien to me. Yesterday, I tried it on my own and it was a disaster. I couldn’t get it. I’ve almost never had panic attacks in my life and I’ve been having them in the last week or two. I think I stopped, dropped, and rolled. I could have kept butting my head against the wall. People call in and I’m supposed to be on top of the situation. But I asked for special help and then spent time analyzing the components of the process to create a plan for myself. I interrupted the pattern that wasn’t working for me.
The key is to not panic in the face of something terrible. I have been in house fires, I do know that moment of panic. It’s hard. I like to be reminded to not connect the dots. No matter what the situation is, don’t connect the dots. My cousin died this week of Covid. A friend’s family member has it. It does feel like it’s getting closer and closer, because it is getting closer. It’s not stopping. The important thing is to not panic, to stay on my path, to do my work in front of me and to do service. Thank you for the reminder.
Today’s picture is a leaf with a drop of water, a perfect orb balanced on the leaf. That’s where my breath wants to stay so that the leaf doesn’t tip one way or the other. I thought it was a strong image, slow and steady.
Everything inside of me is saying don’t share, stay quiet. That always is my cue that I should share. Often when people come here, they bring their adult to this meeting. And I love that. When I first started, I think I brought my child. Today, my teenager is here. I want to get her voice because by saying this, it goes away. She’s been running her patterns. I liked the stop, drop, and roll. My teenager started getting attached to the outcome of something at a meeting I go to. I could feel the energy coming. This morning’s reading said stop to me. I appreciate how the organizers found a way that worked for them, and that bumped up against my teenager because she wanted something her way and didn’t want to do the work. So I am owning that. But then I felt an old pattern of fear—I’m not going to get what I want and everyone now knows that I asked for something that I’m not going to get and I’m not valued. And then I thought everyone was mad at me. It’s amazing how that happens. I know when I tell on myself, it dissipates and goes away. The reading helped, that’s what I do. I don’t have to connect the dots to feel safe. I can just let go. If I drop into my heart, then I can appreciate what the organizers are doing. I don’t know everyone’s needs. I don’t want to show up as being little or show up all puffed up. I’m saying no to the old family patterns that say ‘show up and talk about everything else, don’t talk about what happens in the family.’ It’s important for me to show up, whether I’m the teenager or the adult with some really great wisdom outside myself. Thank you for making this a safe place.
That was powerful. We all do it. I could easily cry this morning with my fear. I did that last night. Take that breath, lift that chin, find my center. Thank you.
I certainly want to acknowledge when Covid gets that close, it’s startling. I’ve had friends and their children get it. All have recovered. One parent is a long-hauler, and it’s not pretty. So when this occurs, it’s about returning to the center of who we are. We speak of the dots. We have the power to come from within and from that inner core rename those dots. We can connect the dots of faith, trust, love, sending Reiki energy, being centered in our breath and the power of love. So the dots don’t have to be the sequence of what could occur to us because we are all so vulnerable emotionally and financially for some. We don’t know how this will come out, but if we go vertical, as a friend of mine says, in that knowingness breathing into that, those are the dots that continue to get us through even in times of our greatest fear and greatest worries. That’s when grace can enter wherever we are in this new moment—and every single moment is a new moment. The only point of power right now is the now.
During my meditation, as I was thinking about the things I am worrying about, I went through this process of turning it over—turn it over, let it go, turn it over. Who do I turn it over to? I turn it over to their highest and best good. I turn it over to an angel that can take it. I turn it over to the wisdom of their soul. I turn it over to the Higher Power that works for them. I turn it over. I went through the list one by one and it helped.
I was reminded of a powerful experience I had. In the 12-step program, I would hear about being right-sized. It was confusing to me. I also heard we are ego-maniacs with an inferiority complex. This dichotomy and extreme was coming from a self-centered ego. One year, when I was a poor single mom with two small children, my mother decided to take my family and my sister’s family to the ocean because otherwise the grandchildren would never see it. That’s what my heart was hearing. So, every year after that, I scrimped and saved to be able to take my children to the ocean. I remember the first time I did this, watching my children as we stood in awe at the majesty of nature, knowing we were breaking generational cycles of abuse in my family. In that moment, I understood the term ‘right-sized.’ Knowing my smallness, but knowing even in my smallness in my little circle, I could create positive change.
I wish you all a peaceful day. Keep breathing, be gentle, be present, touch your nose. This is where we are right now.