Bursting the Balloon

Bursting the Balloon

​It never ceases to amaze me how I could be experiencing an intense emotion in one moment (and in all honesty, I can’t say I see that thought has anything to do with the intensity of the emotion in that moment) and then five minutes later, an hour later, a day later it just vanishes and something else takes its place.

I had an experience this past week with my son and I was convinced he was the cause of my distress.

I had to take him to a doctor’s appointment and told him to be home by 11:45 am. At 11:55 I texted him, called him, started getting annoyed. At 12 pm I began listing all his short comings (irresponsibility being #1 on the list). I ran over to the synagogue where I thought he went to learn, but he was no where to be found. I kept texting.

Finally I had to call to cancel the appointment. As I’m stopping around, putting the laundry away, I open the door, and there he is sound asleep on his bed.

The balloon burst! I saw the whole thought created story I made up about my son and here he was innocently sleeping. WOW, the power of thought. I saw so clearly how my annoyance was thought created in that moment. It was obvious my son had nothing to do with the distress I caused myself. He wasn’t even late and I spent a half an hour being mad at him for being late and absent minded.

There are so many incidents in the course of a day where we innocently do this to ourselves and get lost in a misunderstanding of where our experience is coming from. It is always, 100% of the time, coming from Thought in the moment. However, we can get duped by the illusion that it is something or someone else.

Imagine the emotional freedom available by just knowing how the system works, how our mind works, where our emotions and feelings are coming from.

My anger and upset never came from my son, but rather from the thinking I had about my son.

Now I know many of you want to say, but what if he really was late, what if he really was irresponsible, what if the stakes were higher than a missed doctor’s appointment?

My experience would still be coming from the thinking I am having about my son, from about what I make it mean that he is late, from my expectations about being timely and responsible.

My thinking may be realistic, even appropriate, but that doesn’t change the fact that this type of thinking brings with it a feeling (usually not a warm fuzzy one, but a self-righteous I-know-better one).

But the moment thoughts and feelings pass, which they always do, a new experience emerges. Am I ready to try on something new today?

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By Aviva Barnett, MSW



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