Friday, December 7, 2018


It was 5:20 in the morning. I was sitting by my window, writing. The soft light of my table lamp cast a warm glow over my hands as I wrote. That's what I was appreciating in the foreground of my attention while, in the background, I was grateful for the peace and tranquility of the moment. In an instant, the harmony was interrupted by a car alarm. The sound rose up from the parking lot up to my window. I took a deep breath and ignored it. It went on for 15 minutes or so until it finally quit.

The alarm was supposed to alert someone to do something about the car. No one did. It, apparently, was not a real emergency. It was a malfunction. And though I was able to ignore it, I still felt the tension. In a similar way, we hear all sorts of alarms during the day. Some are burglary alarms from cars and buildings, some are clock alarms, and some are emergency vehicle alarms. There are other types of alarms we bear. Drama, conflict, histrionics keep us on alert in much of the same way. They create the same type of fear and reactions in our body as a fire or burglary alarm, yet, we're not in real danger. Some of the stories we tell ourselves create alarms too, warning us of dangers that we guard ourselves from. Then there are the rumors, scandals, gossip, malicious talk, speculation, and news that we participate in, creating animosity and fear, warning us of dangers that are not necessarily imminent or real. Add to all of these the many notifications we subscribe to on our social media apps. We stay alarmed, even if we are not reacting to do something about it. This state of alarm keeps us vulnerable, worried, stressed and anxious, harming our relationships and our health.

Today is a good day to mute our alarms. Let's be mindful of what we engage in. When we start entertaining thoughts that do not serve us, that fuel the fire of our fears, let's take a deep and slow breath, then another, then another. When panic sets in, let's acknowledge and name our fear. Recognizing what alarms us many times can help us diffuse state of emergency we create for ourselves. Let's turn our attention away from the alarms to what we can be grateful for, what adds joy to our life, what enriches our experience, what blesses others, and what brings us peace.
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