Yesterday I was sitting at a stop sign after picking up my
daughters from school.
When it was my turn, I proceeded through the intersection.
The truck to the left of me believed it was his turn as well,
and he almost hit the side of my car.
Almost, is the key word…we both stopped abruptly and avoided any
type of accident.
But, whoa, was he mad. He pounded his fists on the steering
wheel, he gave me the finger, he yelled as if I could actually hear
what he was saying.
I gave him a quick wave and I drove away. But I felt his
emotion, and I definitely felt my own frustration and fear.
And so the stories in my head began to swirl….It was my
turn! I have 3 little girls in this car! What if he hit me! How
dare he yell at me! It's his fault not mine!
But about five blocks later, I already knew I was ready to let
it go. My heartbeat was erratic, I was pissed off, and I realized
it was all completely unnecessary because it was already over.
It reminded me of the duck story from Eckhart Tolle's book,
A New Earth.
He explains that when ducks swim into each other or get into a
tiff, they "argue" with each other, quack loudly, then swim away
and "flap" it out.
They flap their wings widely and release the negative energy
they picked up from the situation.
They don't swim around and tell other ducks their sob story and
they don't take out their frustration on their duck family; they
just flap it out and peacefully carry on.
Yes, I was having an emotional response to this truck situation
- it scared me, it threw me into fear, it made me upset.
But now it's over. Do I carry this into my day, talk about it
incessantly, and make up stories about what could have been, or do
I let it go?
So I started breathing, I started releasing, I started moving my
head and shoulders and I actually started saying, "Shake it off,
shake it off."
By the time I got home, I could feel my head tingling and I
could tell the emotion had released. I was back.
I didn't even tell my husband because I didn't need to. It was
But because life is life, I had yet another opportunity to deal
with strong emotion this morning as I dropped my girls off at
As soon as we arrived, Camryn realized she forgot her
Not only that, she didn't want to go into school because she
couldn't fathom going in without her backpack. She was beside
herself and she started to cry.
AH, so frustrating for so many reasons….breathe, just
So I sent Jacey into school and Camryn and I got back in the
car. I said, "You know your backpack is your responsibility,
She said, "I know."
We were silent for the rest of the ride. I don't like
backtracking - I was frustrated and annoyed.
When we returned to school, backpack in tow, Cam was quiet. She
obviously felt bad. I didn't feel very good either.
So we got out of the car and I said, "It's time to shake it
We started jumping around in front of the school, doing a few
yoga moves and a few dance moves…if anyone was watching us, I can't
imagine what they were thinking.
We finished by taking a deep inhale and exhale, and then we held
hands and walked up to the school. I gave her a kiss, she gave me a
smile, and I told her I would see her at 3:00.
As I drove away, I felt powerful.
I can't control what other people say or do. I can't even
control the rise of my emotions - they are a normal part of being
human, and they show up for a reason.
But once the feeling is experienced, I can let it go. It's an
emotion from an experience that is already over; it has nothing to
do with this moment.
Negative emotion is just that, it's an emotion. It's meant to be
felt, worked through and then let go.
Holding onto it only creates heaviness and drama, two things I
can definitely do without.
I'd rather reach for my inner duck - feel it, shake it off, swim
Click here to hear more about letting go of negative emotion on
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
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