Crushed Snail

On Friday evening, as I walked home alone late into the evening from a visit to a pub with friends, I inadvertently stood on a snail.

The first I was aware of its presence on the path was when I heard the nauseating crunch as the tiny shell disintegrated under the weight of my foot.

As I continued my walk home, I felt a tad saddened that I had been responsible for crushing the snail. If I had seen it on the path in front of me I would have circumvented it, to allow it to continue on its own precarious life journey.

It is not that I have not cleared snails and slugs and other gastropods from my flower beds in the garden during the year, but this crushed snail was doing no harm to me or my plants.

As I walked along I thought about how so often in my life there has been collateral damage to my actions which had not been intended or foreseen.

This impact of mood swings and anger and controlling behaviour which has perpetuated my life until recently, caused that same nauseous feeling as the I experienced in the crushed snail.

I didn’t mean to hurt the snail, but nevertheless I did- most likely it was life ending for it.

I have tried in recent years to find control from within to steer a course, so that unintended collateral damage to my loved ones can be avoided.

As I sense the shift in mood in response to a provocation, I notice it and I gain a few precious moments to think, to take evasive action by :

staying silent

or by making my point calmly

or by allowing the other party to speak

or by supporting choices that others make

or by keeping my opinions to self

or by making a note to self to prepare for a more opportune and measured response at a future date

In these ways, I avoid a life of crushed snails and provide a safe and welcoming environment (away from my flowerbeds) for them to thrive.

William Defoe

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