I must confess to a little ritual I have in the winter season.
Early in the morning, I have my coffee. I carefully add boiling water to the powder. Yep. Powder. I am very fond of Cafe Vienna, an instant coffee that is out-of-this-world good. My father told me he is ‘addicted’. (Guess who introduced him to it!)
In the evenings, I always grab a blanket for my legs, and I make a cup of tea to warm up. I enjoy the smell and the taste as I sip and relax.
Both of these wonderful drinks require boiling water. I’ve had many tea kettles in my day. All colors, all designs. But after burning through more than my share, I don’t buy any replacements unless it whistles.
Unfortunately, I had a bad habit of starting up the gas flame and then wandering away to do…whatever called me at the moment. I can’t see the stove from any other room, so you know. Out of sight, out of mind. The water boils, the steam soundlessly pours out of the spout. And I’m still paying bills or reading my book.
Pretty soon I start to smell something bad. Oh boy. Once again, the pot is ruined, and I came very close to a dangerous situation.
So now – only whistling tea kettles. I need to be warned when the water is roiling and moving and steaming. It’s too bad I had to learn my lesson by ruining so many pots, but I’m glad the problem is solved.
I wish I had as perfect a solution to another burning problem. My reactive emotions.
Feelings, like anger, should wear bells around their necks, don’t you think? And anger’s not the only one who needs a collar. How about jealousy, embarrassment or anxiety? I realize these emotions are good, they serve a purpose. Just like my boiling water.
But unattended, they can spill over on others. Or if I hold on to them, they can hurt me, burning away in my stomach.
Take embarrassment as an example. If I drop my lunch on the floor in the middle of Panera, or realize my shoes don’t match, I’m going to be keenly ashamed. If I recognize that, and deal with it right then and there, I can push past it and reset. If I don’t deal with it, and push those feelings away?
It’s like ignoring my tea kettle. The heat still has to escape, and so do my feelings. If I don’t face my emotions, I’ll either overreact to a small problem later, or need to down a handful of TUMs. Neither one is a great option.
Strong emotions, like the whistle on my teapot, exist to tell me that something needs attention. Once I deal with the situation, I won’t need that emotion anymore. So instead of silently bottling my emotions up, I can face them, and forget them.
On to the more positive things in life. Like that cup of coffee…
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