Denying the Boiling Point

On occasion, I’ll be in the middle of doing something and will feel this big ball of agita start to build up inside of me.

Sometimes I’m watching TV. Other times I’m listening to music, or playing it. I might be writing, or I might be doing nothing except sitting and thinking. I could be cooking, showering, pulling up weeds in the garden, shopping or driving.

It’s something that completely wrecks the mindset I was in a few moments earlier. I’ll be going along minding my own business and meandering to and fro, when something sidetracks me; I find myself straddling the fine line between feeling merely unsettled and being undeniably bothered.

Where did this come from? What gives? It’s like a little miniature boiling point.

At first I try to solve the issue by shifting my location or task, but the pesky cloud follows me from room to room, from street to highway or from lathering to rinsing.

When I’m on the couch, reality TV is the culprit much of the time. Not surprisingly, there’s a reason that the most drama I prefer to handle involves only knowing who’s about to be chopped, or whether the house a couple is hunting for will actually be theirs: there’s not a lot of drama to begin with.

Other times I’ve been thinking about a work project that needs to get done, or a personal project that still has loose ends lingering. Their lack of completion and thinking about the boxes I need to check in order to finish the task will spark an anxious feeling, something distinctly towards the unsettled end of the spectrum. Annoyingly, it seems I often fly past the root of my tension at around 160 mph and focus on the tension itself. That is, until I consciously stop and think, “Wait, what’s the problem again?”

Like sunlight breaking through an overcast sky, the answer is usually clear. “Your short story isn’t finished,” Brain tells me. Heart replies, “Oh. That’s it? So sit down and finish it.”

Brain says, “These people on TV are annoying.” Heart replies, “Change the channel and find something that makes your soul sing.”

Brain says, “Work is going to get the best of you this week.” Heart replies, “Please. It will only get the best of you if you let it.”

Brain says, “Your story isn’t very good.” Heart replies, “Keep writing and stop overanalyzing.”

Brain will let you reach your boiling point, whereas Heart can often times temper the emotion with rationality – for me, anyway. Fittingly, the latter is just a heartbeat away.

Today I am thankful for the spirited battle between brain versus heart, and for being able to deny the boiling point just as quickly as I choose to realize its cause.

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