I’ve been trying to do my best to get back to the way I deal with people about other people.
Several months back I had a grand surplus of peace and joy, of compassion and tolerance for others. I was mindful of my speech and impeccable with my word.
Then the stresses of the beginning of the academic year and the exhaustion from not having taken a long overdue vacation began to accumulate. I began to feel less tolerant of other’s actions, words, and choices.
Now the vacation has been taken. The stress at work has greatly subsided. But I still find myself shaking my head at the choices of others. I still feel a compulsion to bring up in conversations the choices people make that I don’t understand. I do feel I’ve recovered a great deal of the perspective that gives me peace, but I wonder if I have allowed an old habitual thought pattern to slip back in, and it is hard to crawl away from when it goes on so easily like a favorite shirt that feels so comfortable but has worn past the point of being acceptable to wear in public.
Perhaps I need to visit my own personal minister for counsel and guidance more often. I usually pay these visits through reading spiritual material that reminds me of my connection with that which is greater than myself, my connection with all. I would voraciously devour texts and tomes that speak of self-reflection and the beauty of merely existing, of the god that is the moment.
So at this point I have become aware again of my critical speech, but I chose an old remedy in dealing with it that is less than effective. I dug out my old bark shock collar, the one where I zap myself with a high voltage of self depreciation for speaking ill of others. All that seems to do is make me flinch at my own thoughts.
So I’ve gone back to see my own personal minister. The mirror asks me to discard the shock collar and replace it with a bell. Whenever the critical thoughts of others arise, I ring the bell and ask that question, what personal comfort or freedom or right does this other person seems to be infringing upon? What aspect of my own happiness is supposedly being threatened by the actions or choices of the other person? Isn’t this what it always boils down to? Don’t we merely shrug off the driver that cuts someone else off but become absolutely incensed when we are the ones who have to slam on our brakes? It’s all about when it becomes personal, when we feel we are not valued.
My own sense of value has only one source that is pure. It is the value I give myself. That is the only value that can truly be planted and take root. Value donated by others are merely like applied Post-It notes. We can pull them off and read them, then choose to stick them back onto our bodies or toss them in the nearest recycle bin, or merely let the wind snatch them from our sleeves and lapels eventually.
So today I will listen for the bell. When I hear the ding I will remind myself of all the blessings I have. And my heart will be full.