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Upshifting

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My friend Jenna provided me of a first-hand glimpse of something so rare that I had to share with you. She was having a particularly stressful day. Deadlines were due, rent was already late. Amidst treacherous, gnarly traffic [not in the surfing,  cool sense], someone cut her off. When she hit the horn, an attempt to blare the person away,  it made no sound. The more she tried to honk, the more deafening its silence.
Why won’t you work? I just had you in the shop yesterday! This is your only job, is it too much to expect you to do it?

The stress from the lack of sound cut so deep inside Jenna, it bared insecurities she may have been unaware of. The lighthearted conversation she had been having with her friend, Sabrina, the unlucky passenger at this point, had taken a malicious turn.

An acquaintance of theirs had come up in idle chatter. Jenna took this opportunity to disparage her to no end.

The friend was causing stress in another area if Jenna’s life, so it only seemed appropriate to mesh this stress with that stress, and blame one person.

For 5 minutes straight, most of what came out of her mouth are words I can’t print here. She reacted with her brainstem, or reptilian brain.

Then all of a sudden, her higher brain functions kicked in amidst the stress. She began to consider. She realized that her venting on her co-worker was neither productive, nor rational, so she stopped.

So few people have such an experience where they can step outside themselves and watch the upshifting experience.

With Jenna’s situation still fresh in my mind, I was able to do some upshifting of my own a few weeks ago. I was in a bit cranky and feeling very little of the Christmas spirit, but I was able to catch myself before I got in too wretched a mood. It definitely required conscious thought, but I was able to do it fairly successfully for my first time. I’m not going to promise anything for the next time, but hopefully my recent success will inspire yet another one.

c. 2011

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