Allison’s 22 year-old daughter is standing her up for Thanksgiving. Or so she thinks.
The true facts: It is 2 days before Thanksgiving and Sally, the daughter, hasn’t returned Allison’s calls nor responded to messages on Facebook for the last 4 days. Allison has an agenda/expectation that Sally SHOULD respond, so Allison can ask a few important questions: What special dish can I make you? Are you bringing a friend? Is the friend vegetarian? Allison feels these are normal, sane questions and expectations. No, actually, Allison is absolutely CONVINCED these are normal, sane questions and expectations.
Allison worries. Thoughts like She’s in trouble. She’s mad at me. She is so disrespectful and I should have called her on it last time this happened. I can’t stand this. Now what am I supposed to do?
Allison loses some of last night’s sleep stewing about it. Decides to have some extra coffee and a muffin on top of her normal breakfast – after all, she’s tired and she deserves a little something to help her get through the busy day-before-Thanksgiving.
The extra coffee and sugar zing her tired adrenal glands and blood sugar. Up she goes into a whirl of energy. She forgets her list, remembers this when she pushes the cart through the Hannaford’s door, says OH SHIT too loud, stomps out, drives home, gets the list, drives too fast back to the store
How does the rest of the day go?
What do you think she bought to eat in the grocery store because she “deserved something” or “needed something?”
How Should It Be?
When we have a picture of how it SHOULD be, we have forgotten several key truths. #1. We’re not in control of all the factors in the universe. #2. We never really know what it’s like to be another person. #3. No matter what we think and predict, it won’t be like that, because we can’t envision the future.
(this is a fun game to play with yourself: deliberately predict a future event, and compare how it actually turns out with your prediction)
There’s a key spiritual principle here: How it IS is how it SHOULD be.
In Buddhist teachings, this is the teaching of karma: zillions of causes and conditions come together in THIS one moment creating THIS, however it is right now.
And what we are in charge of is NOT how it is right now, but how we RESPOND or REACT.
And in Christian teachings, there is the Serenity Prayer:
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
(Interesting that in all the 12-step programs of recovery from addiction, the Serenity Prayer is said at each meeting)
So if it is in-the-present-moment where we actually have the possibility of real choice, what can wake us up to that? Good ol’ suffering, of course.
Hearing all the SHOULDS. Feeling the controlling feeling in her bodymind: tight jaw, mind so sure of itself. Noticing her emotional state: worrying, blaming, resenting.
If Allison had been able to at any point in her moments of struggle realize that she really was suffering and she really did not want to be suffering, she could have
- taken a breath
- made a phone call to a support person
- said the most basic of prayers: HELP!
- broken the spell of the Reactivity
- made some difference choices
|Your Body Speaks Journal
What You Have Been Waiting ForA Great Tool For Healing!!!