So, there I was! On my way to CUBA! I was on the airplane, excited! I had everything I needed to have a good time! Let’s see, how much money do I have again??………..
……………as it turned out none. Somehow in the Cancun airport, I had lost all of my money. Well, not exactly all of it, I had $20CUC which is equal to $20usd and I had about $350 pesos which is about $15usd. On my way to Havana for 4 nights with the equivalent of $35usd. WHHHHHHAAAAAAATTTTTTT??????
What happened to my money or the story of my adventure in Cuba trying to GET money are not what this blog is about. This blog is about LIVING AND BREATHING MY FEEL GOOD WAY and what that looks like under stress.
So, imagine, being in a SUPER good mood and then opening your purse where there s[slideshow_deploy id=’541′]hould have been about $1000usd and finding it totally empty. Shock of high degree would you say? Would that send you into PANIC? Of course it would. Not the same level as if I looked up and there was a saber toothed tiger pouncing toward me, but a pretty good jolt. And the change in my mood would have happened in 500 BILLIONTHS of a second. You don’t even know what hit you, you just go from one way of being to the next, and that change is driven by the NEUROPATHWAYS, that make the CHEMISTRY change happening in my body. From endorphines that were bathing my body in healing EXCITED energy to Cortozol, adreniline and the other bad guys.
Which in the case of a Saber Toothed tiger, might be helpful.
Some of what happens in that split second is:
Blood flow shifts,
From fore brain, where thoughts you can have on purpose happen, to arms and legs so you can run fast or fight hard and also to the part of your brain that makes it so that you will act without thinking. If you thought about how to fight a tiger, you would loose.
From gut to arms and legs, if you don’t survive the next few minutes, it won’t matter if you digest that food. I think a LOT of money is going to pharmaceutical companies due to the rot that is happening in our guts due to low blood flow to the area because of chronic stress.
Breathing goes from normal breath rate to shallow and rapid. It’s all about getting oxygen to the muscles for the fight.
In short, you are ready for the fight of your life. You could lift a car off of a kid right now if you needed to! There are times when this kind of chemistry is valid.
But, in the kind of stresses you run into in a day, will any of this help?
Is it making it worse?
So here is where My FEEL GOOD Way comes in.
Because I practice My FEEL GOOD Way, which at it’s core is good posture and doing something anything that FEELS GOOD frequently through out my day, I have trained my system not to go so far into fight or flight when things happen. I am coming from a chemistry that does not panic easily, as I have consciously reset my set point to the chemistry of wonder and joys and am frequently doing things to maintain that.
Because of active training, when shit happens, my first instinct is to do something RIGHT NOW that FEELS GOOD so that my chemistry stays calm and I don’t start acting without thinking or throwing things around which honestly doesn’t help anything unless there IS a Saber toothed Tiger about to pounce. This changes my chemistry so I can THINK GOOD THOUGHTS and TAKE DEEP BREATHS no matter what is going on around me. Isn’t that what the self help dudes and dudettes are telling us to do?
I have been doing this for now pretty consistently for 15 years so, it isn’t just a phase I am going through! Haha! I have used it through thick and thin, and I can tell you it works under the worst of circumstances! Try going to Jail in Mexico, Try car wrecks, try losing people you love, try toe nail injuries, try being on a plane on your way to Havana Cuba for 5 days and finding you only have $35 dollars in your pocket!!!!!!………and small stuff too. It works at the grocery store, it works in the car, it works when you are arguing with a friend or see something on Facebook that upsets you.
You can ask anyone who knows me well, I am usually in a good mood, and don’t often talk about
the things going wrong in my life and when I do, it is how I was able to get through it pretty easily due to what I practice.
So, back to the airplane, NO FREAKING MONEY. First instinct, disbelief, we must search until we find it. So, go through all of the purse, empty every single compartment, searching until it is found. Maybe even empty the whole thing out and shake it right? Isn’t that about what could have happened next? Wouldn’t you maybe miss something if you are in that sort of vibe? Might you actually now lose it due to being careless trying to find it?
And, to be honest, that is what happened. Of course. My FEEL GOOD Way is not about being in denial when things happened, I knew this was serious. But I also knew that it doesn’t help to freak out and get the adrenalin going. DIdn’t quite get to the shake it all out part, as I had more consciousness around me. I did something that FEELS GOOD, so my senses actually got sharper, and I could think more clearly. I could make the search a bit more focused, not just ripping it apart. And, it is really not there. Again do something else that FEELS GOOD now.
You see, when you do something that FEELS GOOD, it actually sharpens your awareness of what is happening right now this minute. Which with the kinds of stresses we experience, that is what we want.
My usual go to in really big moments is Evocize Number One. It always works no matter what.
Let’s try it now so you can feel what I mean. This will take 30 seconds.
With your fingertips, rub deeply, kind of scratching from the temples and around your ears then keep going scratching the nape of your neck….and then go back and forth between that back of the heads and the ears a few times. Like you would with a dog or cat but a bit deeper. Then, with your whole hand, drag from there down your neck and past your collar bones a couple of times, now close your eyes and just rest for a moment noticing what is happening inside your body. When you are ready, open your eyes and look around. Notice if anything has changed.
Hearing a bit sharper?
Where were you a moment ago?
Where are you now?
How do you feel?
Cool huh? 30 seconds and total change of focus.
Go back to looking around, it’s all true, right? You really do feel different, calmer somehow.
When I teach this in my classes, when the students close their eyes, everyone in the room takes an involuntary deep breath. I don’t coach them to, it happens automatically. DIdn’t you? (If you didn’t do the exercise, you can still go back and do it NOW). Isn’t take a deep breath what the self help gooroos are telling us to do when we’re stressed? But when we are in the chemistry of stress, the physiology actually makes it IMPOSSIBLE to take a deep breath, rapid and shallow remember? And those are STRONG drugs, you can’t just will yourself to go against them. It would take the discipline of a monk to deep breathe in a moment like this. (Third Chance if you didn’t do the exercise yet!)
But when you do something ANything that FEELS GOOD, the chemistry shifts, in the same 500 billionths of a second, from rapid and shallow to taking a deep breath is automatic. Involuntarily. . Ahhhhhhhh. This is the step those guys seem to have missed. The how TO take a deep breath when you are stressed.
Another key change that happens due to the chemistry of stress is that blood flow leaves the part of your brain that makes conscious thought, sending it to the part of the brain that acts without thinking, following the instincts to FIGHT FLIGHT OR FREEZE….RIGHT NOW! The one that would lift a car off of a kid, remember? If you were in the part of your brain that reasons and considers and chooses an action, you wouldn’t even attempt that, right? And the fact that you COULD lift a car off of a kid under extreme stress shows again the POWER of those stress drugs! How in the world is that going to help when you think someone gave you a dirty look about doing dishes? Something on Facebook makes you sad or angry? You are late for an appointment.
When you do something that FEELS GOOD, the blood shifts from reptile brain to thinking conscious thought brain. The part that does things on purpose. The part that can look at the situation, and the environment clearly and make a decision about what to do. Clear. Bright. Now. Now. Now.
We have learned more about the brain in the last 20 years than since the beginning of time. One of the things we have learned is that humans spend a lot of time in low grade stress chemistry. In our resting state we are slightly anxious.. Imagine! When nothing else is going on around us, most of us rest in a bath of stress chemistry. Wow. Think about that. Isn’t that the chemistry that destroys the immune system? That raises blood pressure, causes heart disease, etc. Yes, it is, but you can change it!
We have also learned that you can change the brain. We used to think you couldn’t, that you were stuck with what was happening. As it turns out, that wasn’t true. We can literally change the brain physically just by focusing consistently on something. We are doing that now, but what we are focusing on is causing the stress. So, by consciously changing the chemistry, doing something that FEELS GOOD frequently, you change that chemistry and the focus instantly changes and so does the chemistry. Oxytocin, Endorphins and others. These actually sharpen your senses and slow down your breathing, and actually drop you into present time reality without effort. Able to look for possibilities of solutions, rather than how bad it is and how bat it was and how bad it is going to be?
Isn’t that the natural place to go in a moment on a plane when you discover you have no money? OMG, I’m doomed, I won’t have a ride to town from the airport, I won’t have a place to stay, I won’t have any money for food, drinks, fun. This is fucked, I am fucked, I am so fucking stupid, this is going to be fucked, how could I have possibly fucked up this bad and over and over and over and over and over and over and over the tape loop would go for DAYS. And bouncing around lost in that fog acting without thinking, breathing shallow, ready to hit someone or run or freeze….roll up in a ball and just think these thoughts over and over. How in the world does that help in the world most of us live in? The drugs would be stronger due to the severity of this situation, but they are the same drugs that most people in our culture spend the majority of their time at various doses. With BRIEF moments of joy and it usually takes external things to get that joy, like alcohol, drugs or food.
In studies using Functional MRI (fMRI) we have found that we can change the brain easily. In as few as 10 minutes a day, for as few as 4 days, doing something on purpose that causes the brain to go to the Rest and Digest part of the nervous system on purpose, they can see a change in the brain. Not by talking to you, but by looking at before and after fMRI images of your brain. 4 days.
What changes, is your response to stress. It strengthens the part of your brain that can be reasonable under stress. Ever been around someone who is unreasonable under the slightest stress? Ever been that person who is unreasonable under stress? Would you like the part of you that is reasonable under stress to get some new strength? YES! All you have to do is simple things while you walk around your life that FEEL GOOD to do that.
So, remember Evocize number One? Took 30 seconds to do. Why not do it every 5 or 10 minutes for a while as you reset your neuro pathways and physically change your brain? There are a million other ways to FEEL GOOD too, any kind of massage, including self massage. Any kind of stretch changes the chemistry! Think how good it feels to put your arms over your head and stretch really good. Is there any reason you can’t do that right now? Not really, right? So do it.
Then notice how you feel.
Did you take a deeper breath all of a sudden? Isn’t that what you are wanting? Isn’t that what they say to do to get to present time, to lower stress, to raise the immune system? To prevent heart disease? Automatically! YOU DID IT! And the more you FEEL GOOD, the easier it is to stay out of STRESS! And the more you focus on doing things that FEEL GOOD, the less time you spend lost in your head listening to the voices of how aweful it was, how stupid you are and how it will never work out. Right? Thank freaking goodness.
So, come with me and I’ll show you the things I have learned along My FEEL GOOD Way. It is my desire that you will find some things that will help you find and stay on Your FEEL GOOD Way and that by sharing what we learn together, we will create a world where we are Living and Breathing Our FEEL GOOD Way.
So, do you think I had a GOOD TIME in Havana! You can bet your sweet bippie I did! It helps to have friends all over the world…….but that is another story…………
FEEL GOOD PEOPLE! VIVA La CUBA!!!!!!!
PS, I would like to thank a few people who helped me through this experience.
First of all, the Cuban People. They were amazing, so kind and generous. I think I could have lived the rest of my life without money there! WOW!
Next my Cuban friend Ramiro Soto Fontaine that I met last time I was in Cuba. He was a rock star. I called him at 8pm and he went into action immediately, came in a cab to get me at the airport, found me a cheaper place to stay and loaning me $150CUC to get me through. He also had to receive the money when it came as an American is not allowed to.
Emmanuelle Vanden, my friend from Belgium. . She spent 2 days trying to send me money from Mexico. Bless her heart! With a 5 month old BABY! GRACIAS!
Linda Angeles, and her mom Sana Jacobsen
Lovisa Berggrenand her mom Lena Berggren, all 4 from Sweden. Linda and Lou live in Tulum and are the moms of the 2 beautiful 2 year olds you see photos of with me a lot. I have known their moms for years as they visit their daughters and granddaughters in Tulum.
They all got a message on Saturday as soon as we figured out the money could not be sent from anywhere in Mexico. In fact, there are only 40 countries out of 196 in the whole world that can send money to Cuba, most of which are small islands. All because the USA hasn’t approved of Cuba’s politics since 1960. Before I was born! Two old stupid goverments doing things that make the people suffer. You still can not use an American credit card in Cuba, not because of the CUBANS, because it is against the law in USA for the banks to do business in Cuba.
When I saw the list, and saw Sweden on it, I knew I was going to be ok. I have very close friends, family, in Sweden! On the day before I left, I recieved $3000 Swedish Crowns from Lena, equivalent to $305CUC ($305usd).
If you are adding all this up, you know that from Thursday to Sunday, I only had $185CUC in my pocket, and not sure when or if more was going to show up.……and then on Sunday, I received $305 from Lena, of which $150 had to go back to Ramiro and $140 had to go to pay my rent. I still needed $25cuc to get to the airport in Cuba, and $25usd to get from Cancun Airport to my home in Tulum……so all together I had $125usd not counting lodging and transportation for 5 days in Havana Cuba…..and had the TIME OF MY LIFE! Much of that money went to Internet trying to figure this mess out. $5cuc per hour. I missed some meals, I didn’t order many drinks, I didn’t do any touristy expensive things……..I grew and came alive and found my courage during this experience! I did things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. I met people I would have not have even seen otherwise, and I did a LOT of walking! Which gave me time to do a LOT of FEEL GOOD Stuff. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Well, maybe I would change one thing. My money could have come back to me when I arrived in Mexico….it could still happen!
FEEL GOOD! BLESSINGS!
I LOVE CUBA! I LOVE MEXICO! I LOVE MY FRIENDS ALL OVER THE WORLD!
BLESSINGS TO THE WHOLE WORLD< NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!!!!!
SO GRATEFUL FOR MY LIFE!