Monday, September 16, 2013

Acceptance and awareness

Over the last few years, I've noticed certain situations recurring.

And I've noticed that my response has changed.

Sometimes it's good to fight what's happening, to raise hell, to stand up for one's values. Other times it's better to just observe and see how the whole story plays out, almost like a movie.

What is bizarre is that 'observing' and just being aware seems almost counter-intuitive, but every time I've done so, the results are never what I thought they would be.

We often have such a knee-jerk reaction to so many things, that to sit and do nothing, sometimes in the face of discomfort is the most absurd, irrational idea but it works.

Here's how I've changed my life:

- On a daily basis, whenever someone gives me a 'bad drive' here in Trinidad (which you know happens here alot), I just let them go ahead of me, pull back and drive slower. Two things happen - I avoid an accident and I feel at peace, I even say a prayer for the dangerous driver to be careful. And guess what? My day is not ruined. I feel fine. Sometimes I get a little irritated but I'm not screaming and shouting obscenities at the top of my lungs.

- Redefining stress - read an article a few weeks ago that if we accept stress as a part of life and try our best to deal with it that we will actually live longer, healthier lives. So now, stress is my friend and we talk and laugh about our relationship all the time. We meet for coffee once a week and discuss where we can improve.

- Wait and see - rather than fly off the handle in any situation, or letting my feelings get the better of me, I wait to see what is the best response before I answer. Sometimes it's better to not say anything at all. For the sake of peace at least.

- Picong and Fatigue (Caribbean teasing and banter) - I've come to realize that when my students give me talk, it's for me to ignore it, unless they're being rude, kids like to test adults (took me a while to learn that one). And I've noticed that my football friends give a lot of 'fatigue' talk during a match, it's really a technique done to ruin the opponents' game, instead to getting angry, now I join in whenever necessary, it's relieves stress (my new best friend).

- Whenever I find myself spiralling down into a well of worry, I try to think how to objectively get things done, and tell the Lord that I don't know where I'm going, but lead the way. That usually works.

- And last, I'm looking at any difficult situation as a process where I can learn to be a better 'me' at the end of it. Because nothing, no situation lasts forever.

So far, so good in this new way of thinking.

I think the key to a well-balanced mind is acceptance of all that's around us, and being aware of what impacts on our life and what exactly we will to allow have an impact on us.

Change what we can, accept what we can't and know the difference.

Seems simple enough, but really hard to do.