“Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.”
As the month of October unfolds, the leaves turn bright colors, the sun casts shadows at a different angle, and the weather cools. I see oranges, and reds and yellows everywhere. People get very creative in carving their pumpkins. There is a kind of excitement in the air; of change. As I watch the changes unfolding from my morning window, I think of us as people, and what we want for our future and our children’s future. As I am sitting and contemplating, a client I recently worked with comes to mind because she too was concerned about her future and her son’s future.
She came in “worked up” about a recent incident. She was parked outside a client’s house while she spent an hour with her. She came back to her car and found a parking ticket on her windshield, and so went immediately to pay for it because there is a window of time where the amount of the ticket is less if you pay within 60 minutes. It turned out that she would have to appeal the ticket or pay a $25.00 fine. It made her angry because she would lose half of what she made.
As she was talking, I thought of her son who she also talks about as getting angry over little things. She worries about him and his anger. Recently he had an episode where he couldn’t find something, his karate belt, and felt “responsible” for its loss and responsible for it, as he needed it in a class where he would be a helper. I will come back to this in a minute.
As I go back to my client, I asked her who else or when else in her life did she feel something got taken away from her. She immediately said that her childhood got taken away from her. Her mother was frequently angry and was angry with her and was angry with her father. Her mother told her way too many things that a child doesn’t need to hear. And, when she was a young teen and baby sitting, her parents “borrowed” all the money she had made through babysitting and didn’t pay her back. As she spoke more, she also said that her mother would get very angry with her over little things and would call her irresponsible. One example was her fear over forgetting to turn on the oven when she got home from school, as her mother would get very angry with her. This woman felt very responsible for everything. When she was little, a lot was put on her shoulders. This was inappropriate for a child. She didn’t have the resources to deal with the pressure.
As I listened to her I told her that a child doesn’t have the ability to respond in a way that an adult does. Now she does have an ability to respond, and here is her son getting angry and feeling responsible for something which is out of context to finding his lost item (a karate belt).
She heard me. She realized that without realizing it, she was carrying forward a lineage of anger and inappropriate responsibility just as her mother did. She also sees now that she can break this cycle for her, and for her son.
How beautiful this little incident of the parking ticket was for her to see a pattern and to begin the process of changing and breaking the pattern for her future and for her son’s. We do create our future, and through perspective, and understanding, she can live in peace, the ability to respond, and have a future of love and clarity for her, her son, and his children, etc.
Healthy Eating and Lifestyle Tips:
In this blog is a story about how anger, with truth, can lead us to clarity and the ability to create a future and legacy that we want; one without pain and suffering.
I thought this time I would talk about a lifestyle tip that can also assist this process. As a general rule, I find that changing lifestyle patterns is very difficult for us. We know that eating healthy and exercise and helpful for our health and also for our whole outlook about life. I will share a lifestyle tip that I use that really helps.
Sometimes we do get stuck in reactive and angry feelings. Finding ways out can be difficult. We can forget that our bodies and our minds and thoughts are really one. So, if we use our body to dispel some of the toxic energy, it can help us on all levels.
I recommend if and when you get angry and triggered so that you are very reactive, go and take a brisk walk. If it is cold outside, dress warm, and go out and walk briskly, actively and purposefully. If you have to talk to yourself out loud while walking, go ahead and do so. Actively think about what triggered you as you are walking.
This way you are not stagnant, and the feelings move through you instead of just staying stuck within you. As you actively walk, think about the immediate trigger, and then take yourself back in time to an initial trigger; what happened when you were young or younger that was so hurtful. Talk yourself through the triggered anger as you thoroughly move your body and find the real reason for your anger, if possible. As you begin to feel tired in your body, and your mind is more restful, then ask yourself this question: what would someone else say or do who is not angry and ask yourself if you can do this also. What we are doing here is combining part of the non-reactive formula with the active walking. Try it; it is very helpful. And again, if you feel like it, drop me a line and let me know how it worked for you!