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Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Beginning & Facing Conflict

Yesterday afternoon, in my part of the world, it felt like something changed. We had the first snow storm of the season. It was heavy wet snow without much wind and it seemed to just cover everything with this beautiful blanket of white. It was a picture perfect day to just watch the snow, and feel very protected by a heavy layer of white.  Kind of like a cocoon. 

But yesterday didn't really start out that way. First of all we had a couple of days of weather warnings and predictions. People argued about whether or not the weather forecasters, news reporters, and emergency managers, knew what they were talking about. Some people argued that we would only get rain, an it wasn't any big deal. Some people scrambled to get snow tires put on their cars and there were arguments in tire shops about the back-log, and the ability to schedule everyone in. People tried to do a million things "before the weather started".  People argued about whether or not to cancel meetings and appointments based on a prediction alone. Everyone just seemed a little on edge. More than a couple people seemed rather "poised for a fight", over what exactly, it wasn't really clear. Conflict was in the air.

The early morning hours were tense. Certainly if you were trying to drive anywhere you were feeling the loss of traction, particularly if you hadn't made it through the tire line. More than a few people were fearful and anxious on their way to work or activities, fighting slick conditions, traffic delays, no doubt hollering at other drivers that weren't driving right for the conditions, and  already worrying about the trip home. There were tons of delays, car crashes, and fender benders. The decision to close schools didn't come without some strife, angst, scrambling and conflict. Buses were delayed, some kids were at school and sent home, others were caught sort of in-between. Nothing seemed very clear or settled.

But somewhere in there, everything did get settled out.  People either got to work or turned around and went home. It became  pretty clear the predictions were accurate. Schools were closed, kids got home, decisions were made.

New beginnings don't always come without some conflict. Perhaps that explains the early morning hours of yesterday.  Conflict can be a bit messy, sloppy and slippery. Sometimes people and things get hurt or broken a bit. Depending on how we handle conflict, our repair bills may be costly. But that doesn't mean that conflict should always be avoided. Sometimes it's just part of the transition into a new place.

If you find the conflict phase difficult, congratulations- you might be human!  If you are avoiding conflict at all costs, you may start to find that "all costs" have really piled up on you to the point that you are blocking new beginnings. And that doesn't really feel very good either.

There are four Bach Flower essences that address avoidance of conflict. They include Agrimony, Clematis, Centaury and Water Violet.

Agrimony types avoid conflict by becoming the joker. Not only do they not want to put themselves in a conflict situation, they don't want anyone to be there. They are the ones in the line-up at the tire shop that try to deflect arguments by changing the subject to something pleasant, like the great hockey game that Sidney Crosby played his first game back. Deep down they are as frustrated and conflicted as everyone else but they pretend it doesn't bother them and go to elaborate efforts to try and convince themselves that they really feel that way.  They are the first ones to suggest you go have a drink in the bar to wait it out. Agrimony conflict avoidance is a learned skilled. We are often taught this as a method of socialization. But it prevents self expression if used in excess. Sometimes you really do need to figure out exactly how you feel and admit that not everything in life is pleasant. Sometimes you need to tell other people that you feel that way if you want anything to change in the world, or you ever want to get to the front of the tire line!

Clematis types avoid conflict by retreating to a world of their own. If you saw a kid out there waiting for the bus yesterday perfectly happy to just stand there and be covered in snow and not do anything about the fact that the bus wasn't coming- you probably saw a Clematis kid!  It's a common reaction in some kids. The Clematis child doesn't use the waiting time to build a snowman. They don't walk back home to get a drive. They don't text anyone to see why the bus might not be coming. They just go to their "happy place" and dream about hot chocolate in front of the T.V. If you never break out of the daydream, your dreams can't change into reality. Clematis can help you take some action, like walking home, so that the hot chocolate and T.V. dream can become reality.

Centaury types avoid conflict by giving in. Centaury types are anxious to do the right thing. They already had their snow tires on, so when three co-workers called them in the early morning hours and wanted a drive to work they agreed ,even though they really wanted to cancel the out of town meeting the night before. They "white-knuckled it" all the way to work and even agreed to stop at the Tim Horton's drive thru for coffee when they really wanted to just stay moving straight ahead. They bought the coffee for everyone but didn't dare drink their own until they made it to their desk by which time it was cold. It seemed easier to agree with everything those co-workers said and asked for than to risk a confrontation. After all, it was probably ridiculous to be such a "nervous ninny".  Centaury can help people find a way to say no. It can help them get in touch with their own true feelings. You might find the courage to suggest a teleconference from home.

Water Violet types avoid conflict by withdrawing. Water Violet types love a snow day because it will mean the office is quiet and they can work undisturbed. Despite the fact that they own a Hummer, no one would dare ask them for a drive to work because they are too aloof and perhaps condescending. When they get rear-ended and pushed into a four car pile-up, and all tow trucks are backed up for four hours, they have no one to call for help. You might have seen them walking to work yesterday. If you had of given them Water Violet, they might have accepted your ride to work and taken you out for lunch in return.

Today, according to We'Moon, we enter a New Moon phase. So that's about beginnings. And it feels like a beginning out there. It's just different somehow.  The sun is out and the snow is already melting, but even if it all melts away, it doesn't feel to me like we will be back to where we were a couple of days ago, before the first snow. It feels more like winter now and thoughts of Christmas are starting to make a bit of sense. It feels like we've moved on to something else. Yesterday's struggles and conflicts seem to have made way for a calm and restful night and a new energy this morning. Time to make a snowman and bring out the basket of mittens!!

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