Drop the baggage with “metaphor of the line”
By Nancy B. Loughlin

Published in News Press on  April 25, 2016

How do we stop fixating on our perceived flaws, past hurts, disappointments and deficits so they stop sabotaging our happiness today?

A wise man drew a horizontal line on a chalkboard.

“Make the line smaller without touching it,” he commanded.

I thought I was clever. I thought I could move to the back of the room, farther away from the line. I could also squint.  But, I was told, even though I wasn’t physically touching the, I was still addressing it.

The wise man moved to the chalkboard and, above the horizontal line, drew another line twice as long.

That was the answer.

Where attention goes, energy flows

Baggage is difficult to beat into submission.  The more we wrap our bodies and minds around slights and disappointments – the significant other who won’t vacate our heads, the betrayal at work, the less-than-desirable childhood, that time we embarrassed ourselves in public, the nagging voice insisting we’re not good enough – the more power those phantoms wield.

They often attack during moments when we need to access our most empowered selves.

Do we tame them with endless dissection, rehashing and journaling in the hope of mythical closure? Do we feed the monkeys and acknowledge their power?

Or, can we shrink the lines without fortifying them with our energy and attention?

The second line

My instinct to minimize the line with distance or a squint wasn’t bad.  Author, “results coach” and firewalker Tony Robbins has advocated disassociation over engagement when it comes to managing negative thoughts and memories. (Check out his book “Unlimited Power.”)

When the voices of the past call out, lower the volume in your mind.  When the disempowering memory is in endless reruns, cover it with static, shrink the screen to a dot, blur the scene or morph the voices into those of high-pitched mice.

These techniques are useful and get easier with practice, but, like the wise man said, moving to the back of the room and the squint are temporary measures, only the first step.

At the same time, we have to draw the second line. That line is our purpose, our dharma.  The more we shift our attention to how we serve, the baggage disappears into the ether, ignored and outgunned, no effort necessary.

The Breath of Fire seven-day challenge

Fire up the core, stoke your resolve and burn off what no longer serves you with Breath of Fire.

Sit cross legged on the floor, and straighten your posture to align your energy.  Take a deep breath and use your abdominal muscles to snap your belly toward your spine for a forceful exhale.  When your belly relaxes, your inhale will be passive and happen naturally.

On your first day, work Breath of Fire 100 times, three times a day.  Each day for a week, add another 100 rounds so on day seven you are doing 700 rounds three times a day.

After each session, sit and direct your mental and spiritual energy toward your purpose.  Then, act.

The second line, as it grows, will trump the first.  The baggage is silenced.