Hey friends, I’d like to welcome Maryrose Wood to Good Books & Good Wine today. She is the author of one of my favorite Middle Grade series EVER, The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, and, well as you can see from her guest post below, is a very wise woman.
“Sometimes there’s nothing more to be done but have a cup of tea and sit and wait for the post.” — The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 3: The Unseen Guest
To sit and wait for the post: this is hard-earned wisdom, indeed! As a therapist once gently suggested to me, “It’s okay not to know.” Really? Yes, it is. Much as we like to feel in control, sometimes we just aren’t clear about what we think, or how we feel, or how we ought to proceed. And sometimes we don’t have enough information to make an important decision. Living with uncertainty is difficult, but forcing an outcome just for certainty’s sake is unlikely to get us what we want, either.
What can we do instead? Wait! Have a cup of tea. It’s okay not to know, not to decide, not to act prematurely. Likewise, it’s okay not to offer an opinion, or try to fix, or give ultimatums, or jump through hoops just because some hoop-collector has generously placed a big flaming one in front of you.
Neuroscientists talk about how acute stress makes us stupid by reducing our range of responses to two: fight, or flight. Some people are more prone to attack and blame when they feel under siege (fight); others tend to run away, slip into avoidance or denial, or even lie down and play dead (flight). There’s no opportunity for calm reflection, communication, or negotiation when we’re busy lashing out or hiding under the covers, yet these more nuanced responses are often the very strategies we need to create lasting, constructive solutions to our problems.
Of course, Agatha Swanburne didn’t need a neuroscientist to tell her that a cup of tea to calm the mind was a good thing. We’re all bound to make better decisions when feeling relaxed and unthreatened. So next time you have a conflict to face, a problem to solve, a hard decision to make: breathe. Trust events to unfold at their own pace. Call a friend. Take a walk. And don’t forget to put the kettle on!
What do you do to calm yourself before facing a stressful situation? Does it help? Why or why not?
Tomorrow, March 29, stop by the International Reading Association’s “Teacher to Teacher” blog for a guest post on a topic very near to Miss Penelope Lumley’s heart: teaching! Click here to read
More Swanburnisms will be discussed on March 30th, when the Incorrigible blog tour stops at YA Librarian Tales.
About The Incorrigible Children Of Ashton Place Series:
Of especially naughty children it is sometimes said, “They must have been raised by wolves.”
The Incorrigible children actually were.
Since returning from London, the three Incorrigible children and their plucky governess, Miss Penelope Lumley, have been exceedingly busy. When Lord Fredrick’s long-absent mother arrives with the noted explorer Admiral Faucet, gruesome secrets tumble out of the Ashton family tree. And when the admiral’s prized racing ostrich gets loose in the forest, it will take all the Incorrigibles’ skills to find her. But once back in the wild, will the children forget about books and poetry and go back to their howling, wolfish ways?