Close to the Threshold on a New York Escalator
I used to work in New York City. Each day after my ride on the underground train, I would emerge from the depths of the earth on a sardine-packed escalator, only to find myself swept up in the fast-paced energy of the many other commuters on their way to work.
It was such an adrenaline rush, I would find myself walking crazy fast. But I was also extremely reactive. For instance, I'd stand in line (or "on line" as they say in New York), to get breakfast at the bakery, and would often sense another person standing so close that I was afraid they were going to cut in front of me.
I would be almost panicked by the time it was my turn, anxious that I would be taken advantage of, or worse, being forced to stand my ground and confront the person. These fears did sometimes manifest, but not nearly as often as I expected they would.
Big Stressors Magnify Little Stressors
Later I figured out that the reason I was so reactive is because I had incredible amounts of unresolved physical, mental, and emotional stress that had accumulated, and I wasn't dealing with it effectively.
But because it would take awhile before I could resolve the underlying causes, I needed another way to cope with being so close to the threshold that every little thing would set me off.
I need to find a way to take advantage of this reactivity... and what better way than to ask my inner child?
Finding Joy in a Single Blade of Grass
I grew up in the midwest. Each year near winter's end, I would rush outside every day to see if there was any new spring grass.
As soon as I saw that first light green sprig making its way through the earth, I would get so excited.
I never thought to ask myself why this made me so happy, but I think it was the way new life would force its way through the hard brown earth every single year no matter what.
Reawaken the Sense of Beauty in the Everyday
So I decided to start reawakening my childhood excitement of the seemingly insignificant but beautiful things that crossed my path each day.
One day I remember smelling the most wonderful aroma while walking through the underground labyrinth of the World Trade Center. It was just the cologne of a fast-walking man who had brushed past me, but I found myself following him for a minute, amused at my slightly stalkery behavior.
This slowly expanding mindset to seek beauty in the mundane aroused not only my long suppressed sense of wonder, but also my creativity and love of a challenge.
And it was sometimes the only thing that took the edge off of a stressful day.
© 2015 Dr. Kristin Rose