Sometimes after a conversation that wasn’t particularly good for you, you feel this knot in your stomach. You try to unfold it, going over and over the details of the conversation in your head on your way back home. You feel hurt and angry and a million other feelings that you can’t name towards that person. Sometimes it’s a stranger whose tactless behavior riles you up.
At times like these, it’s useful to remember Eckhart Tolle’s duck metaphor. In “The Power of Now”, Tolle tells the story of two ducks who fight and break up. They then flap their wings strongly a few times, as if releasing the build-up energy from the fight. Once they do this, they peacefully glide towards their different paths as if nothing has happened.
This may be just a romantic metaphor but it can also serve as a very useful perspective. Undoubtedly, it’s not smart to pretend like nothing is wrong in human relationships. However, this metaphor may be a symbol to remind us that it is possible to give up on feeding and blowing up events and conversations that annoy us. Our ability to write hundreds of scenarios about an event allows us to keep negative emotions alive in our bodies, as fresh as day one, days, weeks and even months after the incident. Our bodies are not well-equipped in telling the difference between thought and reality so we feel as if that incident is happening over and over again.
We can flap our wings and glide away from the incident, letting go of much of our burden. Let us not forget that if this is a relationship that we hope to heal, it will be easier to find solutions if we’re feeling lighter.