Internal fires happen whenever we’re caught up in the heat of the moment and burning to do something...maybe something we know we’ll regret later. This is when we can apply a variation of the instructions kids are taught to do if they’re on fire...we can stop, drop, and roll.
Here's the stop, drop, and roll mindfulness technique:
Stop. Instead of immediately firing back at the object of our irritation, we can stop, pause and pay attention. Just the act of stopping and taking notice will help us to not be so reactive.
Drop. Now we can drop into the present and become aware of tendencies and patterns that recur when we’re triggered. Taking notice what we are feeling and sensing, becoming aware of our thought patterns, and whether we’re remembering to breathe. Creating this pause, this gap, allows us to calm our nervous system and to remember that we have a choice about how to handle this moment in time. It's a moment to drop our limiting beliefs and create some perspective. A moment to tap into empathy and compassion. The process, which may take only seconds, ideally ends with asking ourselves “What will serve my highest and best good and the highest and best good of others?"
Roll. Then we roll. Perhaps we roll with it, we surrender or accept it. Or, possibly we roll out a proactive plan (not a reactive one) to handle or change the situation. If we are calm and not reactive we can problem solve and think better, be more creative, we can connect and process. We can roll out the welcome mat to a more mindful approach.
Life will inevitably offer up everything from minor annoyances to heartbreaking tragedies. At these times we can ask ourselves... Am I fanning the flames of conflict? Or, am I extinguishing the flame and dousing it with love, kindness, compassion and empathy? And, am I willing to take responsibility for unpacking my own internal fire?
Stop, drop, and roll your way into internal steadiness and proactive calm, resilience and emotional intelligence.