Get vertical!

written by Erica Quam

I learned a powerful concept last week. It's the idea of going horizontal versus getting vertical.

Let's see if I can bring this concept to life for you...

When you are horizontal...

...your attention is splattered all over the place. Your mind is scattered and you can get overwhelmed. Your emotions are on a roller coaster ride that slowly go up the hill, then quickly go down the hill. They veer quickly around corners and come to an abrupt stop. You literally feel as if you have left your body.

When you get vertical...

...you come BACK to your body.  Feel your feet on the ground...as they press down into the earth. There's something very simple about rooting yourself into the earth. There is a connectedness.

As you feel yourself getting more grounded, bring your attention more inward. Notice the things going on internally vs. externally. Observe the natural flow of your breath and the steady beat of your heart. Usually, just by bringing your attention to the breath, you begin to lengthen it, and by observing your heartbeat it slows down. 

As you get vertical, observe what's going on in your mind. Is it busy? Are you able to focus on one thought at a time? Can you let go of thoughts and bring your attention to the breath instead?

We humans are powerful, yet we can ALLOW things to get out of control. 

What situations in your life take YOU horizontal? Is there a pattern to how you react?

Examples of things that take you horizontal:

  • When someone pushes your buttons, triggers you, or makes you angry.
  • When you take on too much...saying yes when you really meant no.
  • When you are in a stressful situation...your body resorts to the fight or flight response.
  • When you are in fear...and you get stuck....and you are afraid to move forward.
  • When you are in a state of lack (dwelling on what you don't have) instead of a state of abundance (focusing on what you do).

Can you change your patterns of reaction when these things happen? I think so. You first have to want to. You can't always be a "reaction-aholic". You've got to let go of some of "your stories." 

Maybe you won't totally get rid of these patterns, but with a little practice you CAN change how long you stay horizontal...and you can bring your power back more quickly.

When you feel life getting out of control...get vertical.  Here's how:

  1. Awareness - become aware of what's happening in your body. Notice the patterns in your life when you go from being grounded to being scattered. Even the subtle changes. Catch them early...and stop the pattern.
  2. Pause - wherever you are (unless maybe you're driving)...take a moment to close your eyes. Your eyes are the connection to your brain. When the eyes are still, the brain gets more still. Then draw your attention more inwards.  Even if you are having a hard conversation...and you want to yell, or scream, or shake your fists. Close your eyes, take one deep breath, and come back to your body.
  3. Feel - feel your feet touching the ground - firmly rooted into the earth. Observe your physical body all the way from your feet up to the crown of your head. Feel your legs, your arms, your shoulders, your neck, & lengthen your spine standing tall.  Even changing the physical posture of your body can change the hormones that are produced inside.

Assignment for the week: Observe yourself. Notice when you feel grounded and when you feel scattered. When you start to go horizontal...1. become more aware 2. pause and 3. feel your body.

Leave a comment here about whatever shift happens when you do.