I’ve promised myself that I am going to write everyday. I’ve promised to come back to the page, and write it all down - in the hopes that my journey will help you or someone else on their own too. It doesn’t mean its easy to show up authentically and raw, but its all a necessary part of my healing process I think. One that I suppose I will share with you fluidly over the next several months. Today I’ve been considering surrender and reactivity, and thinking about how we live in a society that is go go go, and all about confrontation. There is no such thing as positive intent or benefit of the doubt. We react. We get angry and upset, and we lash out. I’m guilty too - don’t worry.
A perfect example was today, while I was happily walking my dog through the park. Headphones in, Marie Forleo and Danielle Laporte riffing on some juicy topics, Rolo (our youngest dog) happily trotting along beside me, smelling the fresh cut grass and exploring all the new scents spring and a sunny day after rain brings. And he barks. Two times. Only two because this fed up doggie mama finally admitted to herself that he wouldn’t stop barking without a little help from some special equipment. So he barks. Twice. At a little girl on her scooter. She's cute as can be, and I get him seated beside me and go to pull out my headphones to apologize and assure little one and her mama he's a big suck, and loves to give big slobbery kisses.
But instead of my usual kind banter, the tiny humans mother decides to fly off the handle. She called me every name under the sun, threatened to physically injure me (in not so grammatically correct terms), and call animal control on my vicious, uncontrollable dog (who by this time was sitting quietly beside me waiting for my permission to go kiss the tiny human).
She continued yelling as I tried to get a word in, and told me to keep walking before she kicked my ass. I walked away fighting back tears, shaking and cursing under my breath. Rerouting our walk in the way I know will get us home fast. And I get home and start yelling about my experience, freaking out, shaking and crying wondering how people can be so rude, reactive and genuinely cruel. Considering calling child protective services on this mother saying things I wouldn't say to another adult let alone in front of a tiny human, or the police because I’m pretty sure it was verbal assault … but instead, I vented to a girlfriend. Who reminded me that although COMPLETELY unacceptable and unreasonable considering the circumstances, that clearly there was something else going on in this woman’s life. So I cried it out, vented it out and started writing. But I reacted too.
I chose to allow her reaction and blatant disregard for other peoples feelings as a personal offence to my character, and my fur baby (I’m a dog mama, don’t mess with my fur babies). I chose to be hurt, scared, and offended. I chose to let her words harm my psyche and affect my attitude to an otherwise perfect day. We have the ability to choose. We have the ability to choose to not react. Unlike Rolo, who goes on instinct and reacts to fear because that’s how he is genetically and evolutionarily been taught to react. We as humans, can choose to react or to walk away. We can choose to see the other side, to accept that its not about us, and to allow ourselves to approach situations with a sense of calm. It doesn’t have to be about fight or flight. It can just be about acceptance and walking away to enjoy the rest of our day. It can be about surrendering to the fact that we have NO control over how other people perceive us (or our fur babies), or to how they react. As hard as that can be.
But ultimately, we are in control of our emotions and reactions. And when we do stray and get upset, we can reset and take a few moments to connect back to ourselves.