I was talking to a new friend from Wales this week. We were sitting in “Wish You Were Here” a restaurant in Cambodia and she shared the Welsh story of “Gelert” with me. It was incredibly synchronistic, you will find out why in a minute, I said, “Perfect I want to share this story!”
So here it is…
According to legend, the stone monument in a field in Wales marks the resting place of 'Gelert', the faithful hound of the medieval Welsh Prince Llewelyn the Great.
The story, as written on the tombstone reads:
"In the 13th century Llewelyn, prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, "The Faithful Hound", who was unaccountably absent.
On Llewelyn's return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The prince alarmed hastened to find his son, and saw the infant's cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood.
The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound's side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog's dying yell was answered by a child's cry.
Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but near by lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain.
The prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here".
If you have been following my blog and have been practicing Noticing Your Energy you would be becoming more sensitive to the energetic and physical sensory responses in your body from triggers from;
- what other people say and do,
- what you think and do, past and present memories
- physical locations etc
You might even be thinking, “Great I am noticing the energy in my body. I want to move away from this person or defend myself with this person.”
But how do you figure out if your body is…
Reacting to the past? Reacting defensively
And what is the difference anyway?
Look at Llewelyn, did he react to the past, imagining his dog hurting his child. He looked at the blood on Gelert and acted swiftly with actions he later regretted. What if he had taken a moment to feel his torment, breathe, look around, find his son and the wolf. Would he have breathed a sigh of relief and restored his authenticity? How would he have responded to Gelert then?
What about you? Do you react to the past?
We are more likely to react defensively when our triggered bodies are tight, tense and anxious. This creates shallow breathing and results in more tension in our body, increasing our stress and the likelihood of protective defensive behaviour.
When have you reacted to the past, and taken actions that you later regretted what did you do then?
Did you react to the past again and become…
- Resentful? And then blamed the other person for the consequences of your actions.
- Defensive? And then rationalized it was ok to act the way you did.
- Did you dig yourself into a deeper hole, lose the relationship, feel ashamed and then sabotage what you really want?
Are you defensive now as you are reading this and remembering an event and rationalizing all the reasons why your actions were appropriate but deep down you know you are telling yourself a “white lie”? As you did react to the past.
So, how can you discern when you are being triggered by unwarranted fear and reacting to the past?
Are you about to be physically attacked or in a dangerous situation or is your fear a threat to your self esteem and your identity?
As most of us do not have to fear being slain by wooly mammoths many fears today are a threat to our identity.
When we feel insecure about who we are and what we stand for we are more likely to have our fears triggered and react to defend our self-esteem.
If you realise that your fear or defensiveness is to defend your identity, can you possible consider another way to respond?
The most significant thing you can do when triggered and you feel a need to quickly react is to take a moment and
Yes, breathe and connect with your body. Feel a sense of yourself deep within your body.
SETTLE into yourself
Take a breathe, and another one and another one. Do you need to defend something or do you need to inquire and find out more information?
Now consider what would be a way to respond that maintains the relationship and connects you to your self worth?
It only takes moments, consider that most times we have more time to respond than we think we do.
Taking 3 breathes and connecting only takes moments.
Do you have a story to share, question or comment. Reflecting on your experiences and embodying what you are reading with your own experience enables you to embody new learning. Go on and take some action this week and let me know what happens.