Own Your Reactions, Own Your World

Some people get upset when I say we must find peace, we must let go of our attachment to things we think are SO VERY important.

“What, just let someone hurt me? That’s your advice?”

“Should I just stop paying my bills, then?”

“I guess I’ll just let go of my family then, because I think they’re important? Riiight…”

“Okay, I’ll just be cool with oppression. Thanks, bud..”

Of course, I don’t mean any of those things. When we hear we have to do anything that means letting go of fear, ego, greed, whatever, we get defensive. We think we’re hearing some hippy-dippy prescription for irresponsibility.

We’re so used to thinking the fight, the struggle, holding on…are admirable qualities and pursuits.

When in fact, approaching life from this perspective leads to extreme stress, premature aging, disease and emptiness. That’s just science. Overtaxing your nervous system and the associated glands, organs, hormones, receptors, what have you, is a good way to send your body into a walking state of shock.

This manifests in many ways:

-sleeplessness or oversleep
-loss of appetite or endless appetite
-anger and paranoia
-victimhood and self-pity

And on it goes, all balance just thrown out the window.

Now, the saying goes, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s all small stuff.”

And everyone says they know this. But then live by another maxim:

“Only sweat the Big Stuff, and it’s ALL Big Stuff!”


Being okay with something, finding peace, is essential for your emotional and spiritual well-being. By extension, then, it’s good for your physical well-being as well.

One thing we sometimes fail to learn is that acceptance is something that we develop through intellect. The more we learn and apply, the easier something becomes for us. We literally change our neural pathways and thinking habits.

The benefit of this is that when you successfully learn to release your intense grip on these things, then the serious issues don’t go away, but your approach to them and your perspective about them change.

For example, I know there is still a deep racial divide in many parts of this country. I can get full of righteous anger, dream up fantasies of justice and revenge, and consider it my mission to call out pretenders, haters, anyone who doesn’t fight the way I want them to.

Or…I can see the problem with fresh eyes, calm eyes, patient eyes. When I do that, I see that there is a generational process ahead. There is a ton of small works to be done, each effort adding to the whole. I see that there is literally no quick fix and instead this issue is akin to planting forests. I may never see the fruition of my efforts, but I can begin the work.

You need the trees, but more importantly, you need the root system.

I could never have arrived at that if I didn’t, at some point in my life, begin to take full responsibility for all my emotions.

I’ll let you in on my personal process a little.

I used to have a short fuse. If I felt deeply, emotionally offended or disrespected, like most people I would get angry. Then if the other person got angry back then boom! off we go. In arguments it was the shouting, the grand statements, all that human ugliness. In fights it was the bluster, rage and swinging fists. Real bad-ass, right? lol

What I purposefully learned to do was pause.

I started with little things. If I was at a restaurant and my water was delivered, instead of immediately reaching for it, I waited. I silently counted to ten, even if I was really thirsty. Then I allowed myself to drink.

In conversations if I was anxious to say something next I would pull it all back and tell myself I wasn’t allowed to say anything at all except to ask more questions to encourage the other person to talk, or I was to remain silent completely, just listening.

If I wanted to indulge in unhealthy eating I would immediately begin doing pushups until the desire went away.


The result of all this was that I began to self-edit. And after that something awesome happened. Each of these intentional edits were like a tiny meditation. Those meditations were very similar to the space I go to when creating – identical, in fact. The awesome thing is that after time, these pauses come into being without effort, they aren’t just meditations, but the result of meditations. I began to recognize my unconscious impatience and expectations. I began to view my increasingly rare outbursts with humour within moments of them occurring and choose to immediately switch gears, apologize and right the situation if I was able.

And most importantly, I learned to recognize the situations where speaking up, standing tall, refusing to be pushed, was actually the right thing to do instead of the ego thing to do.

I tell you this not because you should care about anything I do or have done.

I only tell you so you can see one possible template. Maybe it will help you? Maybe it will speed your own process and save you from pain and suffering.

Then again, maybe not.

Letting go of the “importance of things” let me see and understand what was really important.

It helped me in my path to find my purpose and it taught me how to live more calmly, more happily and humorously, and how to recognize WHY I stumbled when I stumbled and patiently begin the process of dealing with that feeling of lack.

Now when I am attacked (which happens a lot in private messages) I see the pain the other person is in. Once in a while I might get offended (hey, I’m not perfect). When that happens I use it as a prompt to remind myself that I’m just a speck of dust after all. All a blowhard can do is help me dance.

Life IS important, of course it is, but often in ways we haven’t quite figured out yet. Instead we place importance on things that will never do anything but hurt us or stall our journey. And that comes out as fury, heartache, jealousy, judging, and all those emotions that make life hell for us.

I have far far to go, and I’m grateful for all the wisdom of the people around me, for your wisdom.

I am grateful for the chance to keep on learning.

hiy hiy


If you liked this, please consider sharing it and picking up a copy of Aaron’s new Bestselling YA novel, “Lightfinder”

Aaron Paquette is a First Nations Metis artist, author and speaker. Based in Edmonton, Aberta, his first YA Novel Lightfinder comes out June 2014 through Kegedonce Press.

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