Friday, September 10, 2010

ABCs From a Steamed Mirror

FRUSTRATION! Have you been there? Have you been stuffed into that place where life, relationships, or circumstances leave you disappointed, annoyed or depressed?

Just this morning, I found myself in the flaring bulls eye of frustration. I pounded my desk and shouted the age old question, "Why?" But, the incident that fired my meltdown was only a spark in a blaze. The forest fire of distortion, differences and diminishes in my life are making heated transitions for me that are metamorphosing.

When life hijacks our expectations, and makes heavy demands; when delight turns to drudgery, stress levels elevate, and discouragement descends, we lose our focus, and frustration is funneled into the core of our being.

That frizzled feeling is well described by an American Novelist, "When life demands more of people than they demand of life, as is ordinarily the case, what results is a resentment of life almost as deep seated as the fear of death." 

Frustration stinks and the odor is putrid. A nauseating stench of decay that rots our joy and turns the stomach until the only option is to vomit out all the dissatisfaction and anxiety in tears, or an angry bout. 
A comedian once said of frustration, "Set the kitchen timer for twenty minutes, cry, rant, and rave, and at the sound of the bell, simmer down and go about business as usual." 

But, when our anger diffuses, our tears dry up, and we've spent the last scent of foul frustration, how do we go about business as usual? More than likely the cause of our unraveling is still present, stitch ripper effects are still tearing at us, and we feel like we're coming apart at the seams. 

If you're housebreaking a puppy, the solution may be as easy as mopping the floor. But what if the little teether just chewed a hole in the middle of your brand spanking new carpet and there is nothing left anywhere in your budget to repair or replace the floor covering? 

Or, what if something more serious, more transitional, drags you to the edge of sanity and stress?  It isn't so easy to simmer down and go about business as usual when your whole life is changing. 

After setting the timer, and a teary rant, I was saved by the bell. Banging my head on a firm surface must have knocked some sense into me because I started to think about the control that my life circumstances were having over me. It really was disconcerting to see myself as an emotional tossed salad acting like a fruitcake. I imagined myself dying in a fit of frustration. My gravestone would read, 'Here lies Peanut. She was nuttier than a squirrel turd.'  
I'm convinced frustration is much like the Act of God designation on an insurance policy. I can not be insured against what life is most likely to throw at me, and I can get hot and steamy over it, or I can try to see the healing in the heat. I find it is always easier to write on a steamed mirror, so here are my ABCs on frustration.
Accepting frustration  as a normal human response helps us to own it and take responsibility for it. Instead of asking, "why is this happening", the better question is "what can I do to meet or override this challenge".

Before giving vent to an outburst of emotion, move toward the frustration and see what life lesson it offers. Take a good, honest look at the culprit. Ask yourself, "Am I doing too much, expecting too much, spending too much, taking on too much responsibility?"

Create a belief system that is based on gratitude. Be thankful for the good things, and control your thinking. 

Next time you are tempted to run a muck through the forest of frustration remember: It only takes one match to start a forest fire, but sometimes, it takes a whole box to start a campfire. Name your matches true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, and gracious. 

Summing it all up friends, I'd say we will do best by filling our minds and meditating on these. Think of the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; and things to praise, not things to curse.  

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