Giving Space…Yourself and Others

Reasoning as a Source for Guidance

The use of reasoning as a means for getting along in life is something I like very much. I mean developing the discipline to think things through sequentially makes a lot of sense to me. And sometimes I am up the walls, when people just don’t seem to use their brains.

What I mean by sequential thinking is that very often in life there are things that have to come first before you do something else. It is so obvious that you can’t pour the tea in your cup when you still have to take your cup out of the cupboard and put it on the table or counter. It is so obvious. But in other matters we sometimes seem to believe in woo-woo. As if things would ever manifest by themselves just because we already have wished them to be so.

When Emotions are High…

My partner and me were having disputes and discussions some days ago, and in the course of events I asked her to bring me that jug of water from the living room, please. “Yes“ she answered and when she did, she distracted herself from completing that task, went first on to do „quickly“ something else before then finishing that task, hurrying to bring me the jug, bumping into the door frame, hurting herselfmaybe good for surfing but… very insecure water – all of which was unnecessary. And I was bitching to myself, that she would not have bumped into that door at all if only she simply completed that task straight forwardly. It was upsetting and hurtful at the same time to see this happening and seeing her bumping into the door frame.

My Motorboat…

And I then changed my attitude, because to expect from my partner to act reasonably was – at that point in time – just inappropriate. I had to admit to myself that reasoning may be a great tool, but before starting to act in a reasonable manner, we have to become able to access our reasoning. Me too. And it makes sense to me that we do not and maybe cannot access it all of the time. That key step, that transitioning moment, accessing some X-factor that enables us to start using our reasoning is something that I yet have to discover. Or maybe we can use it increasingly more often – like training or educating ourselves towards that?

What I reverted to, at the time of the event above was the only thing that I could imagine doing – i.e. expressing my love for her – as I do love her. But… (and the motorboat went on and on in my head: but but but but but but but but .…)

In Communication with Our Reason

I really like this sentence where Frederick Matthias Alexander defines what makes it special to being human. In the human realm  “… its members are in communication with their reason“. I love this wording – to be in communication with – and it is not  the other person first – but we, I as much as anybody else, need to communicate with our faculty of reasoning first, before interacting with others; and more generally speaking before interacting with the outside world. This rings true for me and it hurts me when I see that reasoning is not the primary source of guidance. It does not seem to be the prevailing one.

offering Flowers…… and Space

We all need to find the time and the space to make that switch in order to become able to start reasoning. Somehow it is sad for me to admit this, but at the same time it is a good thing because it forces me to act with more humility and kindness towards my partner and towards others in general.

There is another side remark of F. M. Alexander in his chapter «Incorrect Conception» in his second book where he states, that “it is absurd to try to teach a person who is in a more or less agitated or even anxious condition. We must have that calm condition which is characteristic of a person whose reasoning processes are operative.“ For a moment let’s not get hung up on the fact that the situation I described was not in a teaching context, though Alexander refers in his statement to such a context. But even Alexander says half a page before that statement that he himself may make shipwreck against this kind of rock when encountering it in a teaching context.

How Do You Handle Situations like these?

I believe this is not a problem that only I experience, but we all are confronting this issue from time to time, every now and again and I am genuinely interested how you handle these moments. What “techniques” do you use to find a “calm condition”? I guess you all do have similar experiences. What solutions have you found? I’ld love to hear from you, how you deal with this question and how you act in a similar situations. Share your ideas here! Comments will be moderated in person.

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I’ll be back regularly in here. Till the next time…

Ulf

One thought on “Giving Space…Yourself and Others

  1. Hmm she must be pretty special Ulf.

    There’s several answers: the right one; the one I think people want to hear; the one they actually hear; the one I believe in my heart, and the one that actually happens in my life. So, here’s my often actual, always ideal, response…..

    Detach ((or just control your reactions and shut up) while waiting till your emotions evaporate (could be week or three)) and think about the story you’re going to tell her around the subject of… “just like when you bumped into the door frame last week” … and relax.

    I learned so much in hindsight, through my child’s education at a Steiner school here in Melbourne…. and unlike most hindsight lessons, these were without exception, wonderful, warm, amazing, incredible and affirming (of the children) lessons, insights and skills that once (think hindsight – after the event every single time) I realised how completely fabulous these teachers were and how good this education system was for all the children blessed with parents who decided to have their kids educated at Steiner (Waldorf) school, I stopped questioning that which I did not understand… . For about (one of) the first time ever I am pleased to tell you, hindsight was and remains (always) on my side. When I realised this truth I embraced Steiner/Waldorf even more. It is an absolutely self fulfilling nurturing prophecy that is all about what is best for the children. (the teachers quite literally live for the children). I loved what they taught my child.. and what they taught me…..

    Parenting Lessons I Learned From a Waldorf Kindergarten.
    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/06/parenting-lessons-i-learned-from-a-waldorf-kindergarten/
    I spent a year working in the Waldorf Kindergarten and the lessons I learned have stayed firmly with me ever since…

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