The Magic of Staying Calm, No Matter What

I’m packing my suitcases to go participate in two large conferences.  I have considerable tension in my mind and several cold sores on my body.  All of the negative feelings, of course, are the result of “dirty pain.”  My fears about the uncertainties of travel, my memories of traveling while physically ill in the past, and my stories about the whole issue have been troubling my sleep and lowering my immunities. 

Fortunately, I know how to deal with this, and my newly certified coaches (who coach me as part of their certification process) have been pushing me to admit it.  No matter what is happening to me or around me, I need to, and always can, access a state of physical, emotional, and spiritual calm.  
Speaking of staying calm, the holiday season offers us many wonderful opportunities to practice staying peaceful in a variety of challenging situations.  Logistical energy is spread very thin during this season, time is at a premium, and emotions run very high as families gather (or not) to celebrate. 
During the next few weeks, observe yourself compassionately, like a professional chess player watching a three-year-old learn the moves.  Notice when you become stressed, manic, demanding, anxious, or seized by any of the other emotions that fly around with such vigor during the holiday season.  The moment you take the observer’s stance, you will already feel the beginning of peace.  Remain in compassionate witness mode for as long as five minutes, and you will feel more peace than not-peace.  Stay there for half an hour, and you can generate enough calm to carry you through the whole day.  If you happen to fall off the wagon, simply observing that  you’ve fallen will immediately return you to the compassionate witness’s unflappable calm.
This year let’s honor the true spirit of the holidays by staying relaxed and peaceful as Uncle Jim throws the cranberry sauce at Mom.

11 replies
  1. Donna
    Donna says:

    Thank you Martha – perfect timing as usual 🙂 A brand new computer that keeps crashing, receiving incorrect orders on shipments for our Christmas art business, and demands on my time have me with cold sores, lack of sleep and fits of crying. I have completed my coach training and know my lizard is out of control and that I’m pushing myself too hard – not listening to my body. I’m being coached, doing self coaching, and allowing myself to feel the way I feel. Connecting to my compassionate witness is perfect – just what I needed to hear today. By doing that I realized I need to play. Thank you.

    • Editor
      Editor says:

      Absolutely. The key is to do it in a constructive vs. destructive way. In Martha’s article on healthy conflict, she talks about acting on cool anger vs. hot anger. The way I think of this is that anger means that a boundary has been breached. I can be angry and rage, but I express it with a compassionate witness or privately before I take my grievance to the party with whom I am angry. That way I’m not attaching the anger to the person, but the circumstance. Having vented the anger, I’m able to stay more focused and rational in order to be heard, rather than potentially alienating the other person by saying something in the heat of my anger.
      Hope that helps!

  2. Gina
    Gina says:

    Well said, Martha! I love reading your work. Your articles and books have been instrumental in me turning around my Life, which is still a work in progress. Just when I haul myself over one obstacle, another seems to appear immediately! But, I have faith that my hard work will pay off in creating a rewarding Life.

    (PS- I hate to plug a product, but Abreva has always worked well for me regarding cold sores. If you catch them at first tingle, mine are usually gone within 2-3 days!) Stay well. 🙂

  3. Wendy Blanchard,M.S.
    Wendy Blanchard,M.S. says:

    I have been learning all about peace, and staying calm in the most difficult situations from my life coach, Maria Blon, of This article is so insightful, and reiterates what Maria has taught me. Thanks!
    Wendy Blanchard, M.S.

  4. Cynthia Turner
    Cynthia Turner says:

    There is something called Fairy Fog that turns all the usual characters into half-breed fairy folk. You never know who you are going to talk to because everyone has become their alter-ego fairytale character. Right now, beware of Holiday Fog. 🙂


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