Op-Ed
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Op-Ed

Choose Your Master or Pick Your Poison

Difficult conversations and circumstances require a certain kind of energy.

ESousa Online

Most people fail to recognize the fact that they have the power to choose which emotion they will feel. We are co-creating in an exchange, and have every bit as much power as the person with whom we speak. We can be deeply hurt by something or we can let it roll off our shoulders in the next moment. It doesn’t seem to be that simple because we’ve overcomplicated matters by collectively suggesting there is a normal pattern of behavior for which we should adhere. I must admit, I’ve never been able to perform this way for any great length of time. Our inner-authority is dependent on which archetypes we’ve chosen to consult and how frequently we visit with each.

My inner-authority is constructed from a bunch of old people and old texts. I grew up in a multiple generation setting, with grandparents around throughout my childhood, spending summers at the beach with the other pair. I was in college before my Papa died. By that time, I’d already realized how important it was to go see him in hospice and sit with him during chemotherapy. I never got to meet my bio-paternal grandmother in person, but I knew her through the metaverse and every time I hear “Here Comes the Sun” I think about her because it was playing when she passed on.

I was even there to lay my ex-boyfriend’s grandmother to rest. I was one of the 7 or 8 people chanting “Ram naam Satiya Hay” as we pushed her sarcophagus into the furnace. She would often call me when my ex was in jail, much to the dismay of his step-mother. One time she asked me what it felt like to be high and my sense is that she knows now. During those times I also worked with older women at the health food store. Again: multigenerational. My boss was in her late 30s, early 40s. Another co-worker in her mid to late 40s, and a few were in their 60s, while I was just turning 21.

All this to say, the average age of people I’ve interacted with nearly all my life has been far greater than my own. There’s been times I actually enjoyed my cohort, but usually when we are up to no good. However, the only reason I would even call it that “we are up to no good” is because my inner-authority is old AF. I believe this has a great affect on my ability to appear to some as though I’ve got some sort of deep wisdom. Especially when I took my grandpa’s advice and slowed down. I started to notice how flighty, froggy, and jumpy young people are.

When we become so clouded by our own problems, we lose sight of the sun. Imagine being left out in the cold rain. You may feel sad, lonely, and afraid or its possible to laugh your ass off because you find it hilarious that the one day you didn’t bring a jacket the whole sky started falling. The really interesting part is when you start interacting with other people. Someone walks up and offers you a place to stay warm. Based on whatever experiences led up to this moment and the mood you are in will determine if you will go with this person to safety… or certain death, or if you’ll be insulted by their condescending tone of voice, or if you’ll run, or if you’ll shoot them. All of those decisions are based on an accumulation of thoughts that led up to a moment.

Now imagine a normal modest existence, living within the confines of a budget and schedules. This mind consults television programs like: a group of scantily dressed women trying to impress the same man on a game show in which he will ultimately choose only one, a crime-scene investigation show in which women get raped and their throats are slit and there is this incredible story about how the case gets solved so that even more details of the murder can be disclosed (JUICY!), or hey, how about a 24-hour news cycle of fear-mongering propaganda? Who doesn’t want to know what Kim K is wearing to the Grammy’s and how much it costs, and which brand name purse went with it, and what brand of face wash and make-up she uses? With nothing to offset that, not even friends with whom you feel comfortable enough to speak your truth because what if, what if… what if they outed you for your opinions? You could lose your job. You could ruin your marriage. ARE YOU IN DEBT? CALL 1–800–555–5555 TO CONSOLIDATE YOUR LOANS!

Whatever we interact with stays in there if we don’t look at it and tell it to get the fuck out. The same is true for feelings of discomfort during a difficult conversation. If we wish to discuss controversial topics, we must come to the table with our shadow integrated (thank you Lucie for this correction to the old “leave your feelings at the door”). There is simply no way to have an adult conversation with someone who is throwing a fit or getting all worked up. The key is to remain calm, talk slow, be the slowest breather in the room, slow down. When we are defending a part of our identity, we feel personally attacked because we are projecting the fear we have of our inner authority on to whomever we are speaking. We start speaking so quickly we are out of breath trying to explain ourselves before the inevitable takedown from the master we serve. Better if that was a kind and understanding and most of all a humane master. Choose wisely…

Originally written in Collective Journaling at The Stoa

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