Tag Archives: feeling

Living Awkward

via Daily Prompt: Awkward

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A few years ago we went to Poland to visit our son Jon’s in-laws. Part of the trip was a pilgrimmage to Auschwitz and a visit to the ancient salt mine at Wieliczka, and staying in the resort town of Zakopane. At the markets in Zakopane one of the features is Oszcypek, a locally made sheep milk cheese. One of our number bought a bag of this cheese, it was quite reasonably priced I was told. The next day we set off by train for the long journey back to Warsaw. Well it was winter, the train was modern and had excellent heating – you can see where this is going – and the bag of cheese was unfortuantely near an aircon vent. Oops!

Well, sheep cheese doesn’t go gooey, when warmed it separates. And so there was initially an impercptible drip. Eventually Lyn noticed a dampness on her beanie, and looked up to be hit on the face by the dripping cheese. As the photo shows, we all began the hunt for the leak, and to move the cheese from the vent. If that weren’t awkward enough, it was just a little embarrassing that a local university student was in the same compartment witnessing this rather inept event. We did laugh, but it was awkward. That beanie took a fair bit of washing to get rid of the smell! Now we fondly remember the moment as a funny travel story, it contributed to making the trip memorable.

I have reflected on the moment and realised that it was socially embarrassing because, well, who likes to smell like sheeps cheese? And who likes to appear incompetent in storing cheese in the first place? And who copes with an audience in such circumstances? Who hasn’t been asked in class to read and not been paying attention as to which page? Who hasn’t been caught out with a maths question in class? Who hasn’t had a socially embarrassing moment as a teenager? (Perhaps a hermit) Teenagers tend to laugh to cover embarrassment, but it can turn to ridicule which derives from anger, and then it gets ugly. But then adults do that too. Who hasn’t pointed out that a friend is wearing odd socks only to be told it was intentional, and thus realizing that one’s own awkwardness drove the question in the first place?

Awkwardness is sometimes defined by our own expectations of how we look, behave and present in social settings or specific circumstances like sport or work. But it can also be coloured by what we imagine or perceive to be what is socially acceptable, and shame can be an unfortunate driving force or response. Humour is a great response, especially the ability to laugh at ourselves. And, ย to have empathy. We’ve all been there, so what is the cost to us to ease the embarrassment of another? Exactly – nothing! And in that train there was no anger, there was no scapegoating, there was no fault finding. We laughed together, we were momentarily embarrassed, and then we made adjustments, even the student laughed and shared our feelings, which eased the situation.

I can’t imagine life not being awkward, things happen, and we cannot control every moment or make life perfect, we really do have to learn to live with awkward, but we can help each other in that endeavour, we can ease the shame, the pain, the embarrassment, the anger, we can make it easier for each other. There’s nothing wrong with the feeling, but we can help each other move through it.

Below is a superb TEDtalk by Brene Brown on shame, she nails it.

 

Paul,

pvcann.com

22 Comments

Filed under life, mindfulness, Trains, Travel

Grasping The Hot Coal

via Daily Prompt: Grasp

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The quote is often attributed to the Buddha, however, he never said it (see: fakebuddhaquotes.com). It is thought to have originated from the fifth century commentator Buddhaghosa who said: “By doing this you are like a man who wants to hit another and picks up a burning ember or excrement in his hand and so first burns himself or makes himself stink.” Visuddimagga 1X,23. At least the Quotery didn’t get it wrong.

What a great quote! Another great teacher, Jesus, once said “… do not let the sun go down on your anger …” So a similar perspective – don’t hang onto it.

Whichever quote you choose, the point is made, that anger grasped and held is toxic. We know that feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are, but when we hang onto one or another they change us. Science can now show how the hormones associated with anger, especially when suppressed or lacking expression, poison our system affecting us body, mind and soul. Stress, cardio, respiratory, muscle, blood, all deeply affected. Anger is normal in context, but to never express it or deal with it will affect our lives in every way. When anger becomes a pathology, a way of being, a default, it cripples us, and especially because in that way, we are most likely unaware of it. It can be difficult when anger is attached to identity issues, rejection, depression (anger turned inwards) suppressed gratification, bullying and so on. However, we must learn to let go, to set issues aside, to talk it through, to call for help, get a perspective, find a position of empathy and compassion, I find meditation forms very helpful. Anger isn’t wrong, just don’t hang onto it otherwise it will consume you. Besides, who wants to be defiend by anger?

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

28 Comments

Filed under life, mindfulness, psychology, self-development, Spirituality

What Do You See?

Premonition

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Back in the nineties I was working in a country high school. One Friday I passed one of the teachers in the stair well, and I greeted her, as I normally would have done on any day. She looked up, and nodded, I couldn’t make sense of her grunted, terse, ย reply. But I noted her eyes, black holes, pits that never ended, and it startled me. I commented to a couple of people who merely retorted that she was under pressure, her marriage was struggling, and she was always terse. But that’s not what bothered me, they were merely symptomatic, this was deep.

I left that afternoon with a heavy heart. It was a long weekend ahead and lots to do at home, so I turned my mind to the journey home. I spent Saturday around the farm and with the family. But all through Saturday I felt a deep pressure. I wasn’t ruminating. It was just there, and probably stemmed from my meeting in the stairwell. I felt that she was on edge, at risk.

Come Monday afternoon I told Lyn that I was feeling like something really bad had happened, but I didn’t know what, but that my colleague was in trouble. It was oppressive. At around 5.00 p.m. a friend rang me to ask if I was aware of the news around town, and I said I had no idea, but now my mind was racing. My friend replied that someone who was always scanning the short wave news, had picked up a police report of a death, something to do with the teacher and thought I should know. I realised immediately that my feeling was real.

I later rang the deputy principal and yes, the teacher had shot her husband then shot herself in a carefully planned action. She had her resolution, sadly. But I had had a premonition. It was painful knowing, and painful not being able to use the sense of it. It was what it was, and nothing could have been done (as my training tells me). The use of a premonition is not clear to me, but somehow I felt connected to a process no matter its outcome. It was a diferent level of awareness.

Paul,

pvcann.com

 

53 Comments

Filed under community, life, mindfulness, psychology