When kids are learning to cross the street, we teach them to stop, look and listen first. “If your ball goes into the street,” we say, “don’t just run into the street after it. First, stop, look and listen.” They practice, and after a while it becomes a habit.
Yesterday, I practiced, too. Instead of just running to my usual kneejerk reactions, I practiced stop-look-and-listen before I started worrying or labeling or giving an opinion or whatever. It gave me just enough time to relax my grip and breathe a deep breath and ask for help.
Stop-look-and-listen was a relief and a surprise. Even the half hour on hold with customer service didn’t tie me in knots.
I’m going to practice again today. I hope it becomes a habit.
“Gentle me / Holy One / into an unclenched moment / a deep breath / a letting go. . . .” Ted Loder
“[A]sk God, who gives generously. . . .” James 1:5