Recently, my inner tantrum child along with my inner raging warrior and all their other wild inner ‘cousins’ threatened to snap their restraining ties and leap out to wreak avenging havoc. I was on the receiving end of an oh so not civil servant’s ludicrous whims whereby she insisted on further documentation which in fact, was not necessary, not officially required, and totally superfluous to the already supplied documents. The fire under my inner wild ones was further fuelled by the hour long wait leading up to this whimsical civil demand.

The turmoil within me was like a melting pot of disbelief, rage and despair. The rage wanted to scream and shout and the despair felt like weeping. It was a dead end in the complete absence of any sense of reason.

What the situation did present for me, was a test in the “accept what is” philosophy. No matter what I said, those on the other side of the counter (and thick glass) were not going to budge an inch from their nonsensical demands. I had no alternative but to leave and accept that I would have to return the next day with the extra document. Besides, the inner wild ones may have succeeded in breaking free and seriously challenging the strength of the glass.

I must confess, I did not sail through the test with flying colours – initially the thoughts and drama ran amok in my mind, punctuated with ripe expletives. It takes much practice not to slip into the old patterns of frustration and do the popular rant and vent thing. But then, after a while, aha … I moved to the observer role. The observer saw how I had spent two hours, including travelling time, in the pursuit of registration and licence papers, and experienced an interchange devoid of reason or fact. A return trip was required, and that’s it. And really, so what? From the distance that the observer role allows, the whole incident appeared so trivial and certainly didn’t merit the thought-induced stress and suffering.

I’m not advocating passive acceptance of bad service. Follow-up communication through the appropriate channels can possibly prevent the repetition of misinformed instructions and is a proactive step to take rather than a reactive one.

So for the solution: remove the thoughts, slip back into neutral as the observer of the experience and get on with it. (After all, equilibrium is what we strive to maintain in life.) Give the inner ‘wild ones’ a pacifying hug and share appreciation with them for the fact that I have a car to drive there and back in, and that my old mate, monster headache, didn’t arise from the tension I had created.

The observer is the real self, whilst inhabiting this body. Or put another way, it’s the conductor, and all the players (including the child, warrior, etc.) who try to dominate the persona, are members of the orchestra. It’s up to the conductor to produce harmony.

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