By: John Woodened, Reception Desk Director
“Always keep yourself in a safe and unassailable position”
“Good posture reflects a proper state of mind”
– Morihei Ueshiba-
While taking summer classes at the University of Delaware, all of the students that lived on campus were put in freshmen dorms. The freshman Rodney complex would be my home for those summer weeks. The rooms were a little bit bigger than a walk-in closet. The mattresses were a little bit better than sleeping on a tarp in the forest. When you closed your door, it was a bit better than being in a prison cell, because you could open the door at any time. The bathrooms and showers were down the hall. And I considered my stay there heaven.
Being in such a cramped environment, most students on the floor, if they weren’t sleeping, kept their doors opened. This led to making friends very quickly. And remarkably about 75% of my floor became friends. It wasn’t unusual for five to seven people to be sitting or standing in the small hallway having group conversations with four or more people sitting in their individual coffin sized dorm rooms.
One day, while studying in my dorm, I got up to use the restroom. I locked my door and walked a little down the hall, where the floor’s RA, who I was friends with, was talking to another student. As I was approaching and passing him he asked, “Where you going?”. I replied, “Nowhere, I’m just using the restroom.” In a baffled and slightly mocking tone he said, “You lock your door to go to the bathroom?” I replied with a smirk, “Yep! Always keep yourself in a safe and unassailable position.” And as I continued down the hall, my friend now making a bantering joke said, “Okay, make sure you lock the stall door when your in there.” Without looking back, I responded, “Don’t worry. I will!” It was one of a thousand college good natured interactions between friends. I could tell by my friend’s tone though, that he was confused and maybe even a little insulted or hurt that I locked my door. Maybe wondering if I didn’t trust him? Or one of our other friends that was there with their doors open that day? I just know it didn’t make sense to him. That, however, was short lived.
Two weeks later, my friend the RA, while going to address something with a student on the other side of the building, left his door open and had $120 stolen from his room. He was angry about it for a week. And salty about it for the following two weeks. When I learned about the theft, we were in a group. He looked at me and no words were spoken. None were needed. He just learned a life lesson the hard way. We have all been there and I wish all my life lessons only cost me $120 each.
Keeping yourself safe isn’t about being paranoid, mistrustful, or negative. It’s about understanding that you and only you are responsible for you and your safety. Understanding that mother nature and the vast majority of the millions of humans on this planet don’t ever think about your feelings, your safety, or how you think things should be, is a good place to start when contemplating one’s safety. Too heavy? Possibly overwhelming? Okay I get it. I will reel it in a bit.
Lets talk about what is happening right now. We are all being told to stay home and avoid any contact with anyone or anything that isn’t already in your house . . . for your safety. However, there is a element in this time of quarantine, that is absolutely essential to stay safe. One’s state of mind. Just for a moment, let’s do a mental exercise. Toss out the idea of a “good” or “bad” state of mind. There is only “a proper state of mind”. If you do not have a proper state of mind, you simply do not have it at the moment. There is no negative describer for this.
So what is a proper state of mind? It is an awareness of what you can do, what you can control and what you can not control, for the betterment and safety of yourself and those around you.
How do you attain a proper state of mind? Lots of ways: meditate, pay attention to nature, read books by people who are smarter than you are, listen to music and/or play a musical instrument, etc. However, having a good posture is the easiest and most practical form of attaining a proper state of mind. Good posture keeps you alert and attentive. And it just so happens the best way to keep yourself safe is to be alert and attentive. Being alert and attentive leads to better informed decisions and actions.
Friends, small actions like locking a door or watching Netflix for an hour with good posture can lead to positive events and help reduce negative events. So, practice good posture (and it does require practice) and act as if you are your own best friend and always keep yourself in a safe and unassailable position.
Keep it positive, if possible everyone.