You know how people say it’s not the situation, it’s the way that you react to it that matters? Well, put simply, I’ve been like a human cat for most of my life. I run away from loud noises or bite people when forced into social interactions. “Conflict resolution” isn’t really in my vocabulary, and if it is, it’s me talking about how I’m not good at it.
But lately, I’ve been reacting to situations that are more tense than a bomb squad like the Dalai Lama.
The other day I had a lot on my mind and I was swelled up with stress like an angry bullfrog. And instead of blaming the situation itself like I normally do, instead of blaming anyone else (including but not limited to, the Starbucks barista or the guy who is walking way too slow in front of me) I said to myself, I need to do something about all the stress I’ve been experiencing because I can’t get this frustrated when something happens every day.
What?! I mean, really, where do I cash in my tickets for my adult points? I looked at my life and took responsibility for my own actions. I realized that my reactions needed to change, not the situation. (A trick that only took a quarter of a century to learn!) It felt uncomfortable and good to do this, all at the same time, like wearing your favorite sweater that’s way warm but so itchy.
And this made me really think about how we communicate with our world. As much as I wouldn’t prefer to be numb, we really do need a thicker skin to get through life. Because when we let in the chaos from the outside world, we can’t distinguish between the two. And if we form a core of calm, we can float above it all, like when you hold your breath in a swimming pool and let your body rise to the top.
In the end, chaos is only chaos when you give yourself over to it, when you don’t pay attention to how you’re reacting to a situation. And being calm is only calm when it starts inside yourself and radiates out. And everything in between? That’s life. And you’ve got to keep it balanced.