Red Flag

Maybe we need to adopt nautical-style signs in the office?

My husband and I spotted a shadowbox at a local eatery this week, showing a cool little display of various nautical signs. Here’s one, which got me thinking: do I know what’s going on, with my “emotional weather?”

One of the simplest meditation practices is to name, for your own benefit, the primary emotion you’re feeling. To try this, ask yourself, “If I was going to put up one signal flag, just for myself, right now, what would it be?”

Bored, amused, anticipatory, frustrated, pleased… it’s simple. Just name it, don’t judge what you find, simply know that you’ve named it. Finding a way to check in like this helps to develop a curious, kind habit of present-moment awareness, in all kinds of moments.

You may ask, why bother, what’s the value? That flag in the restaurant made me laugh at myself, with some chagrin. I can think of plenty of times when I was decidedly NOT aware of my own feeling state, and the kinds of hot water I’ve fallen into as a result of not knowing. I’d have benefitted greatly if I’d been waving a Steer Clear sign around, at those times!

So, what’s your signal flag at this moment?



7 thoughts on “Red Flag

  1. Funny this was your recent post. At church on Sunday I was scheduled to do the scripture reading. 100% of the time as I sit waiting to read my heart races, my palm sweat, and I cannot focus. This Sunday I remembered a mindfulness practice of naming what was going on. I simply sat and noticed. Nervous, scared, afraid of mistakes, tripping on the stairs…all this came and went through my mind as a smile came to my face. I knew all these feelings well but having them put a namrtag on and welcoming them in to sit next to me in the pew made all the difference.

    • Dear Lynn,

      Thank you for giving us this real-life example. What a great moment! And who would ever predict that a great moment could consist of nervous, scared, sweaty palms? Cheers, Margaret

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