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To React or Respond - That is the Question


Is Mercury in Retrograde or What?

We all have days when things go wrong – some we can avoid and others not.  Today being Monday was one of those mornings when I needed to get into work for an early client.  I was there on time, but at 10 after the hour she wasn’t.  So texted, it had slipped her mind, and we rescheduled. 

So I came home only to find that my key wouldn’t work in the front door lock.  This lock has been sticky and odd for a while, and it seems to decide on a whim to allow a key to work or not.  I had left through that door using the same key, but it decided not to work when I got home.  Around to the side door I went and let myself in to deal with the other little tragedies of the morning. 

My computer has been particularly pesky, seizing all the time, so that was my morning challenge to resolve.  I actually think I had it figured out by lunchtime when I had to go back to the office for my next client.  So out the front door I went, putting my key in the lock, locking the door, only to find that the lock doesn’t want to let go of the key – it obviously likes it now! 

What to do? I couldn’t leave the house unlocked with a key in the lock, because it was a rather bold opportunity for someone to come in and steal us blind. And now I am waiting for the locksmith to remove the key from the lock before my evening client. Somehow, my computer seems to be up and working enough to get email, and a friend who also has been having similarly bizarre problems today said perhaps Mercury is in retrograde.  Supposedly when that happens one just has to go with the flow and not get too frustrated because things are happening to everyone.  Well, it isn’t in retrograde until the end of June so I don’t have that for an excuse.

What is important here? Things happen that get in the way during our daily lives.  If they happen to trigger a memory or emotion from the past, we can find ourselves making things all the worse for ourselves.  For example, if I were to have allowed myself to blame myself for my client not showing up this morning – after all I usually text her reminders but didn’t yesterday – then I could have started the morning out blaming me and feeling bad.  This then could have continued into my adventures with the faulty lock and key. I could be very upset and agitated by the situation, which would have caused me to become more careless in dealing with the lock and might have caused me to break off the key.  At this point it is a maybe whether there needs to be a new lock, but that would definitely have caused it.  So instead of shutting down, I reached out for help. 

Were all my decisions today good decisions? Maybe yes and maybe no; but the point is that I also didn’t spend any time blaming me for something beyond my control. So what makes the difference for you between an event that is an annoyance one day and tragedy the next?  Much of it is our own attitude and our sense of grounding and stability in ourselves.  If one is fully grounded and centered, life situations may be unpleasant but resolvable.  When one isn’t, it is easy to encounter emotional turmoil.  Why is this so? When we are ungrounded, our inner selves relate to other times when we felt the way we feel in that moment.  If I had felt that I was stupid for having the key stick in the lock, I would likely have linked in to a time in my past when I felt stupid and vulnerable.  That would have increased my sense of vulnerability today, and I would likely have become further ungrounded.

Give yourself a break.  If you are beginning to feel overwhelmed by annoying events, take a moment and center and ground yourself before acting. That little break can give you space to center yourself, recognize any emotional ties to the past that might get in your way, and breathe. Once grounded allow yourself to acknowledge emotions you are feeling so you are aware and awake. Sometimes the simple act of acknowledging fear or anger or anxiety can allow some of the tension to release and move you out of a fight or flight response. And when you are out of that reactive mode, you are then able to think again.

We all have things happen that seem to be piling up on purpose to give us a bad day. However, if you stop and think and ground, you will see that the only thing that has happened many times is the event itself, and everything else is the same.  I am the one who can control my emotional response, and I always have the choice of whether to react or respond - even if my lower self doesn’t always choose wisely.

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