Spilled Milk and Stormy Weather: Control and Reaction

One week from tonight will be my first “school night” in about two months.  Going back to work will be difficult for a multitude of reasons, but one of them will definitely be the constant exposure to other people’s energy – both positive and negative.  My time at home with Moira has been richer than I ever would have imagined, full of family and friends in the house and on the computer screen.  I will admit, this selected circle, all full of love for me and my growing family has been like fishing in a stocked pond.  These friendships enable me to grow and evolve, certainly, and there are challenges even in these close relationships, but it’s nothing like facing the challenging personalities that one encounters at work.  With all of these week’s distance from my work life I do have enough perspective to understand that I have grown tremendously when I have learned how to accept and deal with difficult people.

Soon, I am going to be assaulted by other people’s “stuff.”  Wait, let me correct that – I will be assaulted by whatever “stuff” I permit to get to me.

One thing I am going to have to learn to just let pass through me?  Hearing other people take the weather personally.  Yep, we live in the northeast where it is cold and dark in January, but no matter how unlucky you are or how much the gods seem to want to toy with you THE WEATHER IS NEVER ABOUT YOU.

But, I am not trying to preempt office whining with blog whining, promise.  I just mention it as an example that I thought of when I was considering the twisty conundrums of control and reaction.

I think many of us are really confused about what we can and cannot control in our lives.  We so often mix up what we should and should not react to.

Last week I talked about how much changing my diet has changed my daughter’s mood and physical well-being.  Cutting out a few foods (a few dietary staples, frankly) has made her into an even more amazing, happy baby.  Something that is so often whispered about like the worst possible fate, the dreaded colic, was pretty much eliminated overnight by cooking something else for dinner.  I have complete control over what I eat and I was able to exercise that control to conquer something that could have victimized us for as long as I was breastfeeding (and perhaps beyond, since we now know her first solid food will decidedly NOT be potatoes!).

The weather and one baby’s crying fits – I realize these are only two handpicked examples, but I wonder if they could help me assemble a theory that could be tested on other things…

We take the weather personally and can be convinced that the clouds have conspired to congregate just because we have a day at the beach planned.  And yet, it is not made immediately clear to all nursing moms that eating foods that have never bothered them might actually be the cause of their babies’ hardened bellies and plaintive cries.

Is it possible that we choose to react to exactly the things we CANNOT control?  We are safe if we bitch about the weather since we know the only action we can take is to wear a raincoat.  But when it comes to something we can control, like eliminating such ubiquitous foodstuffs as corn and wheat and potatoes, why is it that we step back and hide behind the blanket death sentence of “colic”?  (Again, I understand that I am basing all of this on one baby’s belly, but bear with me on this one… I think there may be something to this idea if you insert your own examples).

It’s damn hard to be the primary agent of change in your own life and it certainly isn’t easy to effectively evaluate each situation to determine if it falls within your control and if it necessitates a reaction.  I am going to start small – I won’t react to people who let the sleet ruin their day and I will continue to control what foods land on my plate.


4 thoughts on “Spilled Milk and Stormy Weather: Control and Reaction

  1. Blisschick December 29, 2009 / 10:33 am

    For years, I would tell people that I suffered from S.A.D. in the Winter. Marcy, bless her, worked for years to convince me that the weather was a) not about me and b) really INSIDE of me, if that makes sense.

    It took a long time, but this truth finally penetrated me at a heart level and I no longer respond to weather with depression. I notice a lot of people that I KNOW in person who say they suffer from S.A.D. never leave their houses once the snow falls, but we know for a fact that solar panels work even when the sun is not out. How much better engineered are our human bodies? Certainly, we can get all that we need even on a cloudy day.

    This is all about ignorance, really. People are comfortable with their pain and CHOOSE not to seek alternatives. Even a crying/screaming baby is not enough to awaken them to their own complacency.

    This always brings me to the whole “WHY ARE WE even a BIT awake? WHAT is different about us?!”

    A question I can only ever satisfy with thoughts of reincarnation…

    • girlwhocriedepiphany December 30, 2009 / 8:46 am

      Bliss, I am so glad that you kicked the SAD monsters out of your life – you are such a vibrant voice in the winter chill! As I sit sideways on my couch, all hunched and looking like I never took a ballet class or a yoga class in my life I hear you about being comfortable with pain! And as for what makes us different – I completely agree that we have been round the sun many more times than these physical bodies. We are blessed and can only ask to awaken a bit more each day.

      Tess, If you are what a stalker looks like I will happily have twenty more! It really is good to be writing again. I just have to get my groove back so I can fit it all into my vanishing “free” time. You are saying exactly what I was trying to express (still don’t have my blog legs back and am not expressing all the thoughts as clearly as I would like). Thanks for doing it for me!

      Blessings to you both, two of my most favorite blog writers and readers!

  2. Tess December 29, 2009 / 3:04 pm

    At the risk of sounding like a stalker, let me say again I’m so glad you’re back writing again!!

    I think you’re right, we often do react to the things we can’t control. I’d take that a little further and suggest that sometimes we make things more difficult for ourselves precisely because then it feels we have no control, so it isn’t our fault, right?? For example I’m a chronic procrastinator but on some level I’m aware it’s an excuse not to… well what lies in the dots is where the growth lies, of course.

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