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A 3 minute read

Here we are on the cusp of Valentine’s Day – a time of year that many people dread. As the red hearts light up and images of loved up couples are all around us, it feels impossible to escape. For some, it highlights an absence of a romantic partner or not being at a stage in life our younger self had mapped out. That may lead to feelings of dejection, apathy or sadness – that is if you’re not happy with your single status or feel love is only accountable if it’s romantic love.

I became mindful of this today when I went to promote a Valentine’s Day post and it caused me to pause. Just a few weeks ago I was experiencing strong feelings around my trigger times – my parents’ anniversaries. Mum died around Thanksgiving towards the end of November some six years ago. My father fell suddenly ill on December 3rd, eighteen years previously. Although he didn’t die until near the end of January, I never got to speak to him again after December 2nd when I said to him, “ ’Bye Dad,” not knowing how true those words would be. Still now, in the days leading up to their anniversaries, two months and eighteen years apart, I find I’m irritable, withdrawn and liable to cry for no apparent reason. These emotions may sound familiar to you. Dates, places and even scents can act as triggers for uncomfortable feelings.

I thought about my words in my V Day post. Love is Love – it comes in all forms – some of the greatest love I’ve felt is shared in the eyes of an animal. Love is Universal. Would this rephrasing help people? Then I thought about what I have done to help myself through my own Trigger Times.

  • Take a lesson from your heart. Our hearts give life by pumping blood to every part of our bodies but first, it pumps blood to itself. Give yourself some self-care, self-love – this is essential before you can share the best part of yourself with others. We are so hard on ourselves – without loving and accepting ourselves, how can we be truly open and accepting of others. Not sure where to start with self-love? Try this yoga sequence – physical movement may be a gentle way to start.
  • Reframe your thoughts. Rather than thinking of Valentine’s Day (or whatever your trigger is) with blinkered vision, open up to other possibilities. Love comes in all forms. Celebrate the love you have – for yourself, for others, for your environment, your fur-friends. At times I’ve felt pure love at the top of a mountain when I was utterly alone. I’ve felt love looking into the eye of a horse I don’t even know. Embrace all of it.
  • Let Go of Expectations. This is one we often struggle with the most. Much of our anxiety comes from perceived expectations unfulfilled. When I’m teaching, be it meditation or life coaching, I’ve found this is a challenge for people. We like to think we are in control. Others think of this as drifting along rather than having a purpose. Absolutely not! Dreams, hopes, goals are essential for our well-being. We need a certain amount of stress to get us out of bed in the mornings, to pursue our dreams, hopes and goals. To have something to strive for. The key, however, is planning our trajectory and learning when to let go of expectations and trust. There is no one way. No one path. Often we get in our own way. Shoot for the moon – you may land on Pluto or amongst the stars.
  • Be Mindful. Mindfulness and meditation are the portals through our worst fears. Practising meditation helps us to become aware of our thoughts and feelings and release what doesn’t serve us in a healthy way –  to surrender rather than resist. Like the point above, this is not giving in – it is simply developing the wisdom to know what shifts we can make to lean in the direction of our dreams and when it’s time to let go so that new, brighter, and other doors can open.

Finally, for Trigger Times, think Tigger. Wise words, whether they’re light-hearted or life-affirming can help us ride the wave.                                                                 “Once in a while, someone amazing comes along and here I Am.” Tigger

Tigger drawing with the caption 'once in a while someone amazing comes along and here I am.'

Siobhán McKenna is a certified Chopra meditation instructor and life coach. With Siobhán McKenna Studio, she returned to her designer roots by creating natural fibre scarves to wrap people in a hug of high-vibes, strong archetypes and Irish energy