I could feel it come up. Rise, higher.
All I had to do was keep my iPhone aside.
Maybe that would create a pause.
I continued to respond…
Only I wasn’t really, responding.
I was replying to an emotional reaction.
A few weeks ago I wrote about what it means to exhale – let go so I can let in.
The “digital detox” in the mountains certainly created a shift in my perspective – I felt the need to learn to respond not react.
Now it’s time to act. Sounds simple, yet it’s the hardest thing I’ve attempted.
Last week while talking to my coach, I was sharing about the rather difficult week I had had. And how even in the most unpleasant conversations, I felt myself find a distinction between a reaction and a response.
Step one. Awareness.
A particularly challenging work situation – I was able to take pause and draw from the internal clarity of my experience.
A heated conversation with my mother – a series of reactions triggered by the hint of a little misalignment in our views (or most likely the communication of them).
Reflecting on these two incidents that happened days apart from each other I realised a contradiction within myself – a sign from my body and mind.
Knowing with conviction vs knowing to convince.
The latter – a reaction.
There was my insight.
When I speak from a place of internal clarity, it manifests itself with a calm conviction that no amount of [external] challenge can disrupt.
It’s not an irrational absolute, but rather a curiously explored point-of-view.
To say it simply, I’m aware of the why.
I know it.
A cleanse – filtering out the unknown.
There’s a pleasure in this act.
A pleasure I take – in my own conviction.
Conviction, which is a form of earnestness.
Reactions, however, are turbulent impulses.
To respond is a choice.
Is it necessary?
Is it helpful?
Is it kind?
A pause for reflection.
You can’t see your reflection in boiling water.
Reflection needs stillness, and stillness is found only in a place of calm – internal.
“When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.”The Alchemist
Nor do you try to convince (others).
You find stillness in your own understanding.
Knowing you are clean – and this clarity has allowed you to know that when your experience tells you to, you can choose to share your knowledge with the world.
Knowing why (you chose to do so).
And so, you are cleansed – from the obligation of convincing (and the impulse of reacting).
Towards the end of that conversation with M, he asked me if in all these thoughts to cleanse my internal reactions had I thought of how I might tackle the external toxins in my life. To which I paused and reflected. I responded – “When I’m internally clean, I’ll also be able to externally cleanse.”
And I wrote this entire blog post just to trademark this quote like I promised him I would 🙂
Good one. To utter without thought is reaction. To say after a thought is response.