The thoughts and energies of those around us can sometimes be overwhelming when you are not present. Being sucked up into a vortex, you are scooped up in the pervading thoughts and feelings expressed by others. When you manage to escape this alternate universe you wonder what the heck just happened.
This happened to me last Sunday whilst preparing my Peacock Dreaming stall for a local market.
As I stood in front of my designated stall site with around thirty minutes to set up I was bombarded with the judgements and frustrations of surrounding stallholders. The comments were mostly directed at the market organiser with cries of “she can’t place your stall there as it interferes with people seeing me”. However, in the moment, I scooped their stress into my basket along with my own. I was now bouncing between feeling self-righteous and defensive. I was caught amidst emotions which had nothing to do with me and yet my own mental stuff was inevitably triggered.
My Ego Was Present, But Where Was I?
I had started my morning in an organised and calm manner. I arrived at the gate ten minutes early. In the midst of judgement and chaos I clung self-righteously on to the notion,“I’ve put in the work. Goddamn it, a stress-free market is what I deserve.” Irrational thoughts circulated in my brain. My little old ego bought into them and demanded the desire to be met. I dug my toes in and prepared to battle.
Me Versus Them
There we stood, me with my goods and chattels at my feet and three or four stallholders all telling me that I could not set up my stall. It was ‘survival of the fittest’. Everyone was keen to place blame and shame, fully ensconced in our base chakras trying to protect our patch.
I wanted to get the heck out of that marketplace. However, I was not able to get my car back in to repack my equipment. I was trapped. People were now meandering the marketplace searching for bargains. Confronted with the afore-mentioned judgement and stress, I was quickly heading down my personal rabbit hole of negativity.
The focus was on the impossibilities rather than the possibilities, and the opportunities (like having my glorious stall as a neighbour for instance). We were all trying to be right. Furthermore, we were all feeding off one another’s frustration and victim mindset. In the moment it was like we were all locked in for the battle but not able to recognise potential solutions to our problems or the opportunities present.
What would have happened if we had each individually taken responsibility for our emotional responses? If we had all remained centred and calm, would the energy have transformed? Would it have helped us to get out of our own heads and respond with empathy toward the frantic organiser trying to remedy the mayhem?
Personal Responsibility 101
Groups are a powerful entity. When we come together in a unified force we can move mountains. However, chaos and stasis emerges during times when solutions are required.
To be swept up in a group dynamic and the ethos of those strong group leaders is human. To voice differing opinions can result in you being ostracised.
Last Sunday demonstrated to me that I have a long way to go in terms of my personal development.
When functioning on auto-pilot we can sometimes be fooled into believing we have no choice in a situation. We always have a choice to make. We are solely responsibility for the manner in which we choose to respond to a situation.
I had fallen into the trap of believing the chaos experienced was the “fault” of the group. And yet, my personal experience of chaos was a result of me not being present. I had not been consciously aware of what I was contributing to the dynamics.
As I reflect on the events of last Sunday I wonder how one individual with presence of mind would have transformed the atmosphere amongst those stallholders. One thing I know for sure is that I would have achieved the personal intent I had set for myself that morning – to have a stress-free market experience.
Feature photo courtesy of Pixabay