Degrees of Darkness

CalmUp® photo I of Degrees of Darkness

I tweeted my CalmUp® “How can I…” question of the day:

How can I hang on to this feeling?

It was Friday, and I woke up feeling great—enthusiastic, peaceful, and joyful. Those feelings were short-lived.

ANNOYED. A week ago Friday, I went to the Social Security Office to address a concern about possible identity theft. Seeing a full house, I asked the guard about how long I could expect to wait. After the anticipated wait time of 30–45 minutes, I chose to leave. I had already rescheduled one appointment, and I didn’t want to miss another.

FRUSTRATED. I left the building with a phone number to call the Social Security Office and schedule my next appointment so that I wouldn’t have to wait in line again. I placed the call the following Friday. Due to their long wait time, I requested a call back. When I received the call, I responded according to their computerized prompts, and the system hung up on me. Great.

ANGRY. After three phone calls, I finally got to speak with a live person and was told that I wouldn’t be able to schedule an appointment, since my issue didn’t fit one of their primary topics. I could, however, return to the Social Security Office and wait in line. Are you kidding me?

BREATHE. So I’m fuming on the way to the Social Security Office. I’m thinking of Eckhart Tolle encouraging us to stay in the now, and I’m totally present with my anger! Wait—I remembered my “How can I…” question about hanging onto feeling great. I started laughing at myself (something I do regularly) when I realized that I didn’t have to hang onto the anger. I became grateful for the opportunity to notice the lesson. The lesson wasn’t to not get angry; the lesson was to not get lost in the darkness.

OUTCOME. Once I let go, everything fell into place. I began writing this blog at the Social Security Office. Within a few moments, a “help line” opened up. Guess who was first in line? My issue was quickly resolved, and I went enthusiastically, peacefully, and joyfully on my way.

CalmUp® photo of Degrees of Darkness II


  1. Recall your own recent anger episode OR become mindful of your next one. How can you step out of the drama and become the witness to your experience?
  2. Ask your own “How can I…” question first thing in the morning, and feel free to share your outcome with us. What happened during your day? What did you notice?
  3. When was the last time that you laughed at yourself? Imagine fuming about something then letting go of the darkness and cracking up. We’d love to hear about it.