Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Eating an Elephant

 "How do you eat an elephant?"       

"One bite at a time!"

It is silly but holds so much good advice for every part of life.  This week I've committed to not only watering our plants first thing in the morning, but also doing some weeding.  It doesn't have to be tons, but some. This morning, though I wasn't that motivated to do it, I started watering and had almost talked myself out of weeding when guilt took over.  By the time I had taken my body to its limit, something amazing happened.  I felt so much better.  My backyard needs a lot of work and has shouldered a lot of neglect this year, but it didn't feel doomed.  And the thought that I would come back in a day or two and do a little bit more just energized me.

Emotions, just like Oklahoma weather, are bound to change if you give it a little time.  My habit is to tackle (or maybe endure) something full force and then when I stop, put it completely out of my mind until it becomes a fire again that forces itself onto me.  That approach is mere survival and is more like a spasm than anything and only reoccurs, usually worse. What I'm thinking today is that my emotional control is no different than weeds.  If I monitor my emotions regularly - not just when things seem out of control - I will find handling an out of control situation a lot easier.  I guess anything unhealthy or sinful is managed a lot easier when monitored regularly rather than only thought about in the heat of a tempting moment.

Little things and big things seem to morph into elephant size over night, in our heads at least.  Overwhelming tasks can quickly cause you to quit altogether because it all just seems too much to handle.  If we (I) would only recognize that the only way things get better is one step or bite at a time, real growth and improvement would be inevitable.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Emotional Control

This week I'm looking for feedback, if you have any.  I have just over 3 months left before my life changes forever and there are some things that need to be addressed in my life. Besides benefiting my relationships with everyone, its just not an attribute I want my kids to learn from me.  So, this week the topic of controlling one's emotions will be the focus.

Like a lot of things, if this control is learned early on as a child, its not really thought about much as an adult because it is automatic most of the time.  In my case, I never learned it (or it never stuck) to the degree that I'd like.  For a while, I attempted to fix the issue by trying to ensure ideal circumstances.  Since I'm more emotional when I haven't gotten enough sleep, eaten well, or kept my stress to a minimum, it makes sense that ensuring I get all of those things would ensure emotional control, right? In theory, yes.  But, as we all know, no matter how hard we try to control our little world, there always comes moments and days of chaos that we could never have planned for.  So, what then?

It is easy to maintain control when there is order and peace.  It is the moments of sudden, unexpected hurts combined with others' high emotions and a broken appliance or freak accident thrown into the mix that emotional control can feel like an impossibility.  Those of you who excel at keeping a cool head in the middle of all this, how do you do it?  Aside from the obvious "That's how my parent was" or "I don't know. Freaking out just didn't seem to be helpful", are there specific choices or thoughts that help you re-direct unhelpful, rash emotions?

The ability to experience feel emotions deeply can be a beautiful thing.  Those without it miss out on amazing things in the world.  So, to be clear, I don't view emotions as something to be stamped out, but they can be a hazard in someone who hasn't learned how to control them adequately (me!).  Thoughts?