Have you ever had an out-of-body experience? A moment where you’re watching an overly-dramatic movie and YOU are the lead character?
I had one of those recently, in a Tommy’s supermarket parking lot in Dubrovnik, Croatia.
Looking back, there really wasn’t anything to be upset about. I’m living in paradise. But still, there I was, watching the lead character (aka me) screaming and slamming the car door. You might say I was having a tantrum. Overreacting.
What was all the raucous about?
I’ll back-track a little. Ironically, I (the character) was relaxed after a peaceful meditation practice that morning.
Will (my partner) and I needed a few things, so he suggested we run to the store. Together.
So off we went.
I use the term Tommy’s supermarket “parking lot” loosely because it’s more of a parking alley, where landing a space is akin to winning the lottery. And customers relate to getting a parking spot with the same enthusiasm as if they’ve had a big win.
So, we finally found a space, sandwiched between two cars whose drivers didn’t know the meaning of parking within the lines. By some miracle, we parked our car without removing a bumper or mirror.
Everything was looking up until Will uttered those fighting words: “Why don’t you run into the store and I’ll wait here?”
I snapped. How dare he tell me what to do? Looking back at the situation objectively, I was clearly not dancing to what was happening in the here and now. Obviously something from a different place and time was triggered. An exploration best left for therapy.
We are all human, and we’re going to get upset. Things won’t always go the way we want. We are not always going to land the perfect media placement. A reporter may be rude to us on the phone. Or it could be simple; you’re just having a bad day or a moment of insanity.
What I have learned through meditation is life happens. The question is: who are you going to BE?
At every turn in life, there is a lesson – even in the supermarket parking lot!
Remember, you’ll always get to choose the next part of your script.
As I turned back into Dr. Jekyll that day, I knew I had a choice. I could continue to stick my ground and play this overly-dramatic part, or I could stop the nonsense and return to being myself.
Guess what I chose?
Everything in life is a choice. We choose what to wear, what to eat and which route to take to work. We choose whether to sleep on our left side or on our back. We choose our shampoo, our shoes and whether to open the window or turn on the fan.
I am a designer and organizer and I hear people say, “That pile of papers just keeps on growing.” And, “My closet is a mess.” The reality is that they piled the papers by choice, (the papers didn’t pile themselves), and they did not pick up and hang up in their closet by choice. The closet did not make itself a mess.
What did you do? Hopefully, you chose to smile, and run in to the store and buy whatever you wanted! 😀
Hi Page – I chose to stop the nonsense!
As a therapist, I often talk with people about the power of choice and self-compassion. As humans we all have the potential to get derailed; to let our lizard brains take control for a moment.
The keys are awareness and ownership, a repair attempt with the other person if needed (“Hey, sorry about that…”) and at the end of it all, the ability to give yourself a break for making a mistake. Infusing humor into it all is just the cherry on top.
Love the baby image. We’ve all felt like that at one time or another.
Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT
The Toolbox at LisaKiftTherapy.com
Lisa – humor really is the cherry on top of everything in life!
Hi Drew-remember that famous question “can you be trained by the door ?”…it is always in my head.
Love your stories-keep them coming!