Breaking down arrows, choices to forgo inertia

For this November I have struggled to write a first post. Most of the time I pre-schedule because I am orderly. Not at present and for too many reasons to go into. This morning however I read an excellent post entitled Escaping the Emotional Rabbit Hole and it started me thinking, wondering about the reasons that I seem to be living in inertia land. My post is not designed to copy what I read but to investigate why it resonated so much with me.

The post by Clear Air Turbulence (also known as AP2, love the names) is about triggers or the ‘occurrence of an event’ as a trigger to consequences. He calls the initial trigger an arrow and describes how the first arrow can be subsequently followed by others. In other words, we have an incident to which we react. We may then react again, and again. Let’s also call these further reactions, arrows. There can be just the one arrow, but more likely, the arrows can keep on coming. I found myself identifying.

Our reaction to a trigger is similar to being pierced by an arrow. Imagine that very scenario. What do you do? Cringe, cry out, fall to the ground? Panic, allow the pain to take control, make the bleeding worse perhaps? I mean, let’s face it, few of us are stoic enough to stay calm, call a doctor or a friend to take us to emergency. So, there we are, scared, in pain and bleeding. What do we do? We jump on the ‘let’s keep reacting train’ until it derails and more arrows start flying.

In my case,  in the process of getting my novel out there again (I re-edited and added a new cover to my first book in a romance/family drama series) I ran into problems. Because of my less than perfect technological skills and some other things, I battled with every step on the way to eBook and print book requirements. As a consequence, I fell victim to the first arrow. I began losing confidence. The platforms I was dealing with did not make the process any easier and though I understood they deal with thousands of people; I took it personally and let it upset me further – a second arrow.

The escalation of emotions manifested itself physically and of course mentally. The third arrow hit me hard, evolving into a painful feeling of anger at myself and resulting in the ‘giving up’ talk, the one where you think you should throw things out the window (figuratively and literally). We could go on but I’m sure you are getting the gist of things and relating, or not for your sake.

I do what I do in a profession that is highly competitive. Believing I am not good enough comes easy. Normally I can deal with this but these days watching some of the events in the real world make me sad. Yes, there are good people out there doing remarkable things but there are also so many others who float around, smug, greedy, and worst of all, oblivious to the suffering of others. Then there are those claiming they have rights forgetting that those rights come at a cost to the rest of us. A close friend of many years said something so stupid on social media that I couldn’t bring myself to make sense of it. I had to wonder what the point was in trying so hard to achieve, to be, to survive when continually those around us pull this world down.

 This is the first real arrow, invisible, sitting on our subconscious and yet deadly. This is the one that gives us the reason to stand in front of the target board while the arrows shoot and wound. There is no denying this is a difficult world. The helpful voice on the other end of the phone is automated. We live in a throwaway society. Worse, we live in a ‘let’s blame someone else society’ and let’s not leave out the best – the ‘I’m entitled society’ no matter your age or knowledge. But the choice of inertia doesn’t change anything. All it does is limit the chance at succeeding in what you do, at being happy and at leading by example. Giving up can never be an option.

AP2 says: “Happily, there is a well-touted meditation that I’ve used to great effect on many occasions called RAIN. I like to think of it like this – when it’s raining arrows, I need to:

  1. Recognise it (become aware that you are firing arrows or experiencing difficult emotions)
  2. Accept it (allow your pain to be as it is/don’t judge it)
  3. Investigate it (look into it with curiosity)
  4. Not identify/Nurture it (understand you are not your pain/practice universal compassion)

I thought about this a great deal and decided I would add a ‘Y’ when adopting his meditation, go from Rain to Rainy: Y is for yesterday and today is a new day.

Today I choose to continue doing the best I can and that means not allowing myself to be derailed by anything. I have a voice and I can use it. I am using it now. Have any of you out there seen Legally Blonde 2? Our lovely hero tells an assembly of politicians in a brilliant scene, that she forgot to speak up at her hair salon and the consequences was a fringe she didn’t want. Sound shallow, silly? Not when you follow it up by telling that same audience that without using that voice their country could be in for a very bad haircut. Watch the film. Reece Witherspoon is more than her share of delightful.

Thank you AP2 for putting out a post at just the right time, for me anyway.

P.S. I did manage to sort out most of what had to be done, got help from some good people and threw all the arrows in the bin.

All pics courtesy of http://www.unsplash.com

See you next time, Barb

Questions for me? Want to share your views and ideas? I’d love to hear from you. And a like and a comment will keep me working hard. if by chance you read my books or a book, I have featured on here then remember to leave  a review either on Goodreads  or where you originally purchased the book. It’s the way a writer improves.

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16 Comments

  1. Great analysis, reflection & analogy. I am no writer but I remember it was you who told me to write and just write. So I start writing, it may not look good the first time, but I will keep writing and eventually it will turn into something. That’s what I learned from you Barb 🙂

  2. Barbara, what a wonderful blog post — and right on time for me! I felt like you’d been watching my life lately. You expressed so eloquently the many arrows I’ve been experiencing. I don’t recognize my country. I don’t recognize my friends. How can so many people I thought I knew have beliefs and ideas the opposite of mine? How did this happen? Everything has changed, and it feels like my country is on a runaway train heading for disaster. It’s mind-boggling. It makes me glad that most of my life is behind me because the future looks bleak. The arrows keep coming. I want to throw them into the trash can like you did. Thank you for sharing — especially the RAINY meditation. I’m going to try to adopt it in my daily thinking.

  3. I enjoy AP2’s posts too, and I did comment on this actual post as well, because I saw tremendous value in this. It’s so cool that we all get to mingle and share our thoughts, and I’m stoked to see this on your blog. Loved it, Barbara!

  4. Hey Barb. Beautiful post and analysis. Sorry it took me so long to read and reply. I love your addition of a Y. RAINY. I’ll be sure to add that next time. A gentle to reminder to let go of the past.

    • Thank you for taking the time to reply. I love reading your posts because there is such a ring of reality and truth. And I’m glad you don’t mind my small addition. Letting go of the past is so important.

      • Thank you Barb. It means a great deal to hear you say that. The RAIN technique is a popular Buddhist meditation. Of course you can add whatever works for you. Wishing you well 🙏

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