The other day, I emailed a great rant to a dear friend, Cynthia Morris. I titled it “snarky moment.” I was smiling and feeling mischievous as I wrote. I was removed enough from it all not to be the victim in search of rescue, or the martyr in search of pity. I was having a romping roll with anger in the ranting hayloft and it was fun!
Here’s the story.
We had a series of storms here. The power was out for three full days. We had the advantage of a generator that was on briefly each morning and evening; enough to keep the food from spoiling and enable us to run water and flush toilets. Our water comes from a well. The well requires a pump and that pump requires electricity.
I hunkered down when the power first went out. I figured I could easily be patient with the usual two hours of outage that comes with a big storm. I’d managed to make my coffee just in time. I dressed like I was going skiing; long underwear, turtle neck, hooded sweatshirt and down vest. I checked to be sure the land line phone worked for the day’s client calls.
I spent 60 minutes in the morning and the evening scanning email and other social media using my backup laptop battery and a dial-up internet service. Slow, v-e-r-y s-l-o-w. I spent time under the down comforter. I actually read a book. (insert gasp of amazement here)
By day two, I was feeling really pent up. The rain, hail, thunderstorms, and falling tree limbs kept me off the wooded trail. To get to a movie, I’d have to drive the long way around on back roads as the main road was blocked by downed trees and lines. My patience was wearing thin and the lemonade I was making from lemons tasted sickeningly sweet. I was gagging on calling this an adventure, a retreat, a learning experience.
By day three, righting my rant had stopped working for me altogether. I was hardly breathing anymore. My creative muse had flown the coop. The ways in which I was making positive out of the negative just weren’t telling the whole truth. I wasn’t being patient or positive. I was tolerating. In my hunkering down, I gave lip service to “adventure,” but I was living imprisonment. Of course, I didn’t realize this until the power was restored.
The first full day of electrical power was followed by the first full day of sunshine. My own power was returning as well and instead of righting my rant, I wrote it. I wrote it and fired it off to Cynthia. Being the wonderful friend and creative coach she is, she responded:
“There is a lot of wisdom and a lot of clues in this rant. I’d go through it and highlight what you want and then, you know, make it happen.”
Now rants are kind of funny. They generally don’t have a life beyond their explosive moment in time. So, I had to go back and read what I’d written. It was amazingly clear that there are some changes I need to make in my life and the clues in that email are undeniable. The changes loom ominous like the storm clouds. So, no wonder I didn’t own-up to them. No wonder, I wanted to make lemonade. I didn’t want to admit that a lot of the “lemons” on my tree of doings had pretty much gone rotten.
After reviewing the email, I went mud-stomping with Callie dog in the woods. The hilly terrain got my heart beating and I exclaimed to the trees with delight, “I’m breathing again!” That’s when I realized I was no saint of patience. I’d been tolerating. I’d hunkered down with the power-outage (no small bit of symbolism there) and decided to wait until circumstances handed me an oxygen mask.
Tolerating is imprisonment. It makes the spirit hover safely beyond the body, makes the mind crazy and the heart numb. Tolerating is not patience.
Tolerating is breath that is just shallow enough to get by.
Patience allows for deep satisfying breaths.
Tolerating is fearful inaction, constriction.
Patience is love and expansiveness.
Tolerating is a wicked ingrown hair of control.
Patience is free flowing surrender.
Tolerating is self-negation and has very little to do with self-love though it may have a lot to do with what appears to be self-preservation.
When I highlighted the key points in my rant, I discovered what I was tolerating. I discovered what I want through what I don’t want. I discovered new possibilities. Now I must also discover my courage.
There’s a huge energetic surge that comes with a rant. That energetic surge can be a wave that trashes us or one we can ride all the way to the joyful shores of our vision. Whereas tolerating leads to utter exhaustion and possible wipeout, patience allows us to become one with the wave.
What are you tolerating?
Next time you feel a rant coming on, write it before you right it.
Suggested steps for writing, and thus, righting your rant:
- Create a safe space for you and others when you rant. It’s not about blame. It’s about what you are no longer willing to tolerate. It’s about your own discovery of what has to change and gathering the courage to create that change.
- Write your rant.
- Put it away for a bit and go for a walk, dance…get your body moving.
- Do something kind to/for you. Receive love, nurturance and warmth.
- Go back and review your rant. Underline or highlight the clues. They may be things you don’t want anymore, something that needs to be said, a new creative outlet that wants to be born.
- Re-form those clues into powerful intentions and write them out as such.
- Chart your plan of action.
- Gather your courage and your allies.
- Begin – one small step is all it takes, one small action. It may be a powerful request you make of another. It may be resigning a position. It may be clearing a space in the home for creative activities. It may be asking for help. Whatever it is, your power will be restored with each step.
Copyright © January 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved