At the Boston airport there's a really great Rube Goldberg-type ball exhibit encased in terminal E arrivals that keeps passengers and their waiting parties entertained for hours. Balls drop at timed intervals from a spot at the top of the sculpture, and make their way down ramps and around curved metal tracks, setting off bells and chimes and other amusing reactions. Then they're loaded onto a lift attached to a pulley that carries them back to the top, where it starts all over again.
Besides being highly entertaining, I'm sure that I never had any deeper thoughts about Rube Goldberg contraptions before today.
I wouldn't call it contention, exactly, just some tense moments that are natural consequences of being part of a family; group living that, when examined closely, is not unlike a reality TV experiment without the cameras and crew. And thank goodness for that.
I stopped to consider that we all handle stress/frustration/unforeseen obstacles in different ways.
I'm a sigh-er.
I release the air in my chest with an audible "whoosh" in an attempt, I suppose, to release the pressure; like popping the top on a can of soda.
I didn't even hear myself do it tonight--but once Dub pointed it out, I owned it right and true.
The blatant observation didn't sting like I thought it might, but became a reason to gain perspective on how my sighing affects people within my circles of influence.
There are worse things than an audible release of breath--but considering how my reaction to stressors affects others seems like the right thing to do when you're not Henry Thoreau (or a hermit). It's like putting on the magic glasses that allow you to see the giant invisible Rube-Goldberg mechanism of life: the drop of one ball setting off chain reactions that become no longer controllable by the one who first chose to drop the ball.
If I choose not to sigh, I am choosing not to drop the ball.
Admittedly, though, it's fascinating to watch how one little ball can set off so many reactions. I just never considered the human element connected to setting off my big life mechanism, or that I might be the one responsible for starting and/or stopping the show.
I don't think I'm going to decide to stop sighing tonight. I think I will, however, try to think about making sure that I am in control of choosing when and when not to release the pressure.
Research on pressure cookers might be next.