Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Strategy of Calm



Practice makes perfect, nor near-perfect, or somewhat-perfect. Whatever. Practice anything and your brain will cut the neural pathways of whatever you're practicing nice and deep. Practice makes habit, both "good" and "bad."

Once upon a time (seems like another life) my life strategy centered around ambitions to pop every one of my neurotic zits. I believed in so doing I could eventually clean out my angry heart. My goodness. In order to conquer my anger, I believed I needed to gather more power for myself (as if we humans aren't already so powerful!) Though on paper these seemed like good ideas, in practice this toxic brew of strategies brought with it even more unhappiness than I experienced in childhood - God forbid! But it did. All my heroic efforts to expell my demons with jacked-up personal power backfired completely. Instead of clearing my black heart, all that fussing and fighting became an invocation, inviting in more dark energy. Can you imagine how much I suffered? And all for what?

These days I am practicing peace from the inside out. It's working! Not saying that I feel peaceful 24/7. The old habit of anxiety is a well worn path in my neural network. Its true, too, that anger is one of the few acceptable emotions in the culture of DC, so at times it's hard to resist blowing my top. But I'm learning how to notice when the mean reds come up. Next step, ask myself what's going on. Then I ask myself, Is this worth getting all worked up about? Nine out of ten times, the answer is no. Fantastic!

I was even able to remain calm and steady yesterday during a visit to Takoma Park, not my favorite place on the planet (maybe because of how miserable I was when I lived there, maybe because of the sanctimonious tone of its citizens, maybe just because it's a suburb and suburbs creep me out - who knows?) Feeling calm in Takoma Park is a big deal for me, a sign of good things.

Calm is an excellent habit to cultivate. I love being able to remember, much more often than I used to, that one of my birthrights as a human being is the ability to choose how I experience my life. Calm begets peace and peace is what I'm after for the last chapters of this lifetime.

Shalom, ya'll. Shalom!

9 comments:

Barbara said...

You're only part way through the book. Sometimes the best parts are at the end. Knowing you, the end of your life will be like the end of a fireworks display when all the rockets are shooting off at once in wild colors!

Barbara said...

P.S. Is the first picture upside down or is the bottom part a reflection?

deborah said...

Calm is an excellent habit to cultivate. I love being able to remember, much more often than I used to, that one of my birthrights as a human being is the ability to choose how I experience my life. Calm begets peace and peace is what I'm after for the last chapters of this lifetime.


I worked to change anger to outrage--which has worked pretty dang well for me and inspired many excellent letters to the editor and to my representatives.

26 years ago today I was in labor with my wonderful daughter while you cared for my sweet son--even with the cleaning, do list stuff I have today (and the fact that the heat and humidity have returned) it will be an easier, but obviously not a better day--.

Love you so very much,
Deborah

Reya Mellicker said...

What a wonderful blessing, Barbara! Thank you!

Deborah, outrage never worked for me. Truth is, outrage was just as exhausting as rage. Sometimes it was even worse.

Steve has been telling me, for a long time now that I'm sooooo Buddhist. Don't know about that. What I do know is that I'm for peace, within, without, as often as possible.

You keep writing the letters, though! Please and thank you!! I support the heroes. I am not a hero.

I love you.

Reya Mellicker said...

p.s. Barbara - the pic is upside down. Very cool effect, depending on the pic. It's also metaphoric of my life, of course. I'm all the way through the looking glass. Oh yeah!

Pandora said...

Hi, baby!

Me, too. I've gotten some different notion of personal power lately. Things have changed so much, and so well -- not easy, all of it, but definitely good.

I was trying to figure out when the change started, and I think it was when I met Laura. Defiinitely things had started shifting before then, but knowing Laura REALLY sped things up.

I had to learn how to deal with the absolute truth of the rede. You call in what you be.

Yikes.

Or, as it happens, Yay!

love love love

Reya Mellicker said...

Yay!!

Oh yeah!! Thanks Pandora. And a salute to Laura, too.

d. chedwick said...

these are WONDERFUL WONDERFUL Shots. really really really. thank you!

Reya Mellicker said...

Ched I am honored. Thank you!