Here’s a thought I’d like to share…
Kristin Neff, in her book Self-Compassion, tells this story:
Once, when her mother and mother-in-law were both visiting from out of town, they borrowed her car for an outing with her son. She had a silver Toyota hybrid with keyless technology, meaning that you just have to hold the key near the car door and it will open. There is no button to push or key to insert. This novel technology made the grandparents a bit nervous – they just didn’t trust it. After going on the outing and coming back to the parking lot, they tried holding the magical key thing next to the car door and, of course, it didn’t work. Her mother tried the key over and over again, and nothing happened. “See! You can’t rely on these newfangled gimmicks!” They both got very upset – here they were, almost an hour from home, stranded with a confused child, all because of some modern technology. What were they to do?
They called the local Toyota dealership, who told them to call a locksmith. Once the locksmith had been arranged and was on his way, they saw a parking lot security person. Maybe he could help in the meantime. “Sir, we’re locked out of our Toyota hybrid that has this weird key thing; have you ever used one of these before?” The man looked at the key, then looked at the car. “Uh, ladies, you said it was a Toyota hybrid? This car isn’t a hybrid. It isn’t even a Toyota.” Her car was actually three spaces down. They had become so lost in their reactions that neither of them thought to take a very sensible next step: checking to see whether they were trying to get into the right car! In the immortal words of Charlie Chaplin, “Life is a tragedy when seen in a close-up, but a comedy when seen in a long-shot.”
So, perhaps we can take a step back; get some perspective? Too often, we allow our feelings, fears, and stories to run away with us. If we can notice our pain or confusion without being caught up in them, or wronging ourselves for feeling that way, we can bring mindfulness to the situation which then brings clarity and the ability to make skillful choices. It won’t open the car door, but it might help you find the right car!
Wishing you the ability to zoom-out instead of getting hijacked by fear,