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A new Christmas Eve

“One of our greatest freedoms is how we react to things.” Advice delivered by a wise and compassionate mole, charmingly fallible in his predisposition to be distracted by a quest for cake. Advice received by a boy in need of reassurance and enriched by friendship but ultimately in possession of many of the tools to find his own way home. Advice absorbed by a mother in a warm heap of blankets with two young children on their first Christmas Eve together as a unit of three.

It’s a phrase that’s played a huge part in my pivot from traditional family life to an alternative path. I’ve reminded my children of it when conflicts arise between them to try and guide them, at least in the long term, into making emotionally intelligent choices. I’ve used it to try and understand that other people’s behaviour is based on their own unique mental makeup. That their truth is not mine and all I can do is attempt to show up with warmth and light and as an honest version of myself.

It's a humbling experience then to take stock and realise that your own reactions are lacking in clarity, sound judgement and proportion. That the number of balls being juggled and volleys landing has got to a point where logical thought is being taken over by triggered responses which aren’t helping you make good decisions or move forward. Which you then overcompensate for out of misguided guilt for the depth of the raw, unpretty, uncensored reaction you felt in your gut.

Catch it in time and it’s possible to recalibrate. Hitting the reset button can simply be a case of calming and slowing thought processes down. Of dealing with problems in isolation rather than creating a complicated web and buckling under the weight of the whole. Or simply parking matters and waiting to see whether, in fact, they’re issues worthy of consideration or action at all. A little energy invested in self-awareness and control can go a long way to conserving your strength.

Because you can’t account for the reactions of others and how these show up in your sphere. Being sensitive yourself in the face of negativity is only adding fuel to the fire and draining your own resilience tank in the process. Can you let things wash over you? Probably not entirely, but you can choose how deep they sink into the pores and attend to your inner power source so you radiate out from the core. Flood the ecosystem with positive feeling and openness in the hope some of it bounces back.

How we react is a limitless freedom, a gift to ourselves and ultimately to others, a way of facing the universe which says we’re either combative or part of the flow. Because there really is no point long term in doing anything other than letting go. It’s exhausting being a fighter and anger only reduces. You can be productive and principled but still take the long view and consider life in the round. The more people on the same accepting wavelength the greater it is for the collective good. We can but try and add to the dynamic.


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