A Sixty-Word SZEN Story:
“Cut!” shouted the director. “Listen Charles, you have to relax and not think about the whole scene, just this moment and your line. You know your line, right?” Charles nodded. “Then say it for us!” Charles looked around the room. People, equipment and so much tension in the air were making him nervous, then “Don’t touch that door!” he screamed.
Life can dish up some tension now and then. It can be a business situation, a family disagreement, a phone call with the IRS or simply being cut off on the freeway. Tension is our way of metabolizing the moment. We need tension to feel the event in order to be able to react. Tension, or call it emotional currency, is a bridge from routine to something else. It enables us to call upon our senses and wits to act. And whatever the act may be that we’re called on to do, it is propelled by the tension, pressure and sometimes the fear we feel in that split second when we know we must do something.
Tension works because it’s a way to get us poised for action. Being on the edge is typically something most of us would prefer to avoid, but the emotions inherent in tension can get us revved and ready for whatever happens next. Without it, the greatness of so many decisions in our lives would be forgotten. The tension of the situation is what makes for great stories – time running out and he shoots and scores, she bends over to grab his hand and accepts his proposal, the phone rings and we got the job. You name it and I bet the best stories of our lives included some angst, fear and doubt, the siblings of tension and what makes living on the edge worth it.
I think without some emotion, be it fear or doubt or love or whatever in our routine we avoid the edge and thus miss out on some of the fun of life. If we push ourselves and open the door to possibilities, even a little every day, we live more. We make better stories – Stories worth telling.
Szenippet: A shift from a “how are you doing?” to a “how are you feeling?” orientation reveals a deeper dimension of connectedness: Feelings uncovered always change the conversation.
If you want to hear a sample from my book, Szen Zone, come check out the podcast Optimal Living Daily! Justin, a former student of UCI where I teach, is doing something pretty neat. He reads blog posts and excerpts from his favorite books on the show and featured mine in Episode 337. You can listen to it here: http://OLDPodcast.com/337 or find it in your favorite podcast app.