This morning I was running late. Late meaning instead of having half an hour to write in a café before work I was going to have fifteen minutes.
When I’m running late, I feel disorganized, as if I have lost control – instead of appearing intentional, I worry I appear frazzled. The feeling of running late, then, permeates how I feel about what I’m on my way to do. The day of the meeting for the project I’ve been working on becomes infused with negative anxiety versus positive anticipation. Obvious in retrospect, it took me a while to figure out that it was the domino effect from running late that I was responding to. Does this mean I have successfully managed to never run late? Obviously not. But the discovery has enabled me, on the good days, to at least intellectually separate how I feel about my impending day from the anxiety I feel as a result of running late.
Though how often do we stop to ask ourselves what we are responding to in an effort to separate ourselves from the moment? Is it a comment that reminds us of a previous boss we couldn’t stand? Is it a mannerism similar to one of our parents?
If we can separate out the connection between what is bothering us and our larger experience, we will likely not remove the burden of the uncomfortable feeling, but we can intellectually understand our response and do what we can to prevent it.