Friday, August 13, 2010

The Elul Challenge - Day 3 Anger Management


Steven Slater (the Jet Blue Flight attendant) got me thinking about how we express frustration these days. To start off with, I believe Mr. Slater clearly lost it, and made some extremely poor choices. For those in positions of authority, be it real or perceived, as Moses can attest to, to lose one’s temper in such a fashion is probably not such a good thing. Just ask the feds.
But it did get me thinking about all those little frustrations and annoyances that build up in our lives be they at work, at home, or at play. Whether it is a cashier who takes a little too long, or the person who puts sixteen items in the fifteen items or less lane. Be it the driver ahead of you who isn’t paying attention and causes you to miss your left turn, meaning you have to sit and wait another cycle, or something your spouse or partner does that just drives you crazy. All these little moments can build up slowly and insidiously if we are not careful.
I think part of the design of Elul is to remind us that these lingering pieces of anger we hold on to in many ways only bring us down. There is no ripple effect and instead can come out in one great big explosion like in the case of Mr. Slater. Even in today’s web crazy world, I am sure there are better ways to release anger and frustration, though a beer does sound good at times.
I know one area I am working on is letting go. So what if I miss the light or have to wait for one more item to be wrung up at the grocery store. There have been times I probably missed the light or took too many items for check out. Is it worth letting these insignificant moments bring down one’s whole day?
So as we prepare for the High Holy Days, I encourage you to work on finding ways to let go of or at least find a way to release these pent up frustrations, hurts, annoyances, and feelings of anger. For, as far as I know, on Yom Kippur, there is no inflatable slide to help us escape.

Here is a commentary on Steven Slater by a fellow flight attendant
Flight Attendant on CNN

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