This morning I lost my temper. Unexpectedly and quite spectacularly. I experienced what my wife wryly calls a ‘diary malfunction’ – I learned I had accidentally arranged an important video call with a brand new client into a slot when the house (and quite likely my office) would be overrun by a gaggle of summer holiday-excited, 8 year old girls.
An easy enough mistake to make—just one overlooked check box on my calendar’s booking system—but the intensity of my frustration most likely stemmed from the fact that this was the second time I’d booked a client into that very slot, and I still hadn’t learned my lesson.
The air turned blue and my wife and daughter fled downstairs for cover, while I raged at my own stupidity.
Thankfully, my daughter is a miniature Zen-master, and a fearless one at that – she came running straight back upstairs, to tease me: “Dad, what are you doing?! Don’t you teach people not to be angry for your job? Why are you letting this bother you?!”
Her audacity, curiosity and delightful take on ‘what Dad does’ made me chuckle too and gave me cause to reflect. The brief flash of anger had already passed, it wasn’t a problem now, but nor was it a problem then, either, which I explained.
You see, I’ve learned that any feelings that arise, are ok, however strong. I’m not in control of them—I certainly wouldn’t have chosen to fly off the handle like that—but I can understand them, and what they’re telling me.
I experienced white hot anger in that moment, because in that moment I was very strongly attached to thought. In that moment, fantastically real-looking thoughts of inadequacy and ineptitude were being believed. In that moment, beautifully ornate future thought creations of consequences and of what other people might think of me, were being taken really seriously.
And in that very same moment, life in all its glory was waiting patiently, utterly indifferent to the war being waged in my head.
When we’re lost in a thought-scape of our own making, believing it to be true, we suffer. Indeed, this is why we suffer: to point us away from thought and back to life. To wake us from our day-mare and return our attention to the Now.
Not all that long ago, I’d have stayed in those thoughts, maybe for hours, and as a consequence I’d have procrastinated on resolving the diary clash (thereby making it worse), and ruined the morning’s productivity by endlessly debating my self-worth; feeling miserable the entire time.
As it was, since having realised the innate wisdom of all such emotions, it was gone as quickly as it came; the obvious solution had been dispatched and the whole debacle was sorted, and forgotten, in minutes.
None of the feelings you experience are a problem – they’re all evidence of the human operating system working perfectly. It’s only ever the mind that will try and convince you otherwise… something I promise I will gently be reminding my daughter of, the next time she blows a gasket.
If you’d like to be able to better handle your emotions, in a way that’s easy, lighthearted and long-lasting, then get in touch with me via gilespcroft.com/contact and we’ll take it from there.
Dr Giles P Croft
Healing • Coaching • Speaking