Okay, so to a woman who shrieked in fury – cursing xo#%*gh!! then yells “This place is driving me crazy!!! ” all because when she pressed the soap pump, the soap did not come out. She appeared to be in her 40’s or maybe she’s in her 30’s but with such emotional outburst, add a quick 10 years in the aging process.
Another woman witnessing this angry woman nearby and my rolled eyes met mid-air and we both looked at each other for mutual assurance – it’s really not so bad, is it? – I had to comment “Life is Good”. Shrug. With a quiet nod, the other woman and I agreed. There are rough spots though, sure, but …
We both stared at this furious woman apparently enraged because the soap did not come out when she pressed the pump – each other thinking the same – what’s with this woman having a breakdown over such trivial occurrence. It’s just life. Your mother might have said – there are starving children in some parts of the world including some parts of this great country and kids with no soap in detention centers and you are losing it over this? Can you just count your blessings, girl? (have no right to be judgy I know… everybody has a bad day but … it’s only 9am)
Then as I quickly left the scene, the dark negative vibe being too much to bear – I felt that heavy vibe working like a repellent where she stood – nobody wanted to be in her space. Yet, though once out of the toxic space she occupied, I started to feel a deep sense of compassion for her. Anger is usually a manifestation of … fear. What is it that she fears? Initial disdain for someone going into hysterical rage over such little matter, then, turned to concern. What made that woman so angry over such a little matter ? Obviously, in her world, it’s not a small matter. Maybe it’s yet another insult to injury for her that particular morning ? A built-up of betrayal of expectations – cumulative effect of things not quite going exactly as she anticipated when this one little bump took her emotions over the threshold of tolerance? So maybe it really wasn’t about the soap or lack of it (actually there are many sinks so she just had to move over to one with soap – and maybe report the lack of it to the housekeeping…it’s cool). Why does she have to fume over what I see as no big deal … Could it be that she is enormously … stressed? Should we just shrug it off as PMS? Does stress have anything to do with your emotional health? And due to chronic or acute stress, is she perhaps not well rested?
Could it be that she’s really sleep deprived or has she been mistreated somewhere before she even got to this gym. OR ? What? Speculations and possibilities abound in the multitudes when a girl makes such an impression with that primordial scream and rant. In public.
Anger is an emotion that when tapped into positively, really gets us to ACT to make changes. It’s powerful and we are drawn to it for that reason – irritated and frustrated a two year old may rather just punch someone in fit of anger than … hold back and practice self-calming techniques to self-regulate and practice Ghandi like non-violence “Ahimsa” – and we’ve grown up since those days in the playground fighting over toys and turns at a playground – or have we not? Anger politically can be the energy, the force to overthrow repressive, authoritarian government for example. But anger, can also be channeled negatively as in road rage; abuse, grudge/revenge terrain of no-return … anger can be painful, destructive and unfortunately a self-perpetuating loop.
We have a choice – everybody gets angry when we feel that we are not respected but should one lash out against the less fortunate and the weak? Or even an inanimate object?
Is sleep deprivation making someone so cranky, popularly referred to as a … hot mess – more prone to breakdown over little challenges that we all face on daily basis ? And is that sleep deprivation caused by thoughts that are incessant and nagging at her? Is she unable to erase anxious thoughts ? Is she feeling insecure, unstable (with emotions), or in any way … uncontrollably angry?
We own all our emotions and to have the full range of human emotions like a painting using full pallet of colors – is what makes life, each, so enriching – BUT – like weather patterns it changes; the color palette changes and we are that artist to design and create a different picture. Best not to dwell and be consumed by the dark and hostile emotions but rather, find a practice to reconnect with your authentic true self of joy that is of birthright. That Self is patient, loving, and … beautiful. Hope she finds that beautiful Self within.
If I had to offer one gift from practice of yoga, that would be cultivation of equanimity … May she find that gift also – she only need to step out of the locker room, apparently driving her crazy – into a studio down the hall to find some peace. I promise that little monster inside you will be driven away once on the mat. It’s an invitation.
We have a choice.
In how we respond. We can be reactive to things not going exactly as we expected or planned. We have a choice in how we respond to stress. We can internalize it and suffer, grow more depressed and anxious as days wear on; we can be reactive and externalize it to destroy (things, people’s feelings, relationships, self-worth/image) OR I propose another choice – to accept and to connect with our inner strength and resources; then connect with others, our human tribe. There’s kindness, there’s compassion in the hearts of many. I have faith in our humanity. Shift your perspective – If everything turned out exactly as we planned, how boring might that look like? It’s then not a journey of unknown destinations full of surprises and new learning. Rather now it’s a fake dream destination – now just a tourists’ trap, just another mediocre program. measured and exacting with an end-result we coded like for a robot – I rather that – the life we weave is more textured, more lush, more enticing, more enriching, more and more … just so much more than that.
May you liberate your mind from toxic limitations where irritations and frustrations enslave your mind from acting out the heart’s true desire to be calm even in face of adversity – remaining kind, generous and abundant with … love. Maybe shift the mindset to seize the unexpected moment as a teachable – learn-able lesson to better prepare for an adventurous road of life ahead. That bumpy road is filled with joy as much as misery sometimes but … it’s one of many dream destinations.
It’s really not so bad – I can get you some soap.
If there’s a next time.
It’s crazy loud and Tokyo Shibuya-ish crowded as the vibe intensifies … but you can still find peace within. It’s always there within. In a crowd. In a loud turbulent place. Anywhere. Just reach inward and you will find it, that peace, that harmony that resides within.