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Happy Dance . . . or Häagen-Dazs? November 11, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People.


Something happens.

Let’s call it A.

We react to what happened by choosing a response.

That’s C.

Wait!  What happened to B?

Well, that depends.

Often we aren’t even aware of B’s existence because the belief we applied to A is habitual ~ an ingrained re-action that arises whenever A (or something like A) happens.  Like donning an old pair of comfy shoes, we don’t even notice B because we’ve left our thoughts on auto-pilot.

“And yet not choice but habit rules the unreflecting herd.” ~ William Wordsworth

How we feel in THIS moment (sad, mad, bad, glad, rad) often stems from what we were thinking a moment ago.  If we aren’t mindful as B arises, we relegate the “choice” to a crap shoot or a roll of the dice.

Do ya feel lucky, punk?  Well, do ya?


“How we relate to the issue IS the issue.”

I wander into a store, minding my own business, and Joe Blow comes up to me and gets in my face.

Joe Blow:  Hey!

Me:  Oh, hey, Joe!  How ya doing?

Joe:  I’ll tell ya how I’m doing.  I just read that post you posted trying to brainwash us all into becoming vegetarians and you are DEAD WRONG.

Me:  Oh, um . . . was there something specific about the post that bothered you?

Joe:  The whole thing STUNK.   And that’s NOT the only post you’ve written that pisses me off.  Half the time you don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about!  I don’t know why anyone bothers to read your posts. Why don’t you join us in the Real World for a few days instead of hiding out in La La Land? Who do you think you are anyway?  Some kind of Buddhist monk or something?

When we step into the role of detached observer, Joe Blow’s opinions are NOT the issue.  How we CHOOSE to relate, respond, and react to his opinions IS the issue.

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even

daffy_duck_boxingJoe Blow has not pulled his punches.  He HATED my post.

And he’s engaging in ad hominem attacks ~ telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about half the time.

That’s A.

I have NO CONTROL over A.  It’s a given.

I only have control over how I respond or react to A.  So what should I do in a situation like this?

Easy.  Pull out a gun and shoot him!  That’s C.

Joe Blow:  OMG!  What did you do that for?

Me:  You gave me no choice.  People like you don’t deserve to live.  I don’t want to share my air with you.

Those beliefs are B.

Wait!  Hold it!  I’m NOT giving up my FREEDOM and going to jail for someone like that ~ no way am I going to ruin my life to “get even” with Joe Blow.

Don’t Get Even, Get Mad

Instead of blowing Joe Blow away, I turn on my heel and walk away, saying nothing at all.

Why should I?  Why should I dignify his rantings and ravings with a response? “I don’t value his opinion enough to debate the issue with him.”

That’s B.

And C is:  Walk away.  In a huff!

“He” Isn’t Doing Anything To You

Higher Self:  Wait!  Not so fast!  What’s that?  Why are you carting Joe Blow’s opinion around with you?

Ego:  HE put me in a BAD mood.  So I’m going to cart his opinion around with me all day to remind me what a JERK he is.

Higher Self:  HE didn’t put you in a bad mood.  YOU put you in a bad mood by the thoughts you’re thinking.  HE’s not doing anything to you now.  YOU’re doing it to you.  Why not put down that load?  Let it go.

Ego:  Why should I?

Higher Self:  Because carting other people’s negativity around is tiring and toxic.  It’s like swallowing poison and hoping it hurts them.

Ego:  Hmm . . . you’ve got a point.

Higher Self:  Wash off yesterday’s junk while you’re at it!

So, I kick Joe Blow’s opinion to the curb and get on with my day.

That’s C.


When we tune in to thoughts as they arise, we see that C doesn’t follow A.  There’s a B in there somewhere.

B = the belief we apply to what has happened.

When we remain mindful of our thoughts, we see B as soon as it arises.  We hang on to B if it’s helpful, and let it waft away into the ether if it is NOT.

Freedom Expands When We Remember To Choose

Now, when Joe Blow shares his gratuitous and unwarranted opinions with us, we are in a better position to select the right C for the situation.

We can CHOOSE from any number of beliefs:

* “He’s a jerk!”  -> MAD -> Plot revenge.
* “He’s so ungrateful!” -> SAD -> Burst into tears.  Eat a pint of Häagen-Dazs.
* “People are awful.” -> BAD -> Lose all hope for the future of the planet.
* “He revealed his true colors.” -> GLAD -> Let it go.  Get on with the day.
* “Yay!  One less Christmas gift to buy this year.” -> RAD -> Happy Dance!

It’s as simple as practicing our ABC’s . . . Action -> Belief -> Choice.

Simple, but not easy.  It takes practice.  Lots of practice.  But it’s worth it.  After all, our freedom is at stake.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you ever CHOSEN a “better” response than the first one that popped into your head?  With good results?

Related post:  Here’s to You, John Fisher (Andra Watkins)