The ability to be truly peaceful is to have awareness and control over the time frame between a situation and our response to it. Having an awareness of even the smallest gap can increase our peacefulness, and have a significant impact on the way we live our lives.
To build this awareness is to build and nurture our willpower, which I like to refer to as our Give A Stuff (GAS) tank.
Much like a car or motorcycle, we each have a gas tank, which depletes as we move through each day. Ours is, however, a magic gas tank which refills itself partially each night as we rest. If we move through our day going in different directions, we often find ourselves needing to refill, having not yet reached our desired destination. For some, the filling station is spending time alone, reading, listening to music, etc. For others, it is time with friends and loved ones. Spending time consciously recharging can help us continue on, and reach our desired destination. When we don’t take time to recharge, we continue in random directions, and meet the next inevitable interaction with an attitude of “I really don’t give a stuff”.
While out for a relaxing family walk in the nearby forest recently, a lady came up to my wife, son, and I with two beautiful Golden Retriever dogs. Our son loves dogs, and ran up to them to (gently) pet them. We greeted one another, and had a polite conversation about the dogs, our son, and life in general. This conversation quickly turned awkward, when we were bombarded with a slew of strong opinions about life, love, and family. We said our mutual goodbyes and carried on our separate walks, with no awkwardness or any ill feeling.
While continuing our walk, it became very clear to my wife and I that we were both triggered by this conversation, each having our own perspective on how we received the interaction. This is where I was reminded to look after our GAS tanks.
Naturally, because we were receiving from this lady’s companions, she felt the need to try to receive something from us. She was consciously unaware of the deeper power of her words and opinions, and how they might land with others. To paraphrase Miguel Ruiz’s “The Mastery of Love”, these words were her poison, tainted by her suffering of her past experience, which she was attempting to hand to us. Through the next few minutes of our walk, we briefly discussed the interaction, and decided not to receive the poison. The poison is hers, which we choose not to consume.
What settled it for us was the simple idea of keeping our GAS tanks full, and making sure to use the GAS on what we believe to be the truest, most relevant, and most important uses for that GAS.
We followed this interaction with a beautiful walk in sunshine and nature (we’re solar beings, after all), and a coffee at the coffee shop within the forest, loads of family time with other families, kids, and dogs. This time to recharge was the most important activity we did all day, and our truest way to refill our GAS tanks.
What do you truly Give A Stuff about?