What’s Written on My Arm Today

Sunday, July 31st, 2011 | Secret Buddhist

I struggle with impatience.
With yelling.
With ranting voices in my head telling me how much I SUCK, and Everything SUCKS and my whole day is a great big pile of SUCKITUDE. Which is just patently not true, but the voices are amazingly determined.

This is as bad for me as it is for the rest of the family. Worse, really, because I have to listen to both the voices AND me yelling or snarling or snarking, while they just have me. And they can get away from me, while I cannot.

So, in summary, it is far, far better for me if I can stop that cycle before it starts. Which, sadly, I only figured out in the past couple of years, meaning that I lived with the whole thing for far, far too long. And meaning, now, that as I said the other day, when I can’t stop it–when I rant and crank and work myself right up into serious misery–it’s even worse, because I know I have no one to blame but myself.

So I’ve tried to stop. Of course, if it were that easy, I’d just stop, and there I would be, and everything would be sunshine and roses for the entire world as we all just decided to be kinder to ourselves and by extension to others. World peace, right there. But that is not the way my mind works, it is wired to want things to be EXACTLY LIKE IT WANTS THEM TO BE and if it does not get that, then off we go. I have to convince myself daily that it is better, and possible, to stay happy even without things going my way.

And my new way of doing that is to write helpful things on my arm.

I am a word person, words are what mean most to me, and knowing the words to use to answer the voices is what’s most helpful. But my brain has trouble remembering to, um, use its words in the face of rising winds. So I write them on my arm. Here’s what I’ve written this week:
Do not let impatience overcome you.

Peace is possible.

The wall is a habit of your mind.

Start over.

These cryptic comments are all from Sylvia Boorstein’s Slow Down, for Goodness Sake, and they all have something behind them, of course. The wall, in particular, comes from a story she tells of there being a yogi who walked through walls, and of a young boy who asked her–but what if she lost her concentration midway through and got stuck in the wall?

Well, that would be a problem, of course, if also a pretty dramatic epitaph, and it made Sylivia realize that for her, at least (who can say for sure about a yogi in India?) the walls were mental, and they were habits of thinking that could be simply walked through. If you let them.

Those others are more self explanatory, at least in that whatever they mean to you, it’s likely to make some sense that they might help a wordy, impatient person to manage to be a little less so. It’s surprising to me how well they’ve worked. No tattoo necessary, in fact, I think the constant change and affirmation of intent involved in writing it again is part of the process.

My husband thinks I’m crazy, though. Calmer, but crazy. I can live with that.

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7 Comments to What’s Written on My Arm Today

Cheryl M.
Monday, August 1, 2011

Oh wow – we are birds of a feather, you and I.

I am constantly struggling with trying to be happy with the way things are, and battling my own inner brain demons.

Hubby is of no help. He seems to have backpedaled to the mentality of a 20 year old, which makes it all the more difficult for me to avoid thinking about suckitude. I sometimes wonder if I smack him upside the head with a cast-iron frying pan if it will be like hitting the “reset” button.

Sarah Kate
Monday, August 1, 2011

Read ‘The Happiness Trap’ by Dr Russ Harris. It’s working for me.

DameCatoe
Monday, August 1, 2011

Seal says we’re never gonna survive unless we get a little bit crazy. (Cray… cray… craaaaaazay.)

Averil Dean
Monday, August 1, 2011

I really should try your trick of writing things on my arm. Or hand. Or across my forehead, in reverse, so I can see it in the mirror and think, Peace is possible.

What my coworkers would say, I’ve no idea.

AwesomeCloud's Mom
Monday, August 1, 2011

Aw. That’s so sad.

KJ (aka Lola Granola)
Monday, August 1, 2011

I don’t think it’s sad! It totally works for me…plus, I get that way cool tattoo thing going. It was so fun to see you guys–we will have to make that an annual event!

Ele
Monday, August 1, 2011

I have the word patience tattooed on my wrist for that reason. I look at it often….I’m not always patient, but it’s still a good reminder. :)

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