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Posted By Opening the Heart

HazMat Sign

You've almost certainly seen these signs on the back of trucks heading down the highway. They are there to warn the public and emergency personnel about the presence of hazardous materials should some kind of accident or misfortune cause the thin skin of the container to be punctured.

Following one of those trucks the other day I witnessed a classic occurrence of what we have come to call "road rage." A driver entering the highway from a ramp failed to yield to traffic in the right hand lane resulting in some dangerous lane switching, blaring horns and raised middle fingers. I was a little way behind the melee but close enough to experience the immediate rush of adrenaline, elevated heart rate and instant body-temperature increase.

As I drove on down the road, settling my breathing back to normal, it occurred to me that perhaps we should all wear tee-shirts with one of these signs on our backs. We all have huge reserves of emotional energy. Emotion (E - motion) is energy-in-motion. When emotional energy has been blocked - for whatever reason - we have a lot in common with those hazardous materials trucks. The slightest thing can 'set us off.'

Of course, its perfectly normal to experience a fully fledged "fight or flight" response when faced with real danger. On a cosmic scale we are only evolutionary  microseconds away from the Jurassic era when "kill or be killed" was a necessary approach to survival, so the flood of adrenalin that primes our bodies and minds to face a threat is inevitable.


No, the kind of situation I am referring to here is the one where our reaction to a perceived threat is both unexpected and out of all proportion to the stimulus. A colleague or partner says something that we disagree with and suddenly we find ourselves yelling angrily, lashing out verbally or storming out and slamming the door. Even if we don't manifest these behaviors on the surface we can alternatively find ourselves internally steamed up and perhaps fantasizing the same behaviors. Afterwards we might have thoughts such as "I could have knocked his head off!" or "I should've kicked her butt."

The causes of these out of proportion reactions are many and varied, and, over the years at Opening the Heart we have helped many workshop participants get to the bottom of their own particular "hair trigger."  So, if you feel that perhaps you could  be wearing a tee shirt with a HazMat sign on it, maybe its time to seriously consider attending one of our upcoming workshop presentations:

At Kripalu, Stockbridge MA June 15 - 17 2012

or at Omega Institute, Rhinebeck NY July 13 - 15 2012

We can help you to avoid future hazardous material explosions.

small peter

1 Comment(s):
Peter Watson said...
Proving that there are at least two views of every emotional situation, I just came across this article posted on a British wen-site:
March 11, 2012 04:39:54
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