A Story About A Lampshade
I recently read a blog post by a Chiropractor friend of mine, Dr. Mike Patten. His idea is that our bodies are often overwhelmed with stress and fatigue, which directly coincides with our natural reaction to our body’s “fight or flight” mechanism.
This makes me wonder…
A few days ago, I was in my boys bedroom getting pajamas for bedtime. This itself can be quite a task since the drawers we keep Asher’s clothing is do not slide. Because of this, we have to keep the top drawer open about half way and we have taken out the middle drawer in order to reach the bottom one, forcing us to reach into the dresser to get something out of the drawer.
But I noticed a diaper sitting on his dresser, and I thought I would put it in the diaper pail. As I pushed the diaper into the pail, I realized that the contraption that keeps the “stinky” in the pail was stuck open. It happens more often than it should, and I have to take the whole thing apart to fix it.
Now I cannot say I was completely overwhelmed with frustration at this moment, but I was alone. It was just me and the diaper pale. All I could hear was him laughing at me, telling me he was broken again and that it didn’t care what I thought. A stand off for the ages… Kinda.
I did what anyone in an irrational state of mind would do. I kicked the diaper pail.
For just a brief moment in time, I was satisfied, justified and happy that the pail got what it deserved. If what I know to be correct is, then I instinctively decided instead of fleeing the situation, I fought back! I was like a hero being attacked by the villain! Batman vs. Joker, Frodo vs. Mordor, the cop lady vs. Hannibal, Nacho vs. Ramses… Me vs. the diaper pail!
Looking back now, I think I probably overreacted. It was an inanimate object and I was projecting frustrations from my life onto it. If what Dr. Patten says is true, stresses from life can cause us to be in a constantly prepared state ready to launch into fight or flight. I think if I had dealt with some problems earlier in the day, week and months coming up to this moment, I might have been in a better position to blow it off.
But I wasn’t…
Moments after kicking the diaper pail, I was left with a mess of shattered glass and plastic to clean up, wondering how I got there. What had happened after “the kick” makes me laugh at myself still. The diaper pail took the velocity of the kick and transferred it to the lamp behind it. The plastic lampshade slammed against the wall, giving… cracking and finally breaking apart directly followed by the light bulb which, I am assuming, had a much easier time shattering than the lampshade. There I was, staring at the the lampshade and the light bulb hanging out together on the floor.
I tell you this because I think we often take conflict a little too seriously. Things in life don’t go the way we want them to very often and we will escalate a conflict at home or a challenge of a coworker or boss as the “critical moment” of life that will change everything. Often the reality is, when you step up to the battle, you are about to kick a diaper pale…