Jimmy the Saint:
“Billy, you’re beating up on corpses, Bill.”
“Well that’s the point, Jimmy, that’s the thing man. Doin’ that with them bodies, I mean that keeps my powder dry.”
I love the film “Things to do in Denver When You’re Dead” — Click. The scene above shows the character Critical Bill using a dead body at a funeral home as a punching bag — Click. Critical Bill believes this process is necessary as it helps him keep himself under control. I believe we all have a little bit of Critical Bill in us and like him we struggle.
A series of frustrating but not catastrophic events occurred over the last two weeks and I struggled with choosing my response. I could not respond at all. I could respond in anger. I could respond tactfully. I could funnel my frustration towards a negative activity like consuming alcohol or a positive activity like lifting weights or running. Like most humans I struggle with both choosing what I allow to upset me as well as how to respond.
As much as I wanted to yell and scream I walked away and collected my thoughts. As much as I wanted to eat an unhealthy snack and lose myself in a movie I went for a run. It was an internal struggle to control my emotions vice letting them control me but I was successful — this time. I believe that every time I make the right choice it increases the likelihood that that I will repeat the behavior in the future the same as if I practiced to play a musical instrument or a sport. Winning small battles is key in winning the war.
As you know from a previous post I am fond of using rituals as a means to keep calm during stressful situations Click. Recently I searched for a bracelet that could be engraved with quotes that I value. The bracelet and quotes would serve as a physical and intellectual reminder of concepts that I value which could help me throughout my day.
Road ID Click manufactures wrist identification bracelets that can be customized as you wish. The company’s original intention was to provide a product that would help bike riders be identified in the event of an accident. I purchased the Wrist ID Slim Click which meets my requirements in a conservative understated manner and looks good if I am wearing a three piece suit or a bathing suit. I will eventually have four different ID plates on my Wrist ID Slim each with a different quote. Below are some pictures and the quotes with the meaning I derive from them.
“Peace has cost you your strength. Victory has defeated you.” — Bane from THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
I used to deploy. I do not anymore. This quote reminds me that though I do not deploy I cannot allow myself to become weak in body or spirit.
“No man is free who is not master of himself.” –Epictetus
This quote reminds me that if my thoughts and actions are an emotional response to a stimulus vice carefully chosen after a thoughtful review of possible course of actions than I will never truly be free. This ID plate helped immensely during a recent negative experience.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” — Mark 8:36
This verse from the King James Version of the Bible seems universally applicable despite your religion or the depth of your belief. Though I love my job this quote reminds me to guard against letting my professional ambition undermine my values or negatively impact my family.
“If you wish peace, prepare for war.” –Vegetius
On a national level this quote could be viewed as being strong so that other nations will not attack you. On a personal level I view this quote as something that reminds me the peace I used to find in preparing for war. Running is hard. Lifting weights is hard. Shooting firearms can be challenging. All of these tasks bring me peace of mind when I do them. If I am stressed and I need an outlet this ID plate reminds me that I can find the peace I need via a healthy activity vice an unhealthy one.
As always the key is finding balance. Striving for balance between reacting emotionally all the time compared to never reacting at all; balance between beating up dead bodies like Critical Bill as compared to glancing down to read an ID plate on a bracelet. I wish you well in your search for balance and as you struggle to funnel your frustration towards positive action. All of the above has helped me. I hope it can help you.