Laugh at Your Fears

 

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Salma Hayek told Oprah a story: When she was 10, there was a neighborhood flasher. This man accosted her and exposed his full frontal nudity. “I was terrified, just so scared…” She went home and told her grandmother who then gave this advice (Hayek offered a disclaimer – she is by no means telling little girls they ought to do this)  BUT…

“The next time that man flashes you – even if you are terrified and alone – LAUGH at him. Point at his groin and LAUGH.”

The man DID flash her again. And little Salma stopped. She felt her entire body tighten with fear. But she remembered her grandmother’s advice. So she stared, pointed at his groin and laughed.

“He ran away, he cowered and ran away!” Hayek says, still incredulous.

You can always choose to reclaim your power.

 

 

Encounters of the “Dreadful” Kind

Fear (or terror) is the root of all anger.

Do you get angry often? Want to change but don’t know how? Try the five “whys.” Ramit Sethi recommends asking yourself “why” five times to get to the root of procrastination, but I think it can help identify all types of suffering.

Example:

When I drive, I get angry with drivers who are slow and get in my way.

Why?

Because I’m tired and I just want to get home.

Why?

Because my clients were terrible and I want to relax.

Why?

So I can feel good and forget about the day.

Why?

It was a hard day because I don’t feel good about how I handled one of my meetings. I’m afraid I didn’t seal the deal (or impress the boss, or look good to others, etc.)

Why?

Because I didn’t prepare well enough… I went to bed too late last night….I wasn’t at the top of my game…I don’t like my job…

By the fifth why, you usually get to the real root of the problem. It’s not the traffic, but your fears that drive your anger.

Painful events and relationships are lessons to us. Life is a persistent teacher and homework will keep coming until you’ve passed the test.

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Whooo’s angry?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Magic Words

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It Is What It Is

I used to hate this saying. I often heard it after I complained about something. What kind of retort is that? It just made me angry. “It is what it is.

When I was a kid, my home was toilet papered and egged. They wrote  “chink” on the driveway. “This happens,” my father said as our family cleaned the mess up. The words stung, like alcohol on an open wound. How could he react in such a weak manner?

And yesterday, my daughter cried. A boy she considers to be a good friend made a racist joke about Asian eyes and dental floss. I was inflamed! But she sat – quiet and still and oh-so-wise, in the puddle of ignorance, stupidity and pain this boy caused. She said, “I want to talk to him and explain why it was hateful and hurtful. He will understand and never do it again. I know he’s a good kid.” As her mother, I could only see red. Someone broke my daughter’s heart and made her question this world (once more), just so he could get laughs. 

And I knew. I knew the anger I felt was a false sense of power.Being angry makes you feel energized and ready to mobilize. But anger is fear on steroids.

“It is what it is” is not a rallying cry to be passive. It means,”what you see before you, IS.” 

When I was undergoing surgery for breast cancer, these five words were embodied in the doctor’s confident hands, the nurses’ night time vigil and my family and friends’ constant support. This IS the situation and we’re taking care of it right now.

It’s about accepting that which you cannot change. If you can’t change it, your anger and defiance – your energy – are wasted. You continually generate negativity.

In fact, acceptance is the first step to proactivity. Once you accept reality (that which IS, that which you cannot change), you can use your energy and creativity to begin to make steps to exact change. A couple of wise friends of mine often say, “This, too, shall pass.” Everything is impermanent. Accept each season.

 

Mogee*

 

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The Mosquito buzzes loudly

and gives you time to escape

the angry welts of last nights’ feast

evidenced upon your nape

 

negligent neighbors leave pools green

the larvae turn to pupa

The process is quite enthralling

tho it might cause The Zika

 

A solution is in order

but the slayer you so dread

is the Desert Bat Sonor’

whose winged path you dare not tread

 

 

*Mogee is Korean for mosquito

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Bonus picture of my dog.