defending our position against the odds

kite

Yesterday evening two red kites were circling a neighbour’s garden.  They are impressive birds when they drop from their lofty soaring heights. Strong, powerful, intimidating.

We watched, curious about their intent. It seemed they had located potential prey.

A squawking alerted us to the arrival of a crow.  It flew straight at one of the kites, colliding with it in mid air. The crow, although itself large, was dwarfed by the kite.

Bravely, the crow defended its position. The kite retreated. Its pair soared high on the late evening thermals.

Like the crow, when we have something to defend which matters to us, we too can be brave beyond reason. Sometimes though we can be foolhardy. Holding on and defending a view to the point that it becomes a weakness and we expose a vulnerability.

Maybe soaring above our behaviour to get perspective is the wise thing?

 

time to turn around?

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There’s a lane near us that often closes due to flooding.  It’s a nuisance, but when it’s shut we have to drive around to get to our destination.  There are several alternatives, but each is a longer route.

We just do it though. We don’t go back home and say, “Oh well, no going to the shops today.” Nor do we drive down the lane and stop at the point where the water has risen to a foot deep, park up, and say, “We’ll wait for the floodwater to subside.”

We don’t even think about it. We turn around and try a different route.

Today in a meeting, we got stuck. We set out to achieve something as a group and every suggestion fell on stoney ground, or everything we tried seemed to move us no closer to our objective. Yet we persevered. The mood in the room became flat. Frustration emerged. Disagreements rose up like unwanted nettles in the garden. It took us nearly an hour for someone to ask, “Why are we finding this so difficult?” This gave someone else the opportunity to say, “Let’s try something different.” So we did. Completely different. And we made progress.

Strange that when our route is blocked physically, we instinctively and immediately detour. Yet when our thinking is blocked, we bash on, stubbornly persisting with our thinking. Getting further stuck as emotions then bind us up like creepers around our feet.

Turn around. Go another way.

 

when we are played with by our own emotions

Earlier this week I hopped on a bus in London.

As I found my seat, the bus pulled away and I noticed a taxi slowing next to the bus, as the gap ahead was too narrow.  He slotted in behind, but merely for a few moments, before accelerating alongside the bus.

There was an exchange of views through open windows. Thankfully mostly inaudible, but clearly both had a perspective on what had just occurred.  They drove together sharing their perspectives for a few moments before the taxi veered off.

The bus driver audibly muttered ‘stupid’, thumped his wheel twice and clearly, as he repeated the word at least five times over the next three or four minutes, his attention was directed inwardly to whatever emotions he was feeling after the exchange.  Certainly some anger, maybe some frustration, possibly some hurt?  Who knows?  Maybe not even the driver.

I reflected for a moment on the safety of his passengers, as evidently his mind was not fully on the busy London traffic.

There is a drought of compassion in our world, and a deluge of blame.

I wished for my bus driver to be able to step outside his emotion and notice what was happening for him.

His emotions and doubtless those of his fellow combatant, the taxi driver, trapped them in their blaming world.

Stepping into what he was feeling, and why, might allow him space to contemplate what the taxi driver might also be feeling; from that awareness comes the capacity for compassion, for self and for others.

Sometimes we are merely toys, played with by our own humanity.

a fear of focusing on the negative

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We have many words to describe fears. In fact there may well be a word for every fear or phobia. Why is that?

True, many of the names fears and phobias are a little more esoteric. Not in most people’s vocabulary. For example…
Athazagoraphobia – fear of being forgotton or ignored
Chionophobia – fear of snow
Alektorophobia – fear of chickens
Geniophobia – fear of chins
Sesquipedalophobia – fear of long words (ironically)

However there are common examples we are all familiar with; such things as…
Agoraphobia – fear of open spaces
Xenophobia – fear of foreigners
Technophobia – fear of technology
Claustrophobia – fear of confined spaces
Arachnophobia – fear of spiders

Technically we could replace phobia with philia (Greek origin) and turn these into loves or addictions, but we don’t have these in our daily lexicon. How many -philias do you know or use?

Why such rich language for negatives when we don’t have the same plethora of words to describe the love of something?

What does this say about our societal focus on the bad or negative, and how does this impact our human psyche?

That worries me.