Yesterday, as I read through the paper, I found myself feeling a bit despondent.
Over the years, I have been taught to “sit with my emotions” in order to better understand them and observe my reactions. I find this very helpful as a coping strategy. It takes time, but giving myself this space of non-judgement, allows me to move forward relieved of resentment and anxiety. For the most part, once I can understand why I feel what I do, I can work to move on. And, yes, like everyone seeking a better quality of life, I work to improve my mental and physical health.
Reaction to outside stimuli, like the paper, TV, a friend with a different opinion on FB, is natural, but if you find yourself suffering from the anxiety provoked by your surroundings and your reactions, you may want to evaluate whether or not you have the ability to control these reactions. There are many ways to work on this, but I have long suggested the method which is nimbly explained in “Non-Violent Communication,” by Marshal Rosenberg, PhD. This method is not the same as positive thinking. Positive thinking, a different technique, involves a level of non-acknowledgement of the ills of this world. A different coping strategy all together, positive thinking has its place, but may not be satisfying to those seeking more answers at that moment in time.
This morning I read a beautiful parable which felt relevant at this moment when the news cycle is so jarring to many. Here is the link and I have cut and pasted it below as well. To me this represents a coping strategy more aligned with non-violent communication. We don’t have to react to every poke and prod. Sometimes we just need to flow like a river.
“JUN 28, 2015 BY CHARLIE AMBLER
Zen Story: Flow Like A River
There is the story of a young martial arts student who was under the tutelage of a famous master.
One day, the master was watching a practice session in the courtyard. He realized that the presence of the other students was interfering with the young man’s attempts to perfect his technique.
The master could sense the young man’s frustration. He went up to the young man and tapped him on his shoulder. “What’s the problem?” he inquired. “I don’t know”, said the youth, with a strained expression. “No matter how much I try, I am unable to execute the moves properly”. “Before you can master technique, you must understand harmony. Come with me, I will explain”, replied the master.
The teacher and student left the building and walked some distance into the woods until they came upon a stream. The master stood silently on the bank for several moments. Then he spoke. “Look at the stream,” he said. “There are rocks in its way. Does it slam into them out of frustration? It simply flows over and around them and moves on! Be like the water and you will know what harmony is.”
The young man took the master’s advice to heart. Soon, he was barely noticing the other students around him. Nothing could come in his way of executing the most perfect moves.”