Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mar 6: Don't Go There

One of my favorite movies is "The Fantastic Mr. Fox."  And one of my favorite lines is when Ash says "There are a lot of attitudes going on around here.  Don't let me get one."  Living in a big family, you get used to having a lot of attitudes around.  He is grumpy because his truck is acting up, she is worried because the electricity might get shut off, she is peaceful because she just meditated, she is tired because she's been working, she is happy because a cute boy talked to her today, he is excited because his friend is coming over.  There are so many emotions, feelings, and thoughts going on within one household at one time, that we are bond to bump, collide, and rub off on each other.  If we are lucky, it is the good moods that become contagious.  But more often than not, it is the bad moods that spread... like a virus.  Family, more than anyone else, knows how to push us over the edge with the least amount of effort.  A simple phrase or look can send us into a "self-destructive rage spiral."  Yesterday I was reading "Eat, Pray, Love," (again) and she mentions how her guru recommends not letting yourself fall apart too often, because it becomes a habit.  That instead, we should practice staying strong.  At first I thought this was kind of harsh.  We all need to fall apart sometimes, don't we?  It's healthy to have a good cry, right?  Well today I almost fell apart.  It was over something that started small and escalated quickly.  I drove away from the situation, thinking I would go to a park, have a heavy conversation with myself, maybe cry for awhile.  But instead I drove straight to my best friends' house.  I didn't have my cell, so I couldn't call ahead and see if she was there, or warn her that I was a wreck.  I just showed up thinking, well, if she isn't here I'll go with plan A.  But she was there.  And though I did vent for a couple minutes, my problems seemed very small and petty compared to all that she is dealing with.  She is a single mother of two young children, living at her parents' house, dealing with an ex, and going to school full time.  I felt pretty stupid, getting so upset over something that really wasn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things.  By the time I left, I was really glad that I didn't let myself fall apart.  Why go there?  Why indulge in that when it was a beautiful day, I was strong and healthy, I have family and friends who love me, I have talents and pleasures and so much to be grateful for and to look forward to?  I believe we have more control over our thoughts and feelings than we sometimes realize.  Life is too precious to waste one minute of it in despair, anger, regret, worry, or anything else that doesn't help us or those around us.  So next time you feel yourself on the verge of a powerful and destructive emotion, consider what good it will do to let yourself go there.  And then, just maybe, choose not to go at all.

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