November 10, 2011

Stop. Breathe. Be Aware.

I was in a foul mood, but unsure why.  There was an uneasiness that had settled in the center of my chest.  I found many reasons to be discouraged, but few reasons to be optimistic or hopeful.

Finally, a voice inside my head said, "Stop." 

I did stop, and took notice of my foul mood.  I hadn't even realized I was in a foul mood, but now I realized that it had been hovering over me for hours, like a cloud casting a dark shadow over my day.

I'm not normally in a foul mood (at least, that's what I like to think), and so I began to wonder what was going on.  Why was I in a foul mood now?  Where did this particular foul mood come from?

For the first time that day, I paid attention to my state of mind.  I examined it carefully and gently, much like I once examined my crying baby, searching for the cause of his discomfort.  After a few minutes of searching, I found the source of my discomfort.

I had started my day checking email and facebook.  Someone had posted a link to a video of a race car crash in which a driver was killed.  I rarely click on such links, but I did this time, and watched the video.

The video showed a horrific scene of carnage and destruction, but at the time I didn't realize how disturbed it had left me.  Hours later, when I finally stopped and took notice of my mood, I discovered its cause.  This made it easier to deal with.  With new understanding, I was able to treat myself and the mood I was in with kindness, which in turn eaased my suffering and helped lift my mood; and this, I'm sure, helped make me more pleasant to be around, bringing joy not only to my day, but to the day of those around me.

Are you in a foul mood?  Is your fuse short today, for some reason that you can't quite figure out?  Are you feeling on edge?


Take a breath.

Acknowledge the mood you are in.  Gently examine it and seek to understand without judging.  Treat yourself with kindness, and allow your foul mood to slowly melt away into contentment.

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