CAN I GET
6 WAYS TO RISE
BY ZOë KORS
“Learn to watch your drama unfold while at
the same time knowing you are more than
your drama.” —Ram Dass
Suffering is part of the human condition—
especially for those of us living out our dharma
in the fast-paced, urban trenches of Los Angeles. Sometimes, when we are highly emotional
about something, we say we are “really in it,”
as if we are submerged in the suffering itself.
The most powerful—and perhaps, essential—
ways to navigate emotional suffering is to develop the ability to be simultaneously subjec-tiveand objective—to observe ourselves in this
state without judgment. In other words, we can
have our feelings, but we are not our feelings.
The greater our ability be our own witness, the
more adept we become at acknowledging, recognizing, understanding, accepting, and releasing our suffering.
Here are six ways to cultivate your witness:
1// Slow Way Down
Stillness is the prescription for bringing consciousness to everything. Rushing through the
experiencing of anything, including feelings,
means that we miss subtleties and nuances that
feed our understanding of it. The first step in
separating ourselves from our drama is to slow
down and be with it. Resist the urge to DO.
2// Invoke Your Third Person
It may feel silly at first, but when you are in
the middle of an emotional reaction, stop and
say, “This is Zoë having an emotional reaction.” Or, “This is Zoë feeling angry.” Work
your way through it until, “This is Zoë accepting what is and knowing that all will be okay.”
If you don’t get all the way there, don’t worry.
This is a practice in distinguishing yourself
from your emotions, first and foremost.
3// Checkpoint: Mindfulness
Set an alarm at regular intervals four times a
day. When the alarm sounds, do a brief mindfulness practice. Notice your physical presence
in its environment. You might articulate it like
this: “Feet on the floor. Feet on the floor…
Hands on the keyboard. Hands on the key-board…” Repeating it twice gives the mind
and extra beat to become fully present and objective.” Interrupting the flow of the day with
Mindfulness develops our ability to discern between emotional and physical experience.
4// Take a Nature Walk
The muscles we use to observe the world
around us are the same ones we use to witness
ourselves. The way the clouds drift in the sky,
the palm fronds rustle in the breeze, or birds
fly in formation, gives context to our suffering,
by reminding us that there is an entire world
around us that exists beyond our point-of-view
or struggles in the moment.
5// On the Arc of a Rainbow
Just as connecting with nature can set a con-
text for a difficult moment, stepping back and
considering how that moment fits into your life
story can set a different, and equally power-
ful context. We tend to assign undue urgency
or importance to our experiences—especially
when they are emotionally charged—when
they are really just one small chapter in the arc
of our entire story.
6// Lighten Up
There is a not-so-fine and fairly blurry line between pain and self-pity. Denying or burying
our emotions can be hazardous to our health.
At the same time, so can taking ourselves too
seriously. Holding things lightly can go a long
way in cultivating grace in the dancing with our
Zoë Kors is the Managing Editor of LA Yoga Magazine,
a certified life coach, writer, mother, yogini, existential
detective and vortex surfer. She offers Spiritual Core
Empowerment programs for women, in which she draws
on the principles of Eastern philosophy and the healing
practices of yoga, breathwork, and meditation and blends
them with Western psychotherapy. To find more, visit:
PRACTICES // SPIRITUAL CORE EMPOWERMENT