The following piece is an excerpt from my book, “Word, From Your Mother,” a daily guidance journal written for my children, Liv and Pierce-Gabriel.
Try this exercise sometime: Don’t react to something when you’re “triggered.” This is very difficult to do if you have a busy ego. At any other time, I wouldn’t have reacted to the scenario that follows; however, when a couple of people add their two cents, the “story” started to develop.
I had forgotten to add Auntie’s name as one of our family members in this year’s Christmas card. I didn’t notice the omission. However, Meema called straight away in a frenzy. She said, “How could you forget Aunt Fran out of all people? She’s going to be offended… she’s going to think you don’t care… she’s going to be really upset…etc.
Now, initially, I calmly stated, “Really, Ma, it was an honest mistake. I meant no harm.” Then she went on another rant and implored that I needed to call her immediately to explain this matter. Honestly, the conversation carried on with my seven apologies in between for about 20 minutes.
When the conversation was over, I felt that I’d take action as soon as possible to clear things up. I was baffled that I made an editorial mistake. I also made a mental note to further apologize to Auntie that I had remembered to include the dog’s name but not hers!
Later that day, I called Papa to give him updates about how things were going our way. Wouldn’t you know, he brought up the whole Auntie thing. He said, “How did you forget this? Do you realize that your aunt is sensitive and this is not going to go over well…you should know what’s going to happen; you lived with her (triggered)…did Doug help you do these cards? (triggered).”
I started to defend myself profusely and added that if my husband were involved with making the card, there would not have been an omission. He carried on for at least a half-hour. I told him I had called auntie, but she didn’t pick up. I continued to defend my ego by stating that I would never leave a message because that would surely make her more upset. I explained that I would stop at nothing until I reached her. I also explained that she doesn’t pick up the phone unless she recognizes the number. Oh, my…I went on and on and on.
All the while, I was very conscious of my defensiveness. My true self (that little quiet voice within) had told me instantly, upon the first reveal from Meema of my mistake, that Auntie would forgive and that she’d be okay with all of this. However, the “unconscious me” took over, inserting many apologies and attached a zillion “stories” to what might happen. This, of course, did not serve the matter at all. It only caused me great anxiety and strengthened the ego. I had allowed the ego to high jack my consciousness of the situation; the still part of me that says, “All is fine. There is nothing to be worried about.”
Later that evening, when I was shopping, the cell phone rang. It was auntie. She said, “Oh, my God…is Doug okay? I’ve been praying for him ever since I saw your number come up (Doug had just recently had surgery).” I reassured her that everything was okay and told her my reason for calling-that I had omitted her name from the family Christmas card. Her reaction: “What? That’s it? Who cares!! I thought someone was sick!” She started to laugh and said, “Let everyone guess who I am. I don’t care if my name is on the card.”
In short, if I had listened to my inner guidance, I would not have fed into all the egoic drama. Further, I wouldn’t have created a story around it. If I had just stopped at, “I forgot to put Auntie’s name on the card,” and just let it be, all would have been fine. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you act as though you have no filter. Don’t get me wrong. I still would have called her and apologized for the omission.
Consequently, there wouldn’t have been undesirable stress, anxiety, or other negative emotions in my energy field to add to the so-called problem. Be an active observer of how you react to things. Catch the negative thoughts and feelings as quickly as possible and let them dissolve. You’d be amazed at how often the ego tries to highjack a situation to throw your energy field off.