Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Learning to make peaceful choices

Schuyler Waynforth wrote some years ago:
It was hard not to turn to the quick solution that never solved anything and left everyone upset, me included, me, maybe the most. But it was amazing to have to expand into the vacuum left by not having that blunt tool in my toolbox. Both Simon and Linnaea grew to trust me. It took less time than I expected.
. . . .

My raging, my approach to problems didn't help anything.

I can remember talking about it, thinkiing about it, it was like a switch I could feel turning. I went from calm and in control to *switch* furious in no time at all. And I couldn't figure out how to not turn the switch on, to make the switch a thoughtful process. When it flipped the other day I felt it go and I stepped away and I turned it off. Most days I stop long before the switch goes. The thoughtful process was recognizing the grumpiness earlier in the day. Feeling a shortness that isn't normally there and doing things to respond to that like going for a quick breath outside or having a chocolate milk or a chai latte or something else that just ups my energy budget a bit. Taking five minutes to close my eyes and be still helps, too. Whatever works for you to buffer yourself is good. Come up with lots of little things.
More by Schuyler Waynforth
photo by Sandra Dodd


  1. Reading through after this was published, I made two editorial changes. I wrote out "five" and I replaced a comma with a period, making two separate sentences of the last two. I'm saying this because it was Schuyler's writing, but if it's going to be out here for all time (i.e., a few years), I wanted it to be more easily readable. I didn't change a word, just changed the technicalities. [Admission of quote changing, for the record.]

  2. This post was timed perfectly for me. Thank you. I've been making a very concerted effort to feel the switch, to know it's there, to not live as if someone or something else controls that switch. My daughters and I recently experienced a really rough week while being evacuated from Los Alamos while my husband and his parents stayed in town. Seven days of stress, not knowing when we'd go home, and trying to find stuff to do gave me plenty of opportunities to feel that switch. Sometimes I handled everything with ease, peace, and calm, and other moments were not so good. Added stress can make things more difficult, as it did in this situation, but the experience helped to me to be more aware of how my reactions would impact my daughters, and I was much more aware of actually choosing my actions instead of being "switched" more often than not. Schuyler's words often resonate with me, and it's such a gift that she shares her experience so clearly. Thank you for sharing.


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