Adversity #2 – Emotional Turmoil
There’s a wall in, what’s now, Colin’s room that reminds me of my struggle with emotions. When Grant was three, and for as long as I’ve known him, he always wanted to delay going to bed. Even at the age of 18. He’s consistently been a master at getting us sidetracked.
Finally, one evening, as I was putting him to bed, I got fed up. With the soft side of a closed fist, I punched (backhand style) the wall. It nearly scared the crap out of both of us. The physical and emotional marks are still there today. Those sorts of moments get seared into our memory. Don’t they?
This type of adversity reminds my emotions aren’t always consistent with my circumstance. It’s been difficult for me, to say the least.
When our oldest son was singled out as being “gifted” we started down the path toward learning about “emotional intelligence.” We wanted him to be in classes that he didn’t find boring, but instead were challenging. We wanted to push his comfort limits.
After discussing this, at length, the school encouraged us to read a book entitled “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman. The excerpt below is from that book. Connie read it, I just got the cliff notes.
“A belligerent samurai, an old Japanese tale goes, once challenged a Zen master to explain the concept of heaven and hell. The monk replied with scorn, “You’re nothing but a lout – I can’t waste my time with the likes of you!”
His very honor attacked, the samurai flew into a rage and, pulling his sword from its scabbard, yelled “I could kill you for your impertinence.” “That,” the monk calmly replied, “is hell.”
Startled at seeing the truth in what the master pointed out about the fury that had him in its grip, the samurai calmed down, sheathed his sword, and bowed, thanking the monk for the insight.
“And that,”said the monk “is heaven.”
The sudden awakening of the samurai to his own agitated state illustrates the crucial difference between being caught up in a feeling and becoming aware that you are being swept away by it. Socrates’s injunction “Know thyself” speaks to the keystone of emotional intelligence: awareness of one’s own feelings as they occur.”
What walls have you been punching? Have you looked at the marks you’ve left?