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When Things Go Bad: 2 Solutions To Redirect Your Unconscious Behavior

In a poem, the ancient Chinese poet Yu Xin states, “Behind the rock in the dark probably hides a tiger, and the coiling giant root resembles a crouching dragon.” The term “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is a translation of a Chinese idiom that simply means “talented or extraordinary people hidden from view.”

We all have an energy, experience, or emotion we are hiding from in life. Fear, confrontation, shame, anger, and sadness are always lurking behind our coiled roots. Everyone has a raw nerve or dire situation that triggers a hasty retreat for the safety of his or her most comforting distractions.

Distractions are the unconscious, repetitive, often self-destructive cycles of behavior that rob you of living your soul signature. Drinking, eating, shopping, gambling, working, the Internet, and social networking are activities that can drain your abundant life force. If you keep running from your dark unseen monsters, you may remain safely in the shadows, full of potential that may never see the light of day.

You can break the cycle and step into brilliance by choosing awareness over avoidance and distraction.


After laboring tirelessly on a key project at work, you get passed over for a long awaited promotion. Instead of being available to the energy of rage you feel, you run to the fridge to replace frustration, discomfort, and humiliation with half a leftover pizza and a bottle of Merlot. By taking a beat and recognizing your actions – “Wait. I’m eating and drinking because beneath my anger, I’m hurt by the rejection” – you consciously take the first step to end the destructive cycle. When you slow down and take a breath, you become cognizant of the fact that the food and wine only serve as a Band-Aid on a deeper emotional wound. You come into the awareness of why you’re angry about losing the promotion and understand why you ran to your distraction.


The awareness of your distraction allows you to be available for what’s transpiring inside of you. Stop, breathe, and get present to what you’re truly feeling. This pause is a conscious disruptor – the moment of truth that awakens you from your slumbering state of avoidance. When you add conscious awareness to an unconscious pattern, either before the behavior or during it, you're disrupting the frenetic cycle of distraction with mindfulness.

In your dark places, there are tigers you must face. Some giant roots may look like dragons, but they’re just a shaded part of a beautiful tree. Until we consciously disrupt our distracting behavior, allow our authentic soul signature to shine without shadow, and become fully aware of the places we turn when our rage, panic, and heartbreak take hold, we will remain “talented, extraordinary people hidden from view.”