Our life is what our thoughts make it

29 Aug 23

By Dominic Byrne

Single Parent Getting After It

It’s late in the evening, I’m tired, and I’m under time pressure to feed the kids their dinner, I grab the big bag of beans from the shopping pile but accidentally grasp the bottom of the bean bag and whip the fresh vegetables across the kitchen so it’s raining green.

What is your response if this was you? More than likely you laugh it off. But on one of those days when you feel you’re being tested, you may automatically explode with profanity.

Has this entire week been a test regarding my last post about applying the dichotomy of control to differentiate between what is within my control and what is outside my control and how I respond?

Let me put my spraying the beans around the kitchen in perspective. Today I couldn’t source the bike tyre I needed locally so I drove out west in a window of limited time but I got bounced around two mechanics and a retail store due to misguided human error. This pushed me into chronic peak hour traffic, plus having spent more money and time than budgeted.

This would normally be fine but the beans were destined to break the camel’s back of a calamitous week that landed on top of me, purely to test my EQUANAMINITY..

Stoics aimed to maintain an inner peace that's unaffected by the ever-changing external world.

Equanimity refers to a state of emotional balance and tranquillity in the face of life’s ups and downs. It’s the ability to maintain a calm and composed demeanour regardless of external circumstances. Stoics believed that emotions like fear, anger, and desire were often the result of misguided judgments and attachments to things beyond our control. Equanimity involves recognising that external events are beyond our control and that our true power lies in how we choose to respond to them. By cultivating equanimity, Stoics aimed to maintain an inner peace that’s unaffected by the ever-changing external world.

Work’s been significantly busier this week with technical problems, resourcing issues and tight deadlines. This is in the midst of the kids changing from winter to summer sports with associated schedule changes. Throw in a book week parade and costume sourcing. Lending $5,000 with the incorrect account number and the money not bouncing back and potentially good as gone. Friction in a personal relationship. The roof racks I borrowed from a friend were mysteriously damaged and need to be replaced. Capitalising on a rare free Sunday to do a track session, I drove 90 minutes to Wollongong to have an electrical issue at the start of the session, followed by a flat tyre early in the ride. This was off the back of a hit and run on my parked trailer mid-week, the struggle to move the trailer out of the neighbour’s yard, fix it, and then the council fining me because the collision pushed the trailer across the footpath. (“stop on path/strip in built-up area” )

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you feel like you’re being tested??

When the tide of the week was against me the kids were impatiently asking for dinner and I was hurling green beans around the room, I did decide to laugh. I chose not to explode. I remained calm. As I did with all the weekly obstacles that were thrown in my path. I maintained an inner peace, unaffected by the external world. I didn’t pass any negative emotion on to Noah, Evie or anyone else. I discarded it.

As Marcus Aurelius said in Meditations; “Today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it, because it was within me, in my own perceptions — not outside.”

Having a moral framework to lean on, to perpetually practice managing emotions in times of duress and instability,  positively dictates the way you act despite your external situation.

I’m proud of who I am today.

It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment