Tag Archives: daily prompt

The Bigger Picture

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From the Daily Post:

How do you handle conflict? Boldly and directly? Or, do you prefer a more subtle approach?

 

I’ve never been much for direct conflict. I’m not really passive-aggressive, I just like to avoid yelling matches. That being said, I’m also not one to let tension drag out without resolution, because that’s just really annoying. Who likes to walk on eggshells for weeks on end?

Personally, I try to keep things calm so that conflict doesn’t arise. Anger is a powerful emotion, and I don’t want it unleashing near me if I can help it. Over time, with much deep breathing, mistake-making, and reluctant self-control, I’ve learned to try dispelling tension before any threat of conflict. It’s definitely not always easy, especially when you’re up against someone who just has it out for you (and that’s happened before…not fun!). But if I see that the waters are starting to get choppy, I sit back and try to think of the best way to calm the imminent explosion.

How do I do that? Well, simply put, I choose to lose. If someone comes at me with the intent to start conflict, I suck in my pride – which is SO hard sometimes – and choose not to be aggravated. I give the other person the “win”, and just try to stay calm and peaceful within myself. Now, this wouldn’t work as well if the conflict were somehow to directly influence my well-being. If someone were trying to hurt me, for example, I’d take a much more defensive approach…and probably get the hell out of there as soon as possible. But most conflict, honestly, arises from REALLY petty problems. People lash out at each other over the stupidest things, and it’s just a waste of energy. I would know – I’ve been there many times! But by staying kind and peaceful as much as possible, I find that it’s easier to break the cycle of hurt and keep those vibes positive.

I’ve also found that it’s easier to stay calm when I look at the circumstances surrounding the potential conflict, instead of focusing in on me vs. them. You never know what’s causing a person to lash out; people misplace their emotions all the time. That person could be going through something really tough, with no healthy outlet. Allowing them to vent their anger might be just the thing they need, even if it is unfair to you. When I look at the bigger picture, I can stay calm a lot more easily and let kindness lead the way.

 

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Soul-ly Obsessed

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Can’t Get it Out of My Head

I’m not the kind of person who has an addictive personality. Actually, let me rephrase that: I don’t get addicted to substances. I began smoking cigarettes at the ripe age of 19 (yes, I had a sheltered childhood). From the day I first took that puff, I was pretty indifferent. I bought a pack every couple of weeks or so, smoked socially every once in a while, and ended up bumming out the rest to my friends. This non-habit continued for a few years, from Marlboros to American Spirits, until I finally gave up the financial burden when I took off to travel. The same has held true for the few other substances I’ve put into my body, with the exception of caffeine. That one just follows me everywhere, whether I’m trying to “stay off it” or not.

I also don’t really get obsessed with anything socially promoted. Fashion, food trends, a new book series….for years I avoided all things Harry Potter just because it’s been so popular, and my boyfriend just recently was able to get the movie series on our list of things to watch. I’m not impervious to the attraction of all trends, I just generally try to avoid getting caught up in the craze.

What do capture my attention, however, are puzzles of the mind and spirit. Present to me a spiritual perspective, and I’ll spend hours thinking it through. Start a discussion about humanity’s ability to create our reality, and I’ll be up all night trying to answer my own questions. Several times I’ve wrestled with what some of my friends call “the existential crisis phase”, during which I’d often run away from a social setting (beer in hand, of course) to sit on a train car and ponder the reality of my own existence in relation to others’. I love getting lost in my head sometimes. It’s almost as if my spirit, soul, and mind detach from my body and become an entirely different organism. My spirit and soul turn into observers who watch and criticize the frantic mechanical workings of my mind as it tries to solve a tiny blip of the unknown. Sometimes my thoughts stray from words, morphing into symbols and pictures for those deep ideas and realizations my brain cannot yet form into grammatical sentences. Finally, either I exhaust myself into a sense of quasi-realization or some innocent person claims my disgruntled attention, and my self reclaims its physical form.

These times inside my head are precious to me, more than even I realize. I think my soul has an unquenchable yearning to know what, and why. Since there’s no way I can figure it all out myself, I rely on the universe to help me unfold that eternal story in whatever puzzle pieces I discover. Truth be told, the Bible was right when it urges people to “seek, and you shall find”. The more I adventure, the more I learn. And the more I learn, the more I need to know. During the seven months I have traveled so far, I’ve learned more about humanity, Western society, the government, different social classes, different religions, sustainability, and organic gardening than during all of my years of “schooling”. Most of all, I’ve been able to piece this knowledge into a greater understanding of our universe that is morbidly minute yet (hopefully) ever-expanding.

I don’t know if it’s typical to want to share one’s obsession, but I do. I want everyone in this world to see how exciting this world is, to believe in the magic of the universe, to crave a discussion revolving around philosophical questions and spiritual brain toys. People are weird, what people think is weird, and I love weird. I guess you could say I even need weird. Lucky for me, weird is easy to come by on the road. Whatever crazy path I’m on, it’s been both satisfying and fueling my obsession…which is both weird and awesome. I can’t think of a better way to live.