Since I’ve been dabbling into yoga and mindfulness (not always sitting meditation, but trying to always practice it), I’ve tried to cultivate nonreactivity. It has helped me become a better person, I think. I’m learning that, when I feel a wave of anger raising from my heart center and spreading through my body, I don’t have to necessarily speak angry words. It has been a long journey, but overall, those who know me best can tell you that I don’t lash out at them as much as I used to.

Yoga has taught me that even if my heart races, I’m sweating, and some muscles feel uncomfortable (hello, warrior II!), my breath can still be fluid and deep, and my mind calm, even happy. Mindfulness has helped slow down time for me, so I can identify the sources of discomfort early on, “diagnose” them, and make a decision whether to react or not, and how.

I can even do nonreactivity acrobatics, like eating an olive stuffed with wasabi at a favorite Japanese restaurant and not react to the wasabi. Yay, me.

But these days, I’m in a different situation. I have to give weekly injections to my feline angel, Pooky. I hate them more than he does. My heart races, I get startled with every little sound he makes, and I’d much rather poke myself in the eye that pierce his skin with the tiniest needle the vet could find. I know he needs me to stay calm and nonreactive, to be gentle, yet firm, and to a certain extent, I do fake that for him – except for last week, when I gave the injection into thin air and wiped $50-worth of spilled medicine off the floor.

In case you don’t get how I feel, here’s a visual aid:


I know, right???

So I’m finding out that nonreactivity is much easier to practice when you deal with negative feelings: not acting on anger, not scratching that itch (see Eat, Pray, Love and the mosquito scene in the Indian ashram’s court yard, though that was stupid: can you say malaria, chikungunya and other viral diseases?!). But when it comes to not reacting to the softest, warmest, mushiest loving feeling, when your heart is breaking, your hands are shaking, and you think you’re about to faint – now, that’s so much more difficult. Even though the mind understands what you need to do, the reactions in the emotional and physical bodies are immensely deep and very hard to control. If you’re a parent, you’re probably much better than me at practicing this kind of nonreactivity… So, any tips? I have two more injections to give!!!