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Friday, December 14, 2007

What would St Francis do?

Last night, a small crack opened up next to the nail on the index finger of my right hand. I saw it happen, and thought at the time, 'hmm, this is probably going to be painful' (I was right).

The reason this 3mm crack appeared was because for the last few days it has been bitterly cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing. The nature of my part-time job (man-handling a heavy trailer at 6.30am every day) means that my hands have become somewhat dry. I'd been meaning to get some moisturiser, but had kept on postponing the trip to the shop.

Essentially, my not ensuring that they had got enough moisture had left them prone to cracking, and inhibited their ability to deal with harsh conditions.

This reminds me of something else that happened today, something 'bad', that resulted from a lack of flexibility in me that was in turn, caused by my not giving my body what it needs. The lack this time wasn't in moisture, the lack was in sleep.

This morning, when I arrived to do my job, I found that my friend had not bought the de-icer spray as requested. This left me in a bit of a fix when presented with a padlock that was frozen shut - it took a lot of persuasion (and cold fingers) to get it open.

Being tired, I didn't react as I normally would have done. Normally, I would have laughed and seen it as challenge to my ingenuity. But this morning, overly tired, I got annoyed, and, once I had managed to open it, I spent about 15 minutes feeling angry.

Feeling angry is (on the whole) not something I do these days, so naturally I was only too conscious of this bad feeling. After a little while of wording and then rewording again and again a text message to my friend in my head, I started to talk to myself, and laugh at myself for feeling negativity towards them. They hadn't meant any harm by forgetting to buy it ...and everyone forgets things all the time anyway (only this morning I forgot that I was supposed to be meeting someone at 11.30am in the library - they were looking for me for ages).

I started saying to myself "Come on Joseph! You don't need to feel this badness! It doesn't feel good to feel angry does it?! So let go! Send love instead, come on Joseph!" - yet the feelings wouldn't dissipate.

I must admit I was surprised by how dark the badness was (I visualise it as blackness in my heart). I don't remember the last time I was actively angry or cross, my strong determination to not devote energy to negative emotions and to practice acceptance in everyday situations really having worked wonders for my sense of peace. Yet this morning I felt myself a victim of my own feelings, tiredness having robbed me of my ability to deal with these emotions that arose uncontrollably as a result of having no de-icer.

It served as a timely reminder that it is vital that no matter what else I have on my to-do list, I must give my body the basic things it needs. A good diet, regular exercise, chocolate, and adequate rest.

It also reminded me just how bad it feels to feel anger towards someone. Why do we do it? What purpose does it serve for us? I'm intrigued. I don't see how my feeling angry towards my friend could have helped me (or them) in any way - so why have we humans developed this emotion?

This evening, listening to a story about St. Francis, I'm reminded of how important it is to not feel enmity. Connecting that with this morning's events reinforces in me the importance of doing the right thing if I wish to be at peace with myself and the world around me. Peace is perhaps my ultimate goal in life (not sure how the Embassy interviewers would respond to that if I gave it as an answer to their question about life ambitions...), and so anything which works against that, such as lying or saying bad things about others could be thought of as the equivalent of using £20 notes as toilet paper were my ultimate goal to be financial abundance.

I think that relationships can provide the greatest opportunity to practice forgiveness and understanding. *Twinkle* and I are fortunate in that we both share this attitude of stopping any badness before it really starts by practicing complete openness, honesty and frequent communication. Despite this, there have of course been times when we have felt frustrated or upset with each other for longer than we would have liked. When you love someone so much, it is desperately difficult to not let (for example) protectiveness generate anger. It has been tricky when *Twinkle* has not been feeling good and has shared her problems with me, for me to not feel frustrated about being able to do nothing to lift her up. This frustration can lead to 'badness', which doesn't help the situation at all.

Hmmmm.

I am really looking forward to being back with *Twinkle*. It will be so exciting to grow together, pursuing our dreams and learning all the way.

256 hours and counting!

Ah, crap! That means my essay deadline is 133 hours and counting!

xxx

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