One of the greatest gifts mindfulness has given me is the ability to watch my ego roar and not take it too seriously.
Sitting in meditation while watching thoughts go by again, and again, and again… seriously lends itself to understanding how wacky the mind can be.
However…last week, a book talk I gave at Google on Mindful Parenting went live on YouTube. This is exciting right? Well….it was until I saw that the only three comments posted were fairly unkind. Not only that but some people had clicked “thumbs down”. Ouch!
I was having a perfectly productive and lovely day until I read those three comments…then….BAM…the inner critic went into overdrive. I had been hijacked by my own mind.
Here are how my ego thoughts went….
Oh man…that talk wasn’t very good
I flipped my hair too much…why do I do that? What kind of weird habit is that?
That outfit is all wrong. I need to get a stylist.
Those people are just mean trolls…. but what if they are right?n
Who do I think I am giving a talk at Google anyway?
You get the point right? So here is what I did…. I stopped, marched myself over to my meditation cushion and sat with all of it. Let me tell you this was not pleasant. My mind was going wild. I was reminded of something Pema Chodron said in her book The Places That Scare You. “When our emotions intensify, what we usually feel is fear. This fear is always lurking in our lives. In sitting meditation we practice dropping whatever story we are telling ourselves and leaning into the emotion and the fear, thus, we train in opening the fearful heart to the restlessness of our own energy. We learn to abide with the experience of our emotional distress.”
So I watched all the ego inner critic stories and saw clearly that I was simply afraid of not being good enough. Was this true? Nope. I’m perfectly good enough thank you very much. Next, I reminded myself of my dedication to practice, integrity, and connection to purpose. That tricky ego critic was squished and my heart was again open. I offered myself some self compassion for being human, put on my big girl panties, and did what I needed to do… email my soul sisters! I sent an SOS to the women in my life who I knew would support me. This sisterhood flung into action, watched my talk, liked my page, and left comments reflective of who they know me to be. Being held by my community in love was just what the ego doctor ordered. And yes…I get the irony of their comments feeding my ego a bit. 🙂
This process all took place over a few hours. Reflecting back I was able to watch in slow motion how I was hijacked and how I came back to love. (Of course I did also have the help of my soul sisters…)
We can all expect the ego hijack from time to time. Dare I say this can happen quite easily at home with our families. Hopefully we are ready with the sacred pause, the leaning into our emotions and fear, and a willingness to reach out for connection and support.
May you meet this moment fully. May you meet this moment with kindness towards yourself and others.