Setting The Tone
Today we are going to set the tone
We’ll remain so measured and quiet
Today let’s refrain from the usual moans
Put verbosity on a strict diet
This is the start of a fresh new day
So you choose how you wish to play it
You can choose to be generous, gracious and gay
To improve life or instead dismay it
Today we are going to draw a clear line
Sadness past, let us look to what’s next
Choose today to move on, take the bull by the horns
Or, Dear Lord, be perpetually vexed
Today we will be a nice person to know
Abandon resentment and rage
You must know that you are a nice person to know?
So buck up now and let’s turn the page
Remember my dear you are young, bright and strong
Such potential when you’re ‘In The Zone’
Not so much when you’re petulant, angry and wrong
So today, my dear, let’s set the tone
I wrote the above poem just under 7 years ago. It was whilst I was still in the job that was doing me harm. I began to realise just how toxic this job was becoming when I started acting out; started saying inappropriate and negative things; started becoming paranoid and suspicious; not being the usually discreet, level headed and professional person I knew myself to be. My behaviour and interactions with others were becoming increasingly out of character. And it scared the living B’Jesus out of me.
I had to have a serious word with myself, try and rein myself in, reconnect with the true me, hidden within the layers of fear, stress and depression I was battling.
It seemed particularly timely to post this poem right now. Not only as it quite neatly follows my previous post (about the damage of persisting with work that is bad for your health), but also just because … well look around you? There are a lot of scared and troubled people in the world right now. I am seeing people acting out toward one another left, right and centre. This is happening in the UK right now for example (where I live) as people come to terms with the messy aftermath of a very divisive political referendum. I read about sad, angry, and scared people across the globe every time I look at the news. And I am a sad and scared person as a result. And I am disturbed by the aggression I am hearing from others around me. People who may be acting out of character, lashing out at their fellow man, for want of knowing what else to do to protect themselves from the things that scare them or they can’t understand.
Sometimes, when times are really, really tough, we have to go back to ourselves; our values; our beliefs; our own strengths and internal compass. These things may be hidden under layers of anger, or hurt, or sadness, but they are still there. Sometimes we have to take a breath, have a little word with ourselves, maybe hold our tongues rather than respond in kind to the negativity we hear from others. We may not feel influential enough as tiny individuals to impact on the messiness in the world right now. But we can choose how we engage with it. We can choose not to perpetuate it. We can choose to do better, to be better. And every single person, every single droplet of humanity who chooses to take a positive stand; to reset the tone, makes all the difference in the world. And every little droplet might, in the end, add up to an almighty wave.
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