Freight Train or Gentle Grace?

It’s felt like a rough day. I’ve stood up for myself and my principles and had to take some hits on that. The result has been an inadvertent stepping into old emotional patterns that got triggered and the consequent struggle to rise above them.

So why am I posting about this? I am posting about this, because it seems to be a thing that I am running into with like-minded people who are also trying to rise above all that old triggered nonsense. The limbic system takes us into its good old fight or flight mechanism, and the habitual feelings are there, waiting to be acted on.

When I was much younger than I am today, similar situations would spiral me down into a feeling of learned helplessness. These days I am strong enough to speak a truth without carrying the emotion to fight or flight. I speak my truth, because to not do so, would be to repress those feelings, and a downward spiral into how I used to be. The consequences used to be feelings of powerlessness and depression. Yes, I did grow up in a dysfunctional home, so there were patterns already in place. But that is neither here or now.

There is another pattern, called learned industriousness. These days, I take that negative emotional energy and find useful ways to channel it. Today I mowed the lawn and pulled some weeds, then took a long walk in Nature. The balm of Nature can sooth whatever ails ya! Then I also sat with my Journal for a good half hour sorting through my thoughts about the accusations that were made to see if they held any basis in reality for me. I take this time, because upon the advice of folks like Byron Katie, I do not want to waste further energy in what I term the Blame Game.

The Blame Game is when a person takes those hurt or angry feelings and projects them outward at someone or something else. To do that would waste energy I can utilize in creativity in continued anger and hostility. I limit that. When I find myself in this position – as today – I need to clear my own mind and heart by putting to rest those seeds of contention. I choose to rise above this. And in the process a lot of old emotional fertilizer got sorted out for me. The outward situation may not change. The person whom I got into it with, will most likely not change. But I can choose my reaction and my own behavior within the situation.

It has been a learning curve over the past few years to realize that certain personalities will not change. I have stepped back from changing myself in order to get along with or suit those personalities. Instead I peel back the layers of conditioned response – please to get along – and sit back just to witness what will happen if I don’t jump into the game the way I used to. Sometimes it hurts to recognize that the love someone professes is conditional; but that too is just a symptom of how they are and what they are prepared to experience.

It seems to me now that human love overall is conditional, based upon our wants and our needs and how we are trained to obtain those wants and needs in order to just get on with the stuff of life. We do meet those rare people who accept us for who we are, but mostly those relationships are fleeting and don’t touch us where we live. And that is okay too. At least we have touched something beyond the norm that gives us the grace to stand up and try harder.

I was reflecting on a gift given to me by my first pet, a cat that came to live with us when I was six or seven. This cat had one of those personalities that exuded affection without any expectation. Buffy gave me the gift of unconditional love. So I want to leave myself with that thought today. The gift of unconditional love: What does that feel like to offer someone else?

How many times have I been presented with such a gift and failed to see it? How would it feel to be aware of the presence of love in my life at all times? Not to expect or demand it of another person, but to simply be aware of the presence of grace in the quiet moments, whether it is a task offered from simple generosity, the sharing of a meal, the walking of the dog when I feel busy, or the quiet aspects of a partnership where each person picks up their end of the task without complaint or accusation. This consideration hits me where I live, so I think I’ll get on with it.


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