Michelle LaBrosse, PMP
Yesterday when I was getting onto the highway, I didn’t see a small white car coming up fast behind me. As I merged into the fast moving traffic, the small white car let me know they were there with a horn blast. Not one, but at least 20. I was very thankful I had just been at the pool and had not put in my hearing aids yet. I asked one of my kids traveling with me what was all the commotion. They said – Mom, I think you just cut off that white car. Oh so sorry – but I didn’t think it wise to stop to apologize – we were speeding down the highway at 60 miles an hour.
I realized I had a choice in how I reacted to the news that someone was blaring their horn at me. I was concerned I had scared the driver. As I looked over to the left lane and saw no traffic there, it occurred to me the person may be an inexperienced driver and did not realize they could get over into the left lane to allow merging traffic to enter the highway.
In the book Buddha Brain, the author talks about the misery and suffering created from the second dart. The second dart is our reaction to events – when we expect another person to behave in any way differently than what they are currently behaving and we become upset because of these perceptions.
A couple years ago, inspired by the behavior of a Cheetah Mastermind participant who routinely expressed dissatisfaction with other participants – I created a technique called “conversational aikido.” Attached is an image of the Conversational Aikdo technique.
A way of compassionately connecting with people who are upset.
Based on what I had learned from Scot Nichols in Somatic Psychology, when we focus on the area right below our belly button, we can stay in a positive neutral state of being. This helps with compassionately connecting with others who may be behaving as if they are upset. Just like the driver in the white car in the story above. What good would it be for me to get upset in response to the driver in the white car’s blaring horn? I couldn’t hear the horn well because I wasn’t wearing my hearing aids. So it certainly wasn’t disturbing my physical sense of peace. Any disturbance to my sense of peace was all my own, if I chose to go there.
For today – regardless of what anyone else is doing, I am going to stay conscious of how I am choosing to react. I will choose to compassionately connect as my first go to behavior if I encounter people who are upset.