A Birthday Dance With The Devil: How I made my way out of the flames of anger, hate and frustrationAug 24, 2020
(By Eldad Ben-Moshe ✨ Reading Time: 6 minutes)
❤ Hey there Better Lifers!
560 fires. At the same time.
California is burning.
Over 1,000,000 acres have already burned in 1 week.
How big is that?
It’s like ⅕ of the grand canyon burning on fire.
It’s like the entire island of Maui, Hawaii, burned - twice.
It's more than 5 times the size of New York city.
And we’re not seeing the end of it yet.
560 fires are still going as I write these words - more than a week after the fires started.
People, homes, vegetation, and animals are at constant risk -
Not only from the flames but also the smoke.
Can you imagine the smoke of 560 fires that big?
Sadly, if you live in California, you don’t have to imagine it - you’re breathing it.
So on my birthday, my wife, my 1-year-old, and I evacuated to the state of Oregon so that we’ll be able to breathe some clean air.
But it wasn’t that easy.
The day before my birthday I had to deal with my inner fires as well.
Do you know that feeling?
That feeling of suffering, of emotional pain made of frustration and anger?
That feeling of your inner fires going wild, burning from within, and covering your mind with the smoke of anger, hate, and frustration?
A smoke so thick that rays of light can’t seem to pass through it.
What happened the day before my birthday was just as hard as what happened on my previous birthday.
The day before my birthday: Anger and frustration rule my mind
Maybe it was the smoke from all the fires,
or perhaps it was life playing its cosmic joke on me -
and giving me yet another great opportunity to practice.
Either way, nothing was going ‘right’, and even small things getting to me.
For example, the bizarre and frustrating case of the internet working on all of my wife’s devices, but none of mine.
Try running an online business without internet...
The internet company’s customer support said they never heard of such a thing -
which added to the sense of ‘life’s f*#king with me’.
Know that one?
Then there were bigger things too -
my credit card was hacked, and about $20,000 were being charged to it.
In the meantime, Matan - my sweet, smiling, joyful boy was cooperating with life’s plan to see how I handle this situation and added his contribution by crying a lot.
I understand him, the poor sweet thing.
He loves being outside - he is a nature boy, just like his father.
But with all the fires and the smoke, he is not safe breathing that air into his young, divine lungs. So the whole situation was tough on him - and me.
But the biggest thing was that I lost my peace.
I was dancing with my demons of anger, frustration, and hate -
but instead of being on top of it and leading the dance, this time they were leading the dance, swirling and twirling me into a tornado of self-forgetfulness.
They got me, and they got me bad.
It was not a pretty sight, and I knew something needed to be done.
The turning point
So what do you do when life takes you on a ride?
How do you break loose from your inner demon’s tight grip as he is holding you with a wicked smile and not letting go, no matter what you do?
But sometimes something else is needed.
Usually, that happens if I fail to deal with my painful emotions early enough.
That is why breathing, the 1st step of the B-AIR system, is so crucial:
Breathing creates a buffer, without which you are likely to go down a spiral of emotions that keep fueling themselves, and the flames of your inner fires will only get hotter and bigger.
It’s like a car going downhill -
the sooner you hit the breaks, the more chances you have to stop it from falling to the abyss.
And if you’re too late?
The car will already be going down so fast that you might have no way of controlling it anymore.
Which is precisely what happened to me on the day before my birthday.
Until I saw through it.
I saw why I can’t seem to get out of that loop, why I can’t break through the flames:
I was trying to solve the external problems (the internet, the credit card, my son’s misery) instead of addressing the internal problem: my mind’s lack of peace.
I was trying to solve the wrong problem - and I was paying a high price for that.
For as long as my mind is agitated, the chances of doing the right, useful thing to solve the external problems are almost non-existing.
Once I saw that, I was able to focus on the biggest problem at hand - my state of mind.
And once I saw that?
I was able to see the solution as well.
In this specific case, it was simply to cool everything down by taking a cold shower.
As simple as it is, when the mind is all upset and on fire, it’s harder to see things for what they are and harder to find the way out, even if the solution is that simple.
But once the mind gets quiet again, all the rest seems to fall into place much more easily.
Sometimes you’ll find the answers to the external problems yourself.
Sometimes you’ll be able to take a deep breath, put it all aside, and deal with it another day.
And sometimes, like in this case, you’ll be able to really listen to some good advice given to you and act on it.
Yes, it was Erica - my wonderful wife - who gave me some insight as to what to do with it all.
“The internet situation is so strange and random, it’s probably just life playing a trick on you, and it will resolve itself by itself tomorrow” - and she was right. It did.
“The bank thing is not urgent. You can talk to them again on Monday” - very true.
But all her wisdom would have fallen on deaf ears if my mind was still agitated.
Practical Actionable Steps - From Information to Transformation:
A happy ending
Throughout all that time, friends of mine were making a birthday dinner for me.
Truth be told, when I was dancing with my demons, I wanted to call it off.
The only reason I didn’t do that was that I didn’t want all their efforts to be wasted.
But as I was able to quiet my mind, hear my wife’s advice and act upon it,
I was ready to go to eat with my friends - and to be present and enjoy it.
And that’s the key here.
So here are the steps you must follow when your inner demons get the best of you again:
- Quiet your mind - with any means that might work for you.
It might be your usual go-to methods such as B-AIR, or something completely different that flashes in your awareness like a cold shower.
The most important thing is not what method you use,
but rather that you actually use it.
So at all costs - listen to your inner guidance, and do what it takes to quiet your mind. 99% of the time (at least), nothing good will happen before you do that.
- Doubt your stories - If you'll look honestly you'll see what really triggered you, you'll see the 'story' that got you upset:
- 'She isn't treating me well'
- 'How did he dare do that?'
- 'Things should be different'
- 'People shouldn't act like that'
Your stories that people and things need to be different than they are are not necessarily the truth.
The more you question them and doubt them, the happier and more peaceful you'll be - because you'll be able to discern truth from stories, and be closer to dealing with the real cause of your upset and your pain.
- Be present - once you quiet your mind, being present will become much easier.
If you don’t quiet your mind?
Good luck with that...
A very good way of staying present once your mind is less agitated is focusing on a physical sensation such as the air coming in and out of your nostrils, the touch of your feet on the floor, squeezing the palm of your hand etc.
- Your heart automatically will be opened again - nothing to do here, just stay present and notice it as it happens.
That is just one of the beautiful effects of being present and aware (sometimes referred to as ‘being in the present moment’ or ‘being here’).
Awareness opens the heart.
It connects you with the magical, beautiful part of reality -
that which lies outside of your mind’s stories about reality.
- You’ll be able to enjoy life again - even if you just survived another dance with your inner devil, and every part of you is exhausted and covered in smoke from the flames.
- Heck, you’ll even be able to listen to your wife, admit that she’s right, and do as she suggests!
When life gets you again, know that you can - and will - get out of it.
Externally, we ended up driving from smoky California to the clean air of Oregon.
But that's also a beautiful metaphor for my internal journey through it all.
After all, the journey is always internal.
You cannot run away from your internal flames.
So instead of traveling from one state to another, you travel from the clouded, smokey state of mind to a clear, present state of loving awareness.
You can do it.
One baby step at a time.
To your better life,
with tons of 💖
Founder, Teacher, and Coach
Better Life Awareness Center
Life is a journey of learning together, learning from each other.
You don’t have to do it alone.
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