Coping Mechanisms I Learned from a 6-year Old

"And I hope I can find the courage to speak
When there's something that needs being said
And I hope that my words will not tear us apart
But to bring people closer instead"
- Joe Purdy


When I was flying home from California a few weeks ago, a really old girlfriend texted to ask if she could stay at my house with me for the night.  After being in Minneapolis with her husband and daughter for 10 days at Children's Hospital, she needed a girlfriend. They'd been in town for to remove a tumor from her daughters brain steam that resulted in a disorder called Posterior Fossa Syndrome. 

I landed, got the car, and drove home. Texting her before I left the airport she said, "I'm here." Got home 10 minutes later and there she was. We hugged a strong hug, I said, "Cocktail?" We sipped on tequila and caught up. 

She told me all about the surgery. Her babe. The guilt they were experiencing. The exhaustion they felt. 

Then she looked at me, and lit up, as we talked about how we take care of ourselves in rough times. She said, "Oh Rebecca, she is so cool! You should see her coping mechanism." Then she demonstrated and I could feel my smile inside and out as she talked.

She continued, "You know, the room will be filled with doctors and nurses and they'll be talking about her when she's right there, about what's next and everything she might go through and you can see her getting overwhelmed. Then, while everyone is blabbing on, she closes her eyes and take a deep breath and it's like her face will still and everything inside of her will still." She demonstrated what her baby does, and I could see the intense level of peace that would wash over her daughter.

"Like meditating?" I asked. She said, "Yes, but I don't know where she goes. When they leave, she opens her eyes and comes back." As simple as this technique sounds, I could only imagine the power of this little 6 year old Buddha-ing out with all the noise around her.

We can all learn simple strategies from a 6-year old living with "terminal" cancer for the past four years, who has undergone multiple brain surgeries and chemo you never want to experience. A girl who has learned to "Buddha out" during stressful and rough times on her own, without years of sitting in a monastery.

There's magic and vitality in being able to tune out the noise to help remember your power, your strength, something so fierce it helps you open your eyes and get back to living a quality-filled life.

Quality. Not quantity. Remember that always.

What do you do to Buddha out when everything around you is flipping out? Let us know in the comments.

Here are four of my favorite tools that can help you, too:
Headspace (I'm on 160 days straight of meditating and I have to say this is saving my sanity)
Morning Pages 
Nadi Shodana (alternate nostril breathing)
Run or sweat it out!

Power to the peaceful and the loving! Enjoy the week.