Day 173: Detox

Nope, sorry. No lemon juice purges or blueberry smoothies for this detox (though a blueberry smoothie does sound pretty good right about now….)

The truth is, I’ve had a bad case of l’esprit de l’escalier for most of the day.

I didn’t mention it yesterday, but last  night my wife and I went to a dinner with a group of our friends, some of whom we haven’t really seen much in several years. It was pretty much a farewell dinner, even though we don’t leave town for another few weeks.

At one point during dinner, however, one of the guests with a tendency toward–well, let’s just call it strong opinions–slipped into one of her conversational grooves with me and ended up berating me for not agreeing with her outlook. Her crescendo bordered on a verbal attack that pretty much made the whole table uncomfortable.

My response: I told her that I was sitting around that table to celebrate friendship, not engage in debate, and that I would rather not talk about that particular topic any more.

After dinner, my wife and several other people who were at the table responded that I had handled the situation quite well. Personally, though, I couldn’t help but feel like I should have responded in some other way–and said something wittier, more pithy, and ultimately more withering.

So I woke up this morning feeling like I had been exposed to toxins that were still in my system. I was sullen, grumpy, impatient, etc. And I knew exactly why I felt the way I did–unfortunately, though, just knowing the cause didn’t seem to be enough to snap me out of it. I kept running the conversation over and over again in my head.

And unfortunately, I don’t think anyone has whipped up a magical fruit juice blend that will flush emotional toxins.

I’m sure there are some steps I could have taken to help me clear my system–a walk in the woods, some exercise, even some attentive sitting. But no, I told myself there was too much to do around the house to take any time for anything else.

So instead, I had to let time do its trick, which eventually it did.

I’ve been here before–reflecting on the difficulty I have some times in letting go of emotional baggage. And I know it’s really just another form of clutter. Then again, here it is, about 24 hours later, and I think I’ve finally detoxed, and I am ready to let it go.

Believe it or not, that’s progress.


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6 Responses to Day 173: Detox

  1. Julie Buhite says:

    Sounds like you handled it beautifully. Thanks for the assertiveness example and glad you got through your detox. That kind of toxic is sooo not fun and has a tendency to just jump out of the blue, despite our best efforts to maintain a healthy environment.

    • Mark says:

      True–I had a friend who used to say “What you think of me ain’t none of my business.” I try to remember that when I find myself tangled up in situations like the one I described.

  2. revdarkwater says:

    No trouble here believing that’s progress! Superfund sites are easier to clean up than some of what people unload.

  3. Frances says:

    I think you said exactly the right thing, but I agree it is hard not to run these things over and over and think of all the brilliant things you could have said! I have to make a real effort not to let these things get to me. I think your friend was rather bad mannered by the sound of it. Usually people like that get away with it because no one wants to make a bad atmosphere so I think you handled it well. I think this is where the Buddhist idea of detachment comes in very useful if one can cultivate it! There will always be such people….

    • Mark says:

      I think you make a really good point about detachment. It reminds me of the Zen story of the traveling monks Tanzen and Ekido, and the people we “carry” with us–I have to admit, though, I am most familiar with the tale through the children’s book version in Zen Shorts!

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