Nick loves the movie Top Gun. He watches it over and over, singing the songs while following the story line. In case you are not familiar with the story line, this is a spoiler alert! Goose dies.
Nick always tells us at that pivotal point in the movie, “Goose is dead.” It is like he has just learned that for the first time. His emotional response is real each time even though he has seen the movie hundreds of times. It’s one of the cute things that Nick does, but I realized that I do it too.
For example, when watching a movie I have seen before, the end is always the same and yet I too can be hooked in emotionally.
I was thinking about this the other day and I asked myself – Do I get caught up in emotional drama of things that have happened to me before? Does my strong response take me by surprise each time even if I have previously had the same experience.
If I choose to drive on the various freeways around the city during the hours of 3 pm to 7 pm, I am going to be in traffic. People will cut me off in their attempt to get to their destination. This will happen. If I know that this will happen, why am I surprised? Why do I let myself get upset? Why don’t I recognize that this will happen and prepare myself emotionally and physically for the eventual situation? Why do I let myself just roll along with the emotional outburst? Is my response real or is it a conditioned response to the situation?
I have acted differently in other repeat situations. Over the years, when Nick starts having seizures, we have prepared ourselves for the event. Even though the initial start of the seizures is unexpected on any given day, I know that it is an eventual certainty and I have a plan. We always have his rescue medicines available to him. We know exactly what to do to support him and to minimize the effect of the seizures. Preparing the plan, and implementing it, brings a sort of peace in the midst of the situation.
Why can’t I do this with those traffic situations or the long lines in the grocery store or the many many other things that create a strong emotional response of frustration and even anger. I don’t get angry when Nick is seizing. I just implement my plan.
I am grateful that I do feel emotions and I am not suggesting that we stuff our emotional response. Rather, I am offering up the idea that we evaluate our response to determine if it is a real emotional release or a conditioned response to the situation. Then, with that insight and forethought, we can plan and we can choose to respond differently.
I choose joy. I choose gratitude. I choose peace.
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