Deepak Chopra says that no matter the challenge, in any situation, you can always go to your state of being. “You STOP.”

S- Stop

T- Take 3 deep breaths

O- Observe what is happening in your body and mind

P- Proceed with kindness, joy, and love.

Last month, while reading one of my books, I learned about this idea of “STOP”.  I’ve been applying this state of being, this idea of “STOP” to my life, and I can say I feel better that I am not living in a reactionary state all the time and practicing some control of my learned behaviors and automatic responses.

For example, last month my husband and I were having a pleasant conversation with a neighbor that had recently taken two of my yoga classes. He was telling my husband how much he enjoyed my classes when two other visitors came over and joined in on the conversation. One of the gentlemen was instantly annoying and became very opinionated and condescending on every topic we discussed. At first, I wanted to be defensive, debate, and prove my intelligence, but instead of reacting I chose to STOP. I realized that his opinions did not matter and I did not care about educating him or attempting to change his mind. As this guy’s ego and rudeness spilled into the space around us, my gut instinct was to put him in his place or make him squirm. But, I practiced STOP and knew that if I were to do so, that I would also be coming from a place of ego. Instead, I ignored the guy that was being rude and shifted the conversation back to my student with kindness and a genuine interest in him and his life in North Dakota.  Eventually, the guy that was rude had less to say as we didn’t feed his ego or rudeness, and I was able to enjoy the conversation that had originally started with my new friend.

Later that evening over cocktails and sunset, my husband said he was surprised that I didn’t put that guy in his place. I smiled and replied, “I simply chose to come from a place of kindness instead of ego like him, and I feel better about myself because of it.”

I encourage you to apply Deepak’s philosophy of STOP to your daily life and reflect on the difference and impact it makes in your life and in your relationships. What we feed grows. If we come from a place of ego during challenging times, we aren’t feeding kindness, joy, and love. When we pause and reflect on what is happening in our body and mind, and the belief behind it, we are better able to choose how to proceed, and will more likely choose kindness. We can come from a place of ego or kindness, but not both. -MaryBeth