8.15.11 Avoiding Fourteen-Year-Old Moments (or Years)

Sometimes I think we adults – both men and women – get stuck emotionally at fourteen years old. Just witness almost any political contest or political posturing.

Or any instance of road rage.

Or treating another person like an object for your own selfish needs.

Or defending your turf, your teeny-tiny turf.

Or defending your point of view with red-faced bluster over, say, the meaning of the last scene in Inception.

A fourteen-year-0ld moment (with all due respect to fourteen-year-olds out there) is perhaps an instance when emotions get so distorted that they override and obscure any sense of reality, any sense of true connection.

How to avoid such a moment from becoming a month or a year?

Catch the moment intense emotion arises.
Witness the emotion. Call it what it is.
If the matter doesn’t merit the motion of emotion, deflate the balloon in your brain: exhale, long and smooth and loud.
Smile. Even if it’s fake at first, the musculature in the mouth and eyes might help reverse the physiology of anger or fear or irritation or rage or frustration.
Distinguish non-attachment from detachment. Emotional detachment translates to emotional repression, numbness, apathy. Emotional non-attachment involves being emotionally engaged but witnessing and then letting go of any outcome of a situation.

All of this reflection arose this evening because the burly driver of a big red pickup kept taunting me and my little Toyota on the way home. His truck even had, apparently, some device that let his truck expel puffs of black exhaust in my car’s face. And, oh, did the fourteen-year-old in me raise its ugly head (and, almost, middle finger). It took about ten minutes or more for me to practice the above and try to kill the guy with kindness and wide-wheeled smile as he glared at me at a red light.  A few minutes of genuine non-attachment was a highlight.

The male mind remains a mystery.

So what about you? Any such moments today? Or were you fortunate to have a calmer series of highlights today? Regardless, share your top three memorable moments from your Monday – and let us know where you’re writing from.

See you in the woods,
The Three Highlights Guy

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3 responses to “8.15.11 Avoiding Fourteen-Year-Old Moments (or Years)

  1. No 14 year old moments today, thank goodness! My 3 highlights are…

    1) Watching a car zip ahead and cut in, only to find them at the same stoplight I am at… why are we always in a rush?
    2) Observing my day unravel into sporadic activities, seemingly disconnected, hoping for some sense of achievement at the end of the day.
    3) Going home, taking my exit, and seeing two cars off to the side in an obvious accident… a frustrating end to any day.

    Excited about the week ahead!

  2. 1. More insight into how to convert fear of the unknown into excitement about mastery.
    2. Full engagement with 4 remarkable clients, 4 remarkable people.
    3. Frequent appreciation for this life – steady like the rain that fell all night and all day and all night again.
    from Accord, NY (Hudson Valley)

  3. thoughts from my family reunion:
    My brother and I have finally grown up (thank goodness, we’re over 50) and no longer revert to those 10 year old selves who used to always appear when 2 or more of us were together. Or perhaps it was the absence of the younger 2 siblings and the presence of our own children that allowed us to be so mature. anyone else have any insight/thoughts on this…

    kailua, HI