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Mindful : April 2018
you and others to stop playing the blame game, while still acknowledging the feelings, the hurt, and the anger. Winding Down And as discussed with planned arg uments, spending time with yourself after the fact will be immensely helpful in processing what has happened. The really difficult arguments usually reflect complicated situations and feel- ings that don’t change or go away overnight. If your marriage is breaking up or you get fired from your dream job, mindfulness won’t make you feel great tomorrow. However, being more present in a difficult time will help you to pro- cess the feelings and learn from the situation. Ultimately, working through difficult situations is an opportunity to be more aware and to con- nect with yourself and others. This may not be what you want to hear at the time, but looking back on these experiences, you may eventually see them, or most of them, as things that have actually helped you in some way. So far we’ve been talking about arguments here as though they’re all happening face to face. In today’s world, a lot of arguing occurs via email or other “remote” platforms. The self-righteous tweet or the impassioned social media post are part of our daily communi- cations—they get posted, read, shared, and retweeted by many of us. Can mindfulness help here? Indeed! It starts with just one word, one recommendation: Pause. Please pause before you hit send or post. The wisdom of common sense has advised us on this for a long time: Think before you speak. Take a deep breath and count to ten. That’s the essence of a mind- ful approach, and one we very much need in this polarized world of ours. What we’ve addressed here are the difficult arguments, the ones that we wish we could avoid. Since everyone has to have some of these conversations in life, let’s do it with mindful- ness, with presence, insight, and awareness. Arguing is something we all do, and much of it is harmless or even a source of creativity and connectivity. Adam Grant, in a recent New York Times piece, suggests that “if kids never get exposed to disagreement, we’ll end up limiting their creativity.” So here’s to the good argu- ments, the healthy disagreements. ● 78 mindful April 2018 get real spiritrock.org Spirit Rock an insight meditation center wisdom & insight for over 30 years