What Does Not Kill…

Today made yesterday look like a trip to the Enchanted Kingdom. Yesterday was such a steady ongoing call to the Dark Side that by bedtime I felt like a champ for maintaining good behavior. Little did I know what was in store for me today. Today was a balls out challenge to everything my ego ever supported.  I was in a situation at work that so insulted me that in a flash of a moment, all the mean, righteous “smack down” I ever worked so hard to dissolve, rose up in a heartbeat like a great monster tsunami to gleefully obliterate the irritating fly in my ointment.

For a moment, I could actually feel the victory of leaving this person boiling in the humiliation I was so ready to drown them in. Seriously. Did you actually read the last three sentences I just wrote? Not only did I really write them, but today for several critical moments, I meant them with my whole being.

Once upon a time, I wouldn’t  have given any of this a second thought. But this is not a fairy tale, or an episode of Dexter. This is my constantly (I hope) evolving self, who at the moment of critical fail, chose not to use my well-known weapons of mass destruction. Fearing my lack of ability to speak with any kindness or wisdom at all, I put myself on momentary lock-down until my potential “begging to be a victim” escaped with his dignity intact.

I cannot express adequately the difficulty of this feat. My unfortunately legendary and much feared head-lopping abilities were appalled at being held back, and my ego begged to set things more than right. My mind kept telling me that letting this person get away with such a professional atrocity was not good for man-kind. Sometimes it is very important to smite someone most severely to teach them how not to behave. Seriously again. Can we re-read this paragraph?

I did the right and kind thing. Everyone lived happily ever after. Okay maybe not yet, but tomorrow after I calmly and kindly ensure that it is understood what will and will not be acceptable in the future, I will at least be at peace without losing the progress of my heart. But I will admit to you that IT IS KILLING ME. But that’s just the old ego talking.

What does not kill me, makes me strong. What does not kill me, makes me strong…

Pray for me. A lot. Thanks.

Back to the Dark Side

Today started out wonderfully, I woke up early enough to begin my first of 21 consistent mornings of yoga before meditation.

Those were the two wonderful things. The rest of this day has been a bit of a struggle with familiar irritations, and reactions. My ego saying “yeah, I’m right, and I will obliterate you with it!”. I wrestled with these things, but as of this moment haven’t allowed my feelings to negatively affect my behavior. I’m pretty black and blue on the inside though. Ha, ha?

Health insurance rates doubling for my people at work, a variety of ridiculous crap to address  after taking a day off Friday, a rare headache, some personal sadness with co-workers, and then the super effort required to keep myself in line when I perceive  repeated attempts of others to brow beat, manipulate and control people I love. I am doing my level best to change my perception to “repeated cries for love, attention, and self-esteem boost”.

I’m not there yet. But I am behaving as if I am so I don’t have to regret anything I put into play before I gain some truth and settle back into my heart.

Everybody has the occasional off day, but it feels like a hair shirt to me after a long stretch of balance. Tomorrow is a new day, and I can forgive myself for my insides without having to apologize for my behavior outside. This will be a red-letter event for sure.

I used to think (and sometimes still do) that it takes stepping up in the face of, the courage to confront, willingness to wield the mighty sword of justice to kick butt and take names to truly be a person of strength.

Now I know how much strength it takes to stand firm, speak the truth with dignity and grace, and be willing to be kind and forgiving to myself and others.  Unfortunately for me today, I have a lifetime of the last paragraph, and these new perceptions are brand new. So quite honestly, I have seriously pulled muscles withholding that which I must not bestow on others.

I am building my character, and it is painful pulling back from the Dark Side, but it is worth it. It will be. Tomorrow.


The Dignity of Every Human Life

I stopped in to get some coffee and a few other really important things at the local quickie mart today, and walked into the tail end of a situation that perplexed me. The cashier was in a quiet conversation with a man at the counter, and from their demeanor it seemed to be of some consequence. I checked my lotto tickets, and to my great surprise I hadn’t won a damn thing so I moved on to the coffee, which was a sure thing, and indeed much more important.

The quiet conversation ended and the man stepped outside where an older man in worn camo and a scruffy kind of beard approached him; they talked for less than a minute and went on their separate ways. I watched the bearded guy as he walked past the windows and I asked the cashier what was wrong with him. She said quite firmly that nothing was wrong with HIM, but the quiet guy had a problem deciding whether or not to part with fifty cents for a bag of peanuts for the other guy, who was obviously down on his luck and was hungry. I thanked her and stepped outside feeling really sad about it, and as I got to my car I start looking around to see if I could still see him. Nope, nowhere in sight.

I hopped in my car because I all of a sudden couldn’t bear not to give him some cash from the ATM I’d just stuck in my wallet,  just so I could maybe erase the feeling he must’ve gotten from that encounter. I drove between the quick mart, the restaurants, and the motels, trying to see where he’d tucked himself but he was nowhere.

I even checked out the intersections where some people will stand to try to get help, but no sign of him there either. Sad, sad, sad. It made me glad I’d given my last dollar bill the day before to the old guy at the intersection. I almost didn’t because I was embarrassed that I only had one dollar on me! How weird is that?? But I did catch that ignorant thought and rolled down my window and apologized for only having that to give at the moment. He was so grateful, and I was glad I’d overcome my ego thinking and gave him what I had at least.

I recall two stories in my life in this area that truly struck me as amazing and made me long for the better world we all should be working towards. One was in the bible, when “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, the gave to anyone as he had need. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”. The other was from the book The Host where the “souls” that had taken over the human bodies simply did their daily business together and charged nothing, it was a worldwide exchange system I guess where everyone did what we do in our daily work, but charged nothing because they could also get what they needed where ever they went. One huge network of giving and receiving. Wow. It blows my mind!

So I guess, since I don’t live in that world right now, I just want to do whatever I can to lessen the impact on the dignity of the individual going through hard times. If I have something to share I will, with a glad and sincere heart. I know what it’s like to be without. To not have enough money to not go hungry that day, to not have a car and have to walk to work, to thank God for the people in my life at that time who loved on me and left me with dignity because they didn’t make it “charity” and I didn’t have to accept it as such. But I was so grateful, and to see someone’s actions or attitudes diminish someone’s spirit for even a second just hurts my heart. I pray I will never do that to another. I pray my heart will always be open to give…even if it’s the last dollar bill left in my purse. We must take care of the parts of us that are out there broken and alone. Just the ones in front of us. If each of us help the one in front of us won’t we then cure the world of this? We can at least try.