After more than a year, I'm the first to say, it's neither boring or stupid. In fact, nearly every meeting I hear something new in it, something significant jumps forward, making an impression.
Today it was the passage in the invitation that says (roughly paraphrased): we learn to act on the things that happen in our lives rather than react to them. I immediately thought about last night and applied those words to the situation, trying to imagine how I could have acted on rather than reacting to. Here's what happened.
Late yesterday afternoon, my husband and I went to a multi-family barn/garage sale. I'm hyper-aware right now of all my stuff and am trying to lighten my load. My husband is a hoarder and compulsive shopper. Yep, lots of stuff there for him. He kept finding one more irresistible bargain until he had what seemed to be a mountain of stuff, a whole car trunk full. My irritation grew accordingly until it was a correspondingly-sized mountain of anger, criticism, judgements and resentments.
But knowing what happens if I show him my anger, I tried as best I could to keep the lid on it. I did say that the large, multiple-holder,
Next we went out to dinner at an upscale Mexican-SW restaurant that was really busy. Chips were served immediately and we ordered. Ate the chips, all of them. They brought another basket of chips. Ate them too. Ate the dinner as well when it finally arrived. Went home stuffed, uncomfortable, reaching for the now infrequently needed Tums.
What was I doing?
- I was over eating.
- I was compulsively over eating.
- I was mindlessly over eating, seeking to numb myself I suppose.
- I was reacting to my husband buying more stuff.
- I was reacting to the delay in getting our food.
- I was reacting to stuffed anger and resentment.
A few possibilities for acting on the garage sale situation.
- Say the serenity prayer to myself. Pray for serenity.
- Think about what I can change... maybe my attitude.
- Think about what I can not change... maybe his habit of accumulating more stuff.
- Think about what I could ask him to change at this time... maybe ask him if he would put back half of the stuff.
- Speak about my anger, not directing it at him, but asking him if he understands that bringing more stuff to our home upsets me, even when it's nice or useful.
- Knowing of his tendency in advance, perhaps I could have made a bargain before we got there, an agreement that we would each get so many "tickets" (good for buying one thing per ticket), whatever we could agree on. Then maybe I could give him one of mine.
- Once we departed, recognizing my anger, name it, bring forward forgiveness, remember anger never solves problems, recognize that I'll probably want to eat compulsively because of it.
And the delay at the restaurant?
- Yikes, I don't know... how could I act rather than react? Well, first I'd have to recognize that I was reacting, that eating chips was reacting.
- Make a conscious effort to be mindful about each chip.
- Name what I'm doing... "I am compulsively eating these chips."
- Make a conscious effort to ask myself, "Why am I compulsively eating these chips?" And then, "Is it really helping the situation?"