Have you ever had something happen that put reality sharply in focus — even if it wasn’t a big life-changing event?
One Saturday evening a few weeks ago, my weekend snapped to attention in 10 seconds. On this particular weekend, before going on a walk with a friend, I inadvertently locked my keys in the trunk of my car — along with my computer, phone, purse with drivers license, credit cards and cash, too.
It was a test. A chance. You’ve been there, too. Even when the consequences are minor, when stuff happens, managing the situation itself is just details. The real opportunity is in our capacity to manage ourselves.
What does that mean — managing yourself?
You could put it on a continuum, for example: From responsive to reactive, from even-tempered to overwrought, from calm to irritated to outright angry, from accepting to rejecting, from self-loving to self-critical.
There are layers. One is managing the situation. Another is even more important: How you treat yourself when it comes to how you handled the situation. It’s easy to stay in a Judgment Free Zone when you’ve handled something calmly, but what about when you haven’t?
Have you grown your capacity to stay in a Judgment Free Zone, as best as you can?
I bring up my moment of distraction because there was a time when I would not have manage myself effectively — and I would have been filled with self-judgment. Even “I can’t believe I did that” has an edge. In this case, it was ultimately a GREAT experience, from feeling merely unsettled to accepting what is, and finding the good.
That night I was cut off from the typical means of contact that we all take for granted — except old-fashioned face-to-face. With the help of friends and neighbors, things worked out, but it took well into the next day — and in between I had a chance to time travel — back to times when there were no instantaneous answers: No phones, or computers or world-wide web. No drivers license, no credit cards or cash to pay for anything.
What a delight! No email. No Facebook. No looking up funny videos or political stuff on YouTube. No phone ringing or temptations to make a call. No work (I couldn’t even post my podcast — first time in three years, though I did catch up later)!
This kind of vacation is something I’m going do more often, and I won’t even have to lock the car keys in the trunk to make it happen!
Would you rather HEAR this than read it — and practice a stress-reducing exercise, too? CLICK HERE for a podcast on this topic.