Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah

Thursday, 10 October 2013

My "Perfect" Life - part 19

In our house we had two small plaques, each with the Scottish sir name of my respective parents. My family name on my mother's side is MacPherson. Their motto is something in Gaelic that translates,

"Touch not the cat 'bought a glove"

I'd translate that loosely as, 'Don't annoy a MacPherson unless you're wearing protective gear!'

In as much as we're all a product of our heredity at least to some degree, I must raise my hand and say, certainly if temper were dangerous, I'd have been a force to be reckoned with.

My first recollection of my own temper was over a kitchen chair. I was about 5 years old. Though I was never diagnosed as obsessive / compulsive I must have at least gone through a phase of it.

In our house the kitchen table did not sit permanently in the middle of the room with four chairs around it. Instead, four chairs migrated into the center of the room from the edges of the floorspace as needed. The fourth kitchen chair was not used at breakfast, because my father left the house before the rest of us ate. So, by the time my sister, mother and I sat down, there was need only for three chairs. That fourth chair had a particular place to sit, and like a chief inspector I would look to make sure, every morning, that it had not been moved. Who was I to 'sit' as judge and jury of the proper location for the chair? And how did I have the nerve to insist everyone else obey me when I commanded it must not be moved?

The answer to both questions is, "I don't know" but I ruled and if there was the slightest indication that the chair had been moved an eighth of an inch, I flew into a rage.

I don't remember ever being disciplined for this rage. I don't know how long the flair-ups lasted. I don't know how many seasons passed before I stopped behaving like a dictator (some in my family would say I never have stopped, but only the catalyst has changed), but certainly arguments about that chair didn't last forever.

Fast forward to my first year of marriage to my husband. I remember being extremely cross about something and tossing a glass cooking dish out the window in my fury. I admit I experienced relief when I heard it smash into pieces on our the pavement below. What I didn't know was that my husband is nearly obsessively cautious about dealing with (broken) glass. He was not pleased!

Now, he was not aggressive toward me, and he did not shout. But let's just say that, by the intensity and sincerety he showed in his response to my action, I knew I'd better make sure I never throw anything out the window again.

How come I never got a message like that until I was over thirty?

Self-control is something I value, but I didn't always. Anger or frustration - often mistaken as anger - doesn't have to rule. I've learned that. But it's taken me a long time to go from being someone who felt she needed to defend and express herself, to someone who is more confident and assured.

I still get angry. I still get impatient and frustrated. I guess that's part of 'the human condition'. But I like to think that the need for control doesn't always get the better of me, and I look forward to the day when it will draw no temptation at all.

What are the causes of your outbursts? Is there a common root? Find that, and with a bit of love and a good hoe, you'll be able to pull out that root and replace it with a garden of calm!

Happy digging... and Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.

Until next Thursday.....

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