Other than the screaming and wailing, the gnashing of teeth and the flying of fur how do I know when it’s time to step away from the screen (large or small), tuck the keyboard away and go for a walk?

Yesterday’s events in Charlottesville are a perfect example of exactly the sort of event that send us all to hell.

It has the toxic mix of racial tension, freedom of speech, rights, historical prejudices, current fears and the media is swirling around it like sharks around a fresh spill of blood.  Calm and educated cop friends are posting with fury on social media, even knowing as they do that their service is watching them.  In BC this event holds particular significance because many who have been told to evacuate from the fires are fearful that the RCMP will use it as an excuse to remove their fire arms (as they did in Alberta), there is a strong sense of disenfranchisement amongst many in Western Canada especially those in the interior who feel utterly betrayed by Liberal Ottawa.  So all eyes turn towards Charlottesville and fingers fly on keyboards, blood pressures increase and friendships are strained to breaking.

When should you stop and walk away?

I think about this metaphorically: am I literally taking a BATH in this post?  Am I submersed in it such that I should have a little rubber duck in here with me and reach for the bubbles?

  • Body – can I feel this post in my body as I read it or as I type a response?  From the top of my head to my toes I run a check, my shoulders are tense as I type, my neck hurts…  whatever it is, acknowledge that this post is impacting you physically.
  • Attitude – is my worldview becoming narrowed to one of less optimism or even a feeling of hopelessness?
  • Thought – can I still engage my rational and logical brain or am I reduced to my reptilian brain?  Figuring this out if I have been reduced to my reptilian brain is a tough gig and requires some focused breathing exercises, moving my eyes left and right from two specific points on the wall about 4ft away and repeating the “I’m safe” mantra.  Run some mental addition through my brain; is my grey matter stuttering over simple equations?
  • Heart – is there a creeping feeling of helplessness every time I respond or read a comment?

By the time I’ve done the BATH post check l have given myself enough time to calm the hell down and hopefully, putting the keyboard away is now an option.

There are times when I purposely push buttons and it is only afterwards that I realize why I did it.  When I don’t want somebody in my life and I can’t shake them off any other way, I will often find a way to infuriate them such that they leave.  Yeah.  Sound familiar?

Not proud of it but I acknowledge that this is one of my modus operandi

And that is key.  As a friend of mine said today, the key to successful failure is admitting it and finding a way to honestly admit what I did wrong.  It’s a remarkably rare gift to be able to stand up and say, “I was wrong.  I apologize.”

Kate Gillie
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