I said a ton of bad words in a tight time window.
Not as good as Jennifer Lawrence, but in the same area code. I’d just chucked one of my favorite discs into the abyss of ivy and pricker bushes, all because some dinkeldorf in the group ahead of me jacked up my throw.
The boy in the neon green tank top and his vaping doofus best friend were long gone to the next hole, far from earshot of the verbal assault.
Stupid !@#!% I muttered as I crunched over broken bottles and terrain that, to burrowing snakes, would look like prime real estate. You turned right around and saw my ass waiting for your slow, vaping asses to finish up, and you could have let me play through …
And THEN, your dumb ass decides to show a sliver of consideration by yelling CLEAR!, but JUST as I’m winding up to throw, and now the !@#$!@ !@#^@ing disc is lost, you stupid !#$^@! !@#$er.
If you’re wondering … this isn’t the behavior befitting a dude who wants to dedicate his early-week posts to mindfulness and purposeful living.
Much as it looked as anything but, this angry search for a lost disc – an ace disc, even – demonstrated my practice. Practice often is anything but easy. I knew this when I played football and struggled with the basics; and today, when I practice yoga, and struggle still.
Thing is, we can calm ourselves.
I know righteous anger doesn’t exist. We can pretend to justify our angst as caused by a president or a big-box retailer or Anna Gunn or a pair of disc golfers on a Sunday afternoon at Kilbourne Park. In essence, it comes from our own unruly mind.
No one makes you angry, but yourself.
I found plenty of fault in two guys playing the same sport as me. He might possess supernatural powers, but it’s unlikely he bent the continuum of the sky and catapulted my prized disc into the great wasteland of plants that make us itch.
The disc flew off of whose hand? Mine.
No matter our circumstances, or what forces push on us from above or below, just in front or just in our minds, the fact remains that our hand – and the will of the universe – determine our fate. That goes for intellectually or recreational and all in between.
The new walk
Peace, it turns out, isn’t always peaceful.
Reflecting on the moment, after I’d had an Arby’s sandwich, a shower and an attitude adjustment, I’d thrown poorly all day to that point. I hadn’t let it cramp my style, though, accepting the challenge and appreciating the new walk in an unfamiliar park.
I needed practice not just throwing a chunk of plastic in a straight line, but also replacing that self-manufactured anxiety with a dose of gratitude.
I’m not pretending to have instant Zen. It took willpower to not turn around on my way to the parking lot and give those guys a piece of my mind. I can’t really spare it. And I imagined how asinine my arguments would have sounded outside my head.
Hell, they sounded quite asinine inside my head.
A grudge makes for fishy Zen. Still, I kept my eyes fixed forward, and made it to the car without showing my ass. Still, no stillness. As I crept onto the main roads in my decrepit Pontiac, impatient drivers tailgated and swerved as we struggled to pick up speed.
Just as I considered channeling the noise of the day into double bird flips – angry, with index and ring fingers pulled back and arms extended – I imposed a restriction upon myself: No middle fingers, no horn honking.
Drying and dissipating
You better check yourself, a philosopher once penned, before you wreck yourself.
Proximity to our aggravation make it often difficult to add any meaningful perspective to the matter. As I sat with my girls eating roast beef, the anger and sweat on my shirt drying and dissipating, I thought less and less about the misaligned throw.
I began to forget about the vape smoke and infraction of disc golf etiquette that I admitted might not be that universal.
I thought of the bundle of golf discs stacked in my trunk. And that maybe someone will find that lost one – and maybe use it more than I did. Know what I didn’t do, though? I didn’t come to a full and peaceful resolution with the universe right then.
And that’s okay.
Unease is a comfortable discomfort. Coming out of meditations in which I felt as if I needed more of something, something undisclosed, I’m reminded that days don’t end wrapped up like TV episodes, with resolution and a hint of foreshadowing.
Maybe that’s why this mindful Monday post took until Tuesday to write.
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