Today, I was editing a video of Rob Nairn taken on Heather’s visit to South Africa this past November. She was staying with Rob and managed to film some tea time conversations with him and the topic of this one in particular deals with how preference is an emotional response that shapes our lives and ultimately our problem solving.

Moreover, Rob was speaking of how not only does preference deal with emotions, but it is a catalyst for reactivity. When we let go of preference and, in turn being reactive, our approach to problem solving shifts. By taking a non- reactive approach to a problem, a space is created in which the problem is either shelved until a more appropriate time arrives to deal with it, or it sorts itself out in the meantime.


As I watched, I immediately thought of a problem from the night before. My son had a small emotional outburst about the pressure of upcoming exams, right before I was due to teach online. I could hear people entering our video conference room as my son stormed out of the room. Internally, I was feeling like this was a problem that I wish I could have fixed before I had to teach and be present for others. Definitely, it would have been my PREFERENCE to smooth over my son’s frustrations.

However, that was not an option. In that moment, I had to let go of my preference, spend a few moments grounding myself, and make the decision to shelf the problem until the teaching was over. Which I did. The teaching went well and I was 100% present for the session. What was interesting, though, was when it was over and I went upstairs to check in on my son, he had just closed his books and was looking up at me and asking if I wanted to watch some Netflix with him. The problem had sorted itself out. He was fine. He was over it.

If I would have held on to my preference to find a way to sort my son’s problem as soon as possible, I would have not been able to be present for the online tutorial. I would have been mentally tormented for that hour and a half session. I would have suffered. Instead, my actions were not defined by my preference and by taking a nonreactive pause, or shelving the problem, I was able to maintain my presence for the group that I was with. AND everything was OK in the end.

So this week’s challenge is to take a non-reactive pause when a problem arises. Can we simply just be with the discomfort of difficulty or  challenge and take the space to allow it unfold without jumping in to fix? We might like to notice how this feels in the body, what type of thoughts arise as a result of this pause, and how we are feeling emotionally.

Let us know how you get on!

To watch our Street Presence video of a visit to Rob Nairn in South Africa, see below:

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