I was just thinking a few weeks ago that most of us tend to view difficult things in life as "How do I remove this 'thing' from my horizon?" Kind of like when we meet someone who for some reason annoys us — we immediately turn off and move into "get away from me" mode.
And I think, we have it backwards. If, as some indigenous cultures believe, that life is simply another dream state; then this 'life dream' we are in is really about ourselves. And everyone and everything we meet is really a reflection of an aspect of ourselves. Thus, when we get to a challenge in our path, we really need to embrace it. And to do that we need to look at things from the idea that the turmoil is coming from inside ourselves and is not an inherently "bad" thing. The emotional turmoil we are sending out is due to insecurity and anxiety — which stems from fear about ourselves. Thus we don't need to change the situation so much as change the view we have of ourselves. When we change the view, then the situation will change because we will be taking charge of ourselves. And to do that? If we go into the moment, then we are simply choosing the peace of the moment instead of choosing our inner turmoil. And that is the practice — developing the discipline to choose the moment (wind, ocean, birds calling, beauty of flowers, sound of traffic, etc.) over the inner turmoil which is screaming out at us "This has to happen!", "That has to occur!", "What if this all goes up in flames!?!", etc.
Of course, this requires us to be able to move past our prejudices about people and things to see that something or someone irritates us because they/it are pulling us out of our comfort zones. They're showing us something about ourselves or taking us to some aspect of ourselves we are uncomfortable seeing and thus we feel vulnerable and want to "close the castle gates" so to speak. So we shut down mentally or emotionally. Instead of shutting down, if we can "sit with the irritating situation or person" in an open manner (probably for much longer than we want) we may see how much they have to offer us in knowledge about ourself or something we can apply to ourself.
It hit me while sitting on the beach with Michael that the getting angry (in almost any situation, really) is stemming from an internal fear about myself (not being able to handle the situation, low self-esteem, fear of lack of this or that, fear of trust, etc. — take your pick). So if I can get to a point where I can, instead of buying into my anger, look at my anger as MY inner turmoil which is manifesting from MY baggage — then the individual or situation that is pulling/pushing me into my shadow zone becomes irrelevant and the task at hand for me is to see my emotional response as being filtered through my fear shadow and that it's my business to realize the warped illusion I am buying into about myself and life and then choose a view of myself that encompasses greater self-empowerment.