The week had started very nicely.
In Switzerland, we are having incredible days of spring and mental euphoria.
Our faces are sullen when watching the news or reading the newspapers but our bodies light when riding on bicycles and bathed in the sun.
I put the cameras and lenses in their cases. Working with Swiss photographers is wonderful. After finishing a wonderful photoshoot at Hotel Ameron for Zurich’s successful female entrepreneurs I decide to visit a café I love on the other side of the city.
The bike ride is uphill. Zurich is built on mountains.
I take my bike on foot and ride through the bumpy streets.
I know that besides good coffee, they also make wonderful Swiss Rosti there.
Those who have not had rosti are worth visiting Switzerland just for that. I attach a reliable recipe here.
At the Kafischnaps, perhaps the most relaxed and unpretentious cafe in town the regulars mix their coffee cups with their cocktails.
You eat a gipfeli with your delicious coffee in the morning before going to the office, but in the evening shortly after work, you meet your friends there for a drink.
It is 18:30. The cars and trams coming down from the mountain of Safhausen Platz don’t stop passing this bustling crossroads. The city at this point is so happy and real. It’s bustling, buzzing, expectant.
The plate of rosti and spinach arrives while I already have my fork and knife in my hands. I am happy with this Swiss delicacy. I enjoy each forkful dividing my food into parts. I try to eat slowly and do what else? My favorite habit: I watch the patrons.
The ties are loosened and hidden in the leather bags.
The buttons of the jackets come undone.
Some pumps hover between the toes and the floor, ready to fall off.
The rock music from the loudspeakers will always remind us of the youth that is still in us.
Students from the ETH Zurich’s Campus are writing their assignments on their laptops.
A maniacal reader (one of those rare species)is reading standing up and taking notes from a small, adorable Penguin Books book. He drinks two espressos in one go and is so concentrated on its pages. He doesn’t notice the girl standing behind him trying to carry an overflowing cup of coffee.
He makes a sudden nervous movement, the girl is startled and the cup falls onto the orange-white black book.
There’s a little chaos. The reader gets a little angry abruptly because he probably thinks he was attacked.
He has no idea of his own responsibility.
He says something nasty in Swiss to the shocked girl.
Her boyfriend, who’s a little further back, hears it and goes off in a rage.
I can’t stop devouring my food. I feel like I’m in a movie theater.
The two men are exchanging words very intensely. They’re about to get into “each other’s arms….”.
In a sign of defense, I protect my plate with both hands. I don’t want anything to happen to it.
The hot, sweaty, fit chef from the kitchen approaches them and tries to calm them down.
Only then does a student look up from her laptop. The atmosphere calms down.
The chef acts as a Pacific force.
The reader and the boyfriend return to their seats, frowning.
As I eat my last bite with sadness on my face I share with you an imaginary discussion about
I remember when I was in high school my teacher Sophia Daskalopoulou reading to us the words of the Stoic philosopher Seneca.
A wonderful rare teacher, a philologist who influenced my life deeply and with tenderness.
I’m trying to translate the small paragraph from my book into Greek.
Seneca believed that:
“Anger constitutes by a transient madness and that even if it is justified, we should never act on it because, although “other passions affect our judgment, anger affects “our reason”.
While the passions work silently and attack in a calm manner, the minds of men plunge abruptly into rage… Its intensity is in no way regulated by its origin, and this is because it immediately escalates to its zenith, beginning with the simplest occasion.”
However, I believe that the perfect modern environment for anger management is the Internet.
If you have a Facebook or Twitter or even Instagram account ..you can understand what I mean.
Anger levels on social media have hit a peak (or bottom, depending on which way you look at it).
But how can you emotionally resist when an injustice is composed in front of you.
I want to be like Seneca.
Even if someone insults me in the worst way I want to manage to keep my temper and not be touched by words.
Of course, to do this takes a lot of work with myself and a lot of therapy.
I asked myself and my zen friends (I don’t have many) some solutions to resist the harmful feeling of anger. I made a list of a few steps that can perhaps lead us to a “distance”.
Meditate proactively: think about the situations that trigger your anger and decide beforehand how to deal with them.
Control the anger when you start to feel its symptoms. Don’t wait, or you will get out of control.
Associate with calm people as much as possible. Avoid irritable people. Nerves don’t get you anywhere.
Play music or deliberately engage in an activity that calms the mind. A calm mind does not get irritated.
Look for environments with pleasant and eye-relaxing colors. External conditions really do affect mood.
Don’t have conversations when you are tired, because then you are prone to irritation.
For the same reason, don’t start conversations when you are thirsty or hungry.
Use self-deprecating humor, our main weapon against the unpredictable universe and the equally unpredictable meanness of some of our fellow human beings.
Practice mental detachment, “delaying” your reaction by going for a walk or to the bathroom. Do anything that will allow you a break from an intense situation.
Change your body to change your mind. Try to consciously walk more slowly, lower your tone of voice, impose on your body the posture of a calm person.
Looking now at the two would-be fighters.
One soldier has returned to the joy of reading his coffee-smelling book. And the other one is tenderly kissing his beloved.
A little further on, the hero waitress is mopping up the floor, and the broken things & the sexy pacifist chef strut over his pans.
My dear birds, having worked hard all day, feel that I have been rewarded like a Buddha in this café and I will tell you this:
We’ve all felt indignation when we witness an injustice. We have all felt the desire to make the world a better place.
Anger is simply not necessary, in fact, it usually creates obstacles.
In recent years my intention has been indulgent with others and with myself.
How about you?