April 12, 2013
I finally bit the bullet and made the decision to get the newest Iphone. On the way to the store I was hugely excited! And confident that it would be an easy transition from one phone to another. But by the time I left the store after my third return visit in one day I felt old and stupid and really jealous of younger techie minds.
I came home and tried to finish the set-up. My stomach was sick and my body was tight and contracted. Nothing worked and every step I took felt foreign and scary and frustrating. Started beating myself up. Literally couldn’t give myself any kind of break. I felt like I was going to implode!
I called a couple of friends who were able to help a bit, but with both of them I positioned myself as pathetic and overwhelmed and unable to cope. Because that’s how I felt. One of them agreed to come over the next day and make it work come hell or high water. And she did, offering me understanding and compassion in spite of my devolvement into a frustrated 10-year-old.
It was only when it was all over, i.e. the phone was working and I had all my contacts and texts and notes programmed in, I was able to see what was going on. What happened was a perfect example of how life works when I resist it—I create my own little torture chamber.
Here’s how it works: life presents something unexpected, catching me off guard and unprepared. At that point I have a choice. I can practice what I preach, and bring mindfulness and present moment awareness to the experience, or I can go on automatic pilot and let myself go down the rabbit hole.
Choosing to go on automatic pilot means I let my overheating mind lead me around by the nose. It pretty much guarantees that I’ll forget the truth that really, in the present moment, all is just fine. On automatic pilot I forget to breathe. I forget to notice that I’m safe, warm and well-fed. My behaviors, fueled by hidden thoughts of my inadequacies, become inconsistent with what I’m really experiencing. Something new that I don’t quite understand yet, in this case a phone, not a nuclear reactor. A phone that with a little information and reassurance I figured out how to use.
The alternative to automatic pilot, choosing mindfulness, means I stop, feel the feelings in my body, let them have their life without attaching crazy stories to them, and learn something about myself that might make the next challenge a bit easier to navigate.
So the next morning I was back in my own skin, resting in the Buddhist Lojong slogan Turn All Mishaps Into The Path, remembering once again that I’m safe, warm, and well-fed. And maybe a wee bit wiser.
P.S Many thanks for all your responses to my questions about whether or not to get more involved in social media as a way to solve our comments situation. I’ll be back to you with how we’re going to move forward.