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Thinking Out

Marissa Alexander

The 30-3 Rule: Finding My Pathway to Peace

Over the last couple of months I’ve faced some challenges that, in the past, would have left me feeling drained and defeated. Most of the issues are a natural part of life - managing work-life balance, enforcing boundaries, and creating structure for my pre-teen daughter and guiding her towards being responsible and accountable. Then, there were the annoying and frustrating issues like prolonged debates and negotiations with my homeowner’s association to resolve minor infractions.

No matter how brief the experience was, it always threatened to outlast my patience. Some days, I asked, "why can't this just be over with already!" They were reminiscent of a time, a few years ago, when even minor inconveniences had the power to disturb my spirit and put a chokehold on an otherwise perfect day.

While I was incarcerated and going through my public legal battle, there were a lot of days and nights when I literally survived one moment at a time. I knew that my circumstances were temporary, but still it was the most difficult and agonizing thing I’d ever experienced. Have you ever noticed that sometimes the more you try to be patient about something, the harder it seems to get? The more I resisted depression and suppressed my anger, sadness, and frustration, the more one compounded the other. I had to find my pathway to peace, which was necessary to survive the fight of my life.

I discovered a process that helped me manage my emotions and focus on the solution instead of the problem. I call it my 30-3 Rule. It's a simple practice where I gave myself

30 minutes, 3 hours, or 3 days to process an issue and come up with a solution. I allowed 30 minutes to process my feelings about it. If I was still emotional, I extended it to three hours. No matter what, I didn’t allow myself to be in my feelings for more than three days. After that, I moved towards acceptance - it was time to make a change or a decision. By giving myself permission to be human and allow an outlet for my emotions, I gained clarity and was able to focus my energy on my desired outcome - FREEDOM.

Recently, I found myself slipping into a victim mindset. There were days when I felt overwhelmed, and I was pissed that I even had to deal with inconveniences, attitudes, and simple issues that became unnecessarily complicated. I’d endured and overcome an abusive relationship, being criminalized for surviving the abuse, as well as the emotional and psychological consequences of both. I felt like I had already been through more than my fair share of challenges in this life, and that I should be given a pass. At some point, I had to accept that life doesn’t work that way.

I was able to put things into perspective when I reflected on my time in prison and the

30-3 mindset that I adopted to survive that ordeal. I gave myself time, all three days, to go through the gamut of emotions. The process allowed me to deal with the problem by accepting what is and isn’t in my control. I’ve re-implemented my 30-3 Rule and I’m determined to face challenges head-on. I know that I can emerge stronger on the other side. I’ve done it before. I can do it again.

Find and follow your pathway to peace.



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