How Do You Find Wisdom instead of Overwhelm?

I want to know how you access your wisdom even when the crazy crap of life comes raining down, as you walk into the contentious meeting at 3:00, when your colleague disses you in front of your boss, when your friend didn’t include you in her New Years invitations.

What works for you? How do you return to the broader view of your wise self?

Lots of stuff shuts down our wisdom. I saw several in action last week. Grinding anger stops wisdom, and so does fear. Denying hurt, self righteousness or victimhood do too. What shuts down your wisdom?

You can learn to use these friction points to pivot, engage, ferret out and claim the wisdom that lies below. Use them as a catalyst, an opening, a reminder to take a breath and dig deeper for wisdom.

How to find wisdom when the crap of life is raining down? These three strategies work:

1. Set up an Anchor. Practice makes this work. Before speaking in that contentious meeting Martha clasps her hands together under the table as an anchor, a reminder to breathe into her WiseCore. When in a reactive state, Susan anchors back in wisdom by purposefully expanding her view to include two or three more possibilities. Jeremy returns to a clear quiet well inside and waits, letting a new solution arise.

2. Return to the Here and Now. Sink into the here and now, this moment, your Mindfulness, your Presence. Feel your back against the chair, your feet on the floor. Look around you and study something in your immediate surroundings.

3. Open the Lens. Open the frame to include different thoughts and feelings. When in reaction, our thinking narrows. Science shows that our peripheral vision diminishes. Laser focus has been a key to survival for millennium but doesn’t always lead to wise choices.

At a recent dinner, I felt frustrated by the way a family member spoke to me. First, I noticed, then quickly stopped the frantic story of hurt going round and round in my head by bringing my self back into the room, this chair, this table, the here and now. I used my anchor - feeling my body sitting in the chair.

Focusing on the fork in front of me I got into the intriguing china pattern. That made me laugh. I took a deep breath opening my lens into a larger view of reality. I looked up and moved the conversation to a better direction.

Getting back into present time, I could tap into the wisdom of my body and take a breath, the wisdom of my mind and remember I love my family. In this moment, in the here and now, so much more is possible.

Wisdom is not something we can grasp and hold onto. It is pure Knowing, seeing things exactly as they are. It’s not a memory of something or our hope about what it might be. It is what is so and how it is so – right now. In this moment. Changing in the next moment. What is. Now.

What works when you are ready to do or say something that might ultimately be unwise? What stops your flash of reaction and expands your possibilities of responses? What shifts your hurt? 

How do you become a wise leader, every day, even when the crap of life comes raining down?

I’ve developed many Wisdom Practices that I teach to strengthen my wisdom so it’s available in (almost) every situation. Throughout this blog I’ll share what works for me, when I lose it, what I do to re-find it, and how I’ve seen these practices applied.

Let me know what works for you. I’d love to know.