Tame the Tornado

The stealthy weapon living in your pocket

I see things online that I can respond to with wisdom, experience, or solutions.

But I don't.

I sit there and think about how to say what I want and then question whether I want to say it. A paragraph or two may have even formed. Just that quick and just that easy.

Then doubt and pressure rise. Almost immediately, predictably so.

  • Will this help my engagement online?

  • Will this cause me to lose followers?

  • Could I lose a contract if I word this just the wrong way?

Then opposition comes.

  • Why do I need to worry about any of that if it truly helps another?

  • Do I sound angry?

  • Maybe I should come at it from another way.

I still keep my finger poised on the screen, mainly to keep the feed in place while I think the feelings come.

  • Anger. This is all so stupid. Why do I have to even care about this type of strategy? Why do I have to keep balancing those expectations? Why can't I say what I want because it needs to be said? Who cares if I sound like a mean person?

  • Guilt. God doesn't want me to be mean to people. I'm not a man. I don't lead an army. I don't need to rally the troops.

  • Comparison. But Joan of Arc did.

  • Distraction. I need a pet. I need to touch grass. The monetary system is a scam. You don’t need to mess with trolls.

  • Redirection. Focus. Do I answer this guy's post or not? It would be a good post.

  • Dismissal. It's been four minutes, now five, that you've been contemplating all this. You don't have the time this morning to reply. Just bookmark it and respond later...

Later never comes, and I keep scrolling with the justification, "If it comes up again, I'll respond then."

So many missed opportunities, yet so much time that would have been taken away from the tasks at hand.

The struggle I've just described is ongoing for many of us, all in different ways, with different issues.

Time is our most precious asset and also, depending on how we spend it, our greatest liability.

Writing some of it down by hand preserves the pattern and answers already within you.

You can't always see it that day, but once you've trained your eyes to see, you'll be able to see and feel the thread that connects it all when you flip back through the pages.

Writing by hand is one of the few ways to slow the world down, take it into your hands, create order out of chaos, and see through all the distractions that our world has become.

Dear Scribbler

Q. I'm not sure if it's me or the other person, but their behavior is getting on my nerves. For the sake of the relationship (both at home and with one person at work), I don't say anything. I don't know how much longer I can handle it. I'm afraid I'm gonna explode. If I do, it's gonna cause drama. If I hint too much, I'll be labeled as a nag or a troublemaker. What can I do?

A. This is a rough spot.

You're constantly pulled back and forth between trying to help and suffering consequences if you do.

If it were me, for a while, I wouldn't say anything to these people unless someone's life is or will be in danger if you don't.

Instead, write about all these things in your journal often. Just get all of it out. Each time you do this the more often you do this, the faster and easier it becomes to release the negative feelings.

The faster you release the negative feelings, the quicker you regain your balance.

The faster you regain your balance, the quicker you can affirm what you know is right.

The faster you affirm what's right, the quicker you act.

That's partially what writing by hand is about.

You can keep these negative feelings from hijacking your day, derailing many of your plans, and lying to you about what type of future you can have.

This doesn't mean you'll always feel ecstatic or elated when this happens.

No. It means you're affirming that you get an active choice in how you choose to move forward for yourself.

I learned to ask myself this: Do I need to be in an environment where the mismatch is so heavy that I can no longer ignore the price I'm paying mentally and emotionally?

Another question: Does this situation deserve (notice I said "situation" and not "person") to be able to trigger, control, and consume me all day like this?

The answer to both questions is usually a resounding "No." More often than not, though, we talk ourselves out of this reality, which keeps us going back and forth about the whole thing.

It's a spiral. It's part of what I affectionately call the "Tornado of Crap."

You can momentarily, mentally, and emotionally step outside of the spiral at any time. Just figuratively, leave the spiral there, spinning, doing its thing. Look — you're standing over here where it's calm, peaceful, and you can breathe for five minutes, and over there is a spinning. It's spinning, all by itself, without you in it. The tornado does not care that you've exited the building. It's just consuming everything that enters its sphere.

Pretty powerful, huh?

It's ok. Just stand out here with me and chat for another few moments. The tornado isn't going anywhere.

We both know that until you've been able to escape the tornado, you'll have to go back in there.

But here's what I want you to know.

By the very virtue of you going through the exercise I just walked you through, it proves to you that you have more control than you realize.

Please re-read the above again until you can imagine yourself doing this. Even if you can only do it for a few seconds, it's proof it can be done.

If you can do it for a few seconds, you can do it longer, and once you can do it longer, you'll eventually be able to do this ON DEMAND.

Once you can do this ON DEMAND, you are less likely to be manipulated, lied to, or taken advantage of.

Then, and only then, will the label of "troublemaker" be genuinely justified because cowards, simps, liars, and anyone intending to rule over you falsely will see that you see right through their BS.

To them, you become dangerous.

While you're sitting here outside the tornado, understand you can do this anytime, as long as you need to sort out what is what, determine what's true, and how you want to respond to it.

While you may have to re-engage for the sake of a relationship or paycheck, you get to reserve how to respond and take action until you're clear on what you want and how you want to deal with the situation.

Writing by hand helps you tangibly sit outside the spiral often. When you can't physically escape the chaos, writing by hand helps shelter you while you're in the middle of it.

Writing by hand is like a symbolic shield you can pull out of your pocket anytime.

It's only one type of concealed weapon you can carry to protect yourself and those you love.

It's inexpensive, and there's no license or permit required.

Do you have a question you want to ask?

One Line

One-liners are sentences meant to prompt your memories and stimulate your creativity. Use them, if you want, to see what your brain comes up with. Do you see an image in your mind, feel something, remember something?

Whatever it is, start writing it down. There's no right or wrong answer. 🥳

I unfolded the letter, and a small key fell onto the floor.


Remember a time when you felt truly proud of an accomplishment. Describe what had happened, how it made you feel, and what it meant to you.


Join the conversation

or to participate.