There have been and still remain many times in my life where things sneak up on me like a ninja in furry slippers.
It’s as if circumstances appear out of nowhere - but if you’re self-aware, there is hope because there are signs and signals you can look out for. And prevention is so much easier than recovery.
For example, it’s over 20 years ago now that I got M.E. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). Something that seemingly appeared out of the ether and seized control.
It took me 3 years to unravel from it and be well again.
And whilst I don’t really buy into regret, I take heed from lessons learnt and make every effort not to get caught out again.
What do I mean get caught out?
Well, I mean, this frog will always stop at regular intervals to check the water temperature!
“Take heed from lessons learnt and make every effort not to get caught out again. “
A Frog in a Pan
Many of my clients will have heard me refer to the anecdote of the frog in hot water…….
Apparently, if a frog is placed in hot water it will instantly jump out. However if a frog is placed in cold water and that water is gradually heated it will not be aware and will be slowly cooked to death.
Horrid, right? But a cautionary tale, nonetheless…
I must confess, I haven’t tested this on any frogs and certainly don’t intend to! However, whether the premise is true or not, this metaphor is one I return to again and again.
In a nutshell, the frog’s immediate response to the hot water represents a quick reaction to a sudden, noticeable change. In contrast, the frog’s failure to respond in the gradually heated water represents a lack of awareness or perception of the slowly changing conditions.
So from a human perspective, it demonstrates our tendency to overlook gradual changes in our environment or circumstances until they become significant or irreversible – making one hopping mad (see what I did there?)
Also, it’s telling of our ability to adapt and become accustomed to things that perhaps aren’t best for us in the long term.
So how do we identify what temperature the water is?
“We overlook gradual changes in our environment or circumstances until they become significant or irreversible.”
Most people have been told that if you are shallow breathing then you could well be in some kind of stress response.
The breath really is the key to your whole well-being. It connects directly to the health of the heart, the central nervous system and your oxygen supply needed to survive.
So take a deep breath.
Does it feel constricted at all?
Can you feel like you can even catch your breath now you are paying attention?
These are indications you are already in hot water.
We seldom really get ill unless we are compromised by stress, particularly cumulative stress (that gradual application of heat, my dear frog).
We know the body keeps the score on things from your life. So what is your body trying to tell you?
Headaches, sleep issues, chronic pain, illness…these are all a cry for attention from your body but are you listening?
You may be so used to it that it has become your ‘normal’. You may be medicating but is that addressing the root cause? A Body Scan Meditation is a perfect opportunity to check in.
“We know the body keeps the score on things from your life. So what is your body trying to tell you?”
For some this is a new realm entirely but it is here the water is dark and deep as well as hot.
Are you living your life how you want to?
Is your heart open?
Do you feel energised and joyful?
Do you feel congruent or aligned?
Have you ever even asked yourself these questions or are you on some kind of autopilot mode? If so you may well be in hot water.
In coaching we often work with a tool called Wheel of Life. It is a great starting point. If you’re curious, read on.
Your Inner Frog
So what now you have discovered whilst channelling your inner frog – is it that you’re in hot water?
Firstly you now know something you didn’t know, this is new knowledge!
Now you jump!
For some, the knowledge alone is enough and it means you can take that action. You may be able to self-resource.
For others it may not be so easy. You may be too tired or scalded to jump. You may need a leg up or support. Everyone is different.