Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Food for thought today,

It is believed that in the midst of a fight, a bull can find his own area of safety in the arena. There he can reclaim his strength and power. This place and inner state are called his querencia. As long as the bull remains enraged and reactive, the matador is in charge. Yet when he finds querencia, he gathers his strength and loses his fear. From the matador’s perspective, at this point, the bull is truly dangerous, for he has tapped into his power.” ~Tara Brach, Ph.D.

It was kismet today that I should read that after hearing our President remind us not to panic during the holidays, to go about our days as normal but with a heightened since of vigilance.  That's how in Mr. Obama's mind we will defeat ISIS.  I have a problem with the sound-byte, self-help crap Mr. Obama put out today for while he is correct that we should continue to go about our day he cavalierly dismisses people's fears and offers no real suggestions for Americans.

Let's look at the recent Ronda Rousey fight for example.  For those that don't follow the UFC fighter, she was the undefeated bantam weight champion until last week.  Rousey was so dominant a fighter that no one, including herself, thought she could be beaten.  Lo and behold, an unknown fighter came along and not only defeated Rousey but literally put her in the hospital.

Rousey let Holly Holm, the fighter that won and is now the champion, take control of the fight.  She chased Holm around the ring for nearly 2 rounds, exhausting her energy while being unable to attack Holm.  Rousey let her rage and desperation take her away from her normal fighting strategy and straight into a devastating kick from Holm that broke Rousey's jaw and knocked her out.

Americans have become enraged and reactive of late, either because of the recent confrontations between police and black Americans or the attacks by ISIS.  Mr. Obama's comments completely ignore this reality and offer no chance for Americans to find their "querencia".

It is too easy to become convinced by news reports and social media that things are hopeless.  Worse no one is offering people something to do to counter these feelings other than Mr. Obama's patronizing remarks to go out and shop and enjoy some football games.  He is right that we can't let these events alter our lives but to pretend nothing is going on is ridiculous.

We have to accept that we cannot control anyone but ourselves.  Each of us has to find our "quenceria", a place of calmness where we can gather strength to fight what lies ahead of us.  This isn't some new age attempt to find "nirvana" but rather a practical application of what we all learned a long time ago in grade school.

Remember fire drills?  Teachers admonished us to remain calm and proceed quietly and in an orderly fashion to the outside.  The best way to survive an emergency is not to ignore it as Mr. Obama's comments suggest but remain calm and proceed in and orderly fashion.  Remain alert, remain vigilant but don't become so afraid or enraged that you react instead of acting with a purpose.  

I read an account of the Paris attacks where one young man watched as the attackers opened fire.  The young man became so terrified he decided to hide rather that try to fight.  To me, the terrorist won without even firing a shot at the young man.  The way to win against the terrorist is to arm yourself not with a knife or gun but with a resolve that "they" won't win.  Learn now how to quiet your fear and rage so that if you have to act, you act calmly but decisively so that "they" don't win.

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