Unless you live in a cave, an underground biosphere, a submarine, a prison or some other form of isolation, you’re in the City of Stress. Rather than the Spirit of Christmas.
Even if you don’t or barely do Christmas. The stress permeates. It’s impossible to miss. More impossible to fight it. And most impossible to cure or fix it.
I’m very Piscean. A giant walking sponge. It’s a curse and a gift but that’s not the focus of today’s post.
Especially when you DON’T do Christmas (and I don’t apart from creating cards and baking one gift for one person), you notice how STRESSSSSSSSSED OUT people are. Over-the-top assholes, the good lot of ’em, especially on roads, in parking lots, in stores.
Rather than Soak Up All That Stress of Others, stuff it to cope then stew in it to my detriment and/or illness, this year I adopted a new tactic:
Let the Harried and the Hurried go ahead of me.
Give them the right of way, even when it’s actually mine.
Even if it’s my turn next in line … or for that parking space … that left turn … or I’m crossing a parking lot on foot and narrowly miss getting hit by some speeded up on stress …
if a person is in THAT much of a hurry as to run roughshod over me/others, barge ahead, disregarding common courtesies, fairness or even the presence of another … rather than hold to my (rightful) claim, I let the person go ahead.
It’s me choosing Zen.
I don’t do it for them. I don’t do it to be nice for the sake of being nice.
I do it for me.
I do it to keep MYSELF detached from their rudeness and stress.
I do it to keep MYSELF from absorbing what’s theirs, internalizing it, then eventually taking it out on someone else … in some parking lot … a checkout lane … a traffic lane.
And what a difference that conscious choice has made. Not in THEIR lives. In mine.
Stress begets stress. It’s a vicious cycle, a creature feeding on itself into an ugly bloated beast.
Around Thanksgiving, the start of the holiday season, is when people started being nasty, short-tempered, rude to raging to downright dangerous.
I noticed it; couldn’t NOT notice!
Then and there I made a conscious decision: If someone’s that harried, hurried or stressed, I’m gonna give ’em the right of way.
And, if I’m feeling especially relaxed, I might feel sad for the other or say a quick prayer.
The World is a Place Gone Mad.
I was aware of that even before I was born.
During the holidays, that World becomes a Place Gone Insane.
Thinking you can change the world is naive. Once you really grasp that kernel of truth, you’ve accomplished the first step — the first of thousands to come — toward wisdom.
All you can change is within. Your response.
No earth-shattering discovery there. Nothing new under the sun.
But, if you can choose Zen, whatever that feels or looks like for you, in the most ramped-up stressed-out assholes-every-which-way — aka the Holiday Season — then you’re really onto something!
As I wrote, I give one gift to one person, a family member every Christmas. (Actually I mail it, leaving my Christmases utterly sans family — another way to avoid stress, fyi.)
But for the first time in the holidays, I gave myself a gift — a gift found in no shop. No mall. No Amazon or online site. The gift of: