Triggers tell us what’s truly important to us

Image courtesy to goodngreat.comTonight in our Nonviolent Communication Practice Group we talk about triggers. “Think of a moment these last past days when you got triggered and you think you didn’t handle it well.”

Mine is easy. Traffic. People who hang in the left lane, next to a car in the right lane, and go at or below maximum speed. Blocking my use of the full road ahead of me. Slowing me down. Making me arrive late for my nanny kids.

Last Thursday I was five minutes late. Kiran was waiting with his teacher. In the hallway. I felt sad. I want him to know how much I care about him, how important he is to me, how excited I am to see him. Being late doesn’t tell that. It might tell him he gets third on my priority list. After my plans and my goals.

David empathizes with me “You have a need for care, to contribute and support?”

“Yeah. And now I realize that if I would leave the house five minutes earlier, I would not be so stressed for time. If I would stop trying to finish all my plans, I would be calmer and more patient on the road… That is actually a need for acceptance… Accepting that I can only do so much in a day. That if I do this, I cannot do that. If I write this email, I cannot call that friend. If I cook a meal, I cannot clean the kitchen floor.

And that that is okay. I’m probably half way my life, and I realize I cannot do everything anyway. I can’t do ànd improv ànd ceramics ànd hip hop classes ànd knit my sweater ànd start restorative circles ànd expand my business ànd become a certified NVC-trainer ànd travel the world AND connect to my family and friends. Some things won’t get done by me in this life time. If I accept that, I won’t push myself to do everything last minute. I would relax and accept that what I d0 is enough.”

“Does it also have to do with impermanence?”

That’s right on the spot.

The day has now ended, our lives are shorter.

Now we look carefully: what have we done?

Noble Sangha, with all our heart,

Let us be diligent, engaging in the practice.

Let us live deeply, free from our afflictions,

aware of impermanence,

so that life does not drift away without meaning.

Yes. That’s it. Understanding that life is to be lived, not done. It’s not about making a living, but making a life. Right here, right now. Doing less, being more. Remember? The less I am attached to results, and the more I am focused on the joy of the process, the more I can celebrate the sheer fact that I am alive. And that is enough. More than enough.


I offer coaching to help you live more deeply. Contact me 512-589-0482. I would be honored to help.

2 Replies to “Triggers tell us what’s truly important to us”

  1. This is something I struggle with all the time… I feel like I can never get all the things done that I have to do, and that by trying to get things done I am not properly there for the people that are really important to me. I feel like I am always falling short somehow…

    1. I get you, Iektje. The struggle of how to get everything done and being present with the people that are truly important to us. For me it is a balance of being on clear on my priorities (what do I want my life to be about), and acceptance that I can’t get everything done that I want to get done and facing my fear of rejection and loneliness, when I pursue my dreams and have to say ‘no’ to certain people at times. Facing my fear is the biggest challenge, and also one that I enjoy juggling with.

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