Emotional energy is currency in our everyday experience, whether or not we consciously realize it. This is a message that has been impressed upon me repeatedly this week in personal relationships as well as an incident that occurred this morning.
As I went to pick up a coffee from Wegmans (I lost power at my place overnight due to a wind and snow storm), I lost control of my car as I was turning into the parking lot. Words fall short of describing that helpless feeling as you watch yourself careen toward a median and a pole, thinking of the hundreds or thousands of dollars in damages you are about to incur, not to mention any bodily injuries. I was not going fast, and although I did hit the curb of the median pretty hard, I did not see any damage to the car when I examined it. I counted my lucky stars that there was no damage to the car or myself, but I was pretty shaken up. I went into Wegmans, actually shaking, also stewing in the experience, because it is April and by my own clock, winter should be well over.
I went inside the store, paid for my coffee, and sat in the cafe area to calm down for a while. I tried to direct my attention toward the warmth inside the store (the temperature inside my apartment got all the way down to 55 overnight). I wanted to do a number of things to express my frustration, including talk about it on social media or message multiple friends and family members. I did tell a couple of people, but stopped there and decided to take no further action until I had calmed completely. As I waited for myself to reach that inner state of peace, some work e-mails captured my attention, as well as an effort my friend is participating in to end the dog and cat meat trade in Asia. I directed my energy toward those things in a productive manner and found that I felt much better, no venting necessary. I realized how lucky I was that no other cars had been present where I lost control, that I didn’t damage anything, and that I could proceed with the rest of my day as usual. This redirection and gratitude helped set the tone for the day to still be a good one, despite what happened.
It could have gone very differently, had I not taken the time to pause and consider before acting. The energy I had budgeted for the day could have been quickly depleted by my being too much in my anger and resentment of weather, something which I have no control over. Many times in the past, I was not conscious of the alternate (and more positive) realities I could create simply by being in control of my emotions. I was not aware of the energetic currency I could preserve by responding instead of reacting. Often it was the other way around – my emotions ruling me – I took out my feelings on people, or handled stressful situations in ways that made them more frustrating. I created situations that required more energetic currency than I had. As a result of the inner work I have done since, I have fully integrated the understanding that even though I cannot control how something makes me feel (at least not all the time), I can control how I use and direct that emotion and conserve my energy in the process.
I checked Twitter, and one of the people I follow had posted about how a lady had rear-ended her in traffic, but she got out of the car and hugged the lady rather than going off on her. Such a response, a seemingly small gesture, can turn everything around. It gives me faith that as a collective, we are shedding the need to react on the first impulse to certain situations and instead responding with compassion. We cannot know the inner world of another or the battles they face daily – and we all battle. We may not all show this externally, but after how many people I have talked to, be it through my work or in a casual setting, I am convinced that everyone faces some inner turmoil that escapes words. Even the person who seems to have it all together, who has all the things you think you want, has awful days, days where they don’t want to get out of bed. These days may be rarer for some than others, but they still happen.
These battles that we feel urged to participate in can be surrounding a number of things. Some days feel like a constant stream of unfortunate events. Everywhere we look, something is grabbing for our attention. Negative news stories are much more prevalent than positive ones. Smart phones make it easier than ever before for people to reach us, and their intentions aren’t always to spread peace or contribute something good to our lives. People misunderstand us, we believe we are to explain ourselves or change before we are ready, and this creates more stress. We forget that we cannot control others or the external; we expend precious energy trying to do so, trying to hold on to things and people that do not serve us. That energy would be much better spent within, on what we can control. Deep down we know this, but with how quickly things move from day to day and because we are not taught to make time to go within, we find ourselves responding from our base instincts, patterns, and wounds.
I realized that I cannot possibly fill up my own cup if my energy is leaking toward things that ultimately do not matter in my story. Life truly is a story, and we have the ability to create it consciously. In our forgetfulness, we run on auto-pilot.
Some perceive it as coldness or having walls up if you have become seasoned in conserving your own energy. The idea of what love is has become so distorted that we do not recognize true love, or perceive it as that. Many see abuse as love, and actions motivated by love as abuse, frigidity, or mistreatment. We cannot control how others see us, as much as we would like to. In my own experience, for each person that I have “lost” because we did not vibrate similarly, a space was created for others who do think more like me, who understand the love I give, who love me without a need to change me.
I would like to extend a sincere “thank you” to the guardian angel who was watching over me this morning, for not only saving me, but sparing me the frustration of dealing with insurance companies and body shops! There is always something to appreciate. There is always someone who needs our compassion. There is always something better for each thing or person we lose. It is only a matter of remembering this, which can be accomplished by The Pause.