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Chain Reactions & Building Acceptance (Day 85)

Today we start moving closer into our reactivity ๐Ÿฆ, armed with our awareness ๐Ÿ‘‘ anchored in our body/breath ๐Ÿข, and with our growing powers of calm-focus ๐Ÿต.

The skill we're building โ€“ the antidote to reactivity โ€“ is acceptance. We'll start by simply observing our chain of reactions.

What we're looking for are secondary reactions โ€“ reacting to reacting (for example, being disappointed in yourself that you lost your cool, or feeling hurt by something and then getting mad at someone because of it), and snowballing reactions (something made you mad and now many things are making you mad, probably including some unrelated and long-standing issues!).

We have to deal with these secondary (tertiary, quaternary...etc!) reactions first, unwrapping our multilayered reactions one layer at a time, starting from outside-in.

Here's an interesting example of acceptance โ€“ learning not to react:

I followed the students to SeaWorld San Diego, where a dolphin trainer introduced me to least reinforcing syndrome (L.R.S.). When a dolphin does something wrong, the trainer doesn't respond in any way. She stands still for a few beats, careful not to look at the dolphin, and then returns to work. The idea is that any response, positive or negative, fuels a behavior. If a behavior provokes no response, it typically dies away.

From What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love and Happy Marriage

By Amy Sutherland


Your job is to try and observe secondary reactions happening. Can you see where your current reaction sits within your chain of reactions?

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