Like alot of people these days, I finally snapped.
Last week my partner and I went to see the local holiday lights. He arrived at my home with car trouble and was understandably preoccupied with that. I suggested we take my car and he preferred to take his so he could spend some time listening to his car as we drove. As we bounced our way to the holiday lights, we both suspected the problem was with the rear suspension system. The car ride was a reminder of how life changes on a dime. Finding out where to take it the next day – Christmas Eve – was worrisome. I felt a bit at odds with the world.
As we walked through the neighborhood, I felt uptight. It was too warm for December. There were so many people with little kids. Nature was also calling and I frantically searched for the porta potties! After walking for a bit, we decided to cut it short and head out for dinner at one of our favorite hangouts. We arrived, ordered drinks, and once they arrived, we sat back and sipped them quietly. The restaurant was crowded and all the doors were wide open. It was a warm evening in Tucson. We learned that our server had not been vaccinated. She was reluctantly wearing a mask – fortunately all the servers are required to do so. I felt annoyed.
During dinner, we figured out a plan for his car. As we were finishing up, we heard a brawl break out on the other side of the restaurant. I was so angry with this turn of events. Instead of acting wisely, I got up and approached the area where the fight was occurring. I screamed a few times “shut the “f…” up – get out of here, stop ruining all of our evenings.” The bartender asked me to calm down and to go back to my table. I realized in that moment that I was out of control. I had gone too far. I went back to our table and my partner was shaking his head – what the heck had just happened? I had put myself, my partner and others at risk – there could have been a gun. I was horrified with my behavior.
I think that the discordant realities of our times hit me … like a fire in my belly … my reptilian brain took over. In a moment, I lost my composure and common sense. And it was more than the car troubles and the familiar holiday stresses. It was about “all of it”. The omicron variant, the tension about vaccines, the reality of masks, rising hospitalizations, airline cancellations, political divisions. All of these factors are simmering and compounding daily within and around us – in our psyches, our families, our communities, our country and around the world.
We are feeling the effects of the ongoing uncertainties of these unprecedented times.
These days we are living in a climate of doubt. Doubt is exacerbating the wide spread anxiety caused by two years of COVID, the fluctuating economy, and our institutions. Doubt depletes our reserves of self awareness and we wonder “Who is going to solve the myriad of problems we are facing?”Frequently it seems no one is doing anything.
As human beings, we will go through these horrible phases of doubt and fear. I now realize that in the moment i snapped, both fear and doubt had disrupted my internal senses of balance, self-awareness and self-acceptance. Since this incident, I have explored what self-acceptance might involve. It appears that I need to accept my quirky complicated humanity and all of the shadow material that is constantly lurking beneath the surface. My reptilian brain is wired to push for fight or flight. Paradoxically inside my brain, is also where I can find the tools for being more aware and cognizant of our human frailties.
There are tools that we can employ that will help us to be gentle and tender with ourselves. And with others. We can start anew each moment of each day to be a calming force in our world.
Today I took a box of candy to the restaurant and offered my apology. The bartender countered with an apology that I had to witness the fight. I learned that the folks who caused the fight were caught on camera and are not allowed back in the restaurant. I was happy to hear that I wasn’t caught on camera and am warmly welcomed back!
So out of something bad, came something good. And I am reminded to let there be peace on earth. And … let it begin with me! Who wants to join me?