Saturday, September 12, 2009

Avoiding the boulders

I used to waste a lot of time trying to move the boulders - meaning I used to try to convince unkind people to be kinder; I tried to educate people about what I thought was right; and I did anything I could do to try to prove to people that I was a kind and loving person. I worked overtime and went above and beyond the call of duty to be 'loving' to others even when they were unkind to me. I strove to be 'forgiving' while allowing others to abuse me with words and behaviors. Sometimes my loving words and behavior authentically reflected what was in my heart. Often, it did not. We get the same lessons over and over until we learn to be real.

During my twenties, another coworker admitted he stole something from me when he was at a gathering in my home. The rest of the conversation as to why he stole it was even more appalling. Being young, naive, and "holier than thou" at the time, I strove to 'forgive' him, thinking that was what God wanted of me. Now I realize God would have wanted me to be real instead of faking loving behavior, while in reality I felt sick. I could have truly forgiven more easily and authentically had I told him that I found the behavior unthinkable and disgusting and proceeded to be professionally cool to him, or at the very least terminated the friendship without expressing a thing. Instead I worked harder than ever to be forgiving and friendly, trying to help him see that there was a nicer way to be, and trying to prove that I was a loving and forgiving person. Instead of changing him, his behaviors went downhill, and eventually I had to have a conversation with him saying I was going to have to turn him into human resources unless the inappropriate behaviors stopped. A week after I set my boundaries, for a reason completely unrelated to our discussion he was transferred. I got real, and God removed the difficult situation from my life.

The universe gave me another chance with the same lesson - just to help me see I'd learned. I was sent as a young engineer to a company in California to work with their engineers. The man there decided to gather up a group of guys and drive me to lunch. Well the lunch turned out to be "lingerie lunch" at a local dive where they proceeded to enjoy some extremely foul jokes at my expense while scantily clad women served us terrible food. This time, I was more real. I ignored them the entire hour, refusing to dignify their behavior towards me with a response, went back to my own company and told my boss that this wasn't ok and that I was never going back to work with these people again. He called the customer and in very direct terms described how I was to be treated. From that day on I was treated with the utmost respect. I had learned to be real. The situation was handled quickly and easily, and I was much more easily able to forgive and let it go.

Fast forward to the past few years and the scenario repeated again, just to be sure I got it. I was at the dolphin tank in Sea World, having fun getting doused by a playful dolphin, when an attractive and well dressed man in a black silk suit showed up and started hitting on me in a most disrespectful way. Words that were created to describe supermarket produce were applied to my body parts, as he continued his attempts to 'flatter' me. I felt the cords from his aura trying to hook into my lower energy centers, and lost all desire to be warm and friendly. "Are you here alone," he asked. I could have lied, but chose not too. "I came here to get away from everyone." (Hint). "I'm alone too!" he said. "Let's do something tonight!" "I am resting tonight. Sorry," I responded, being as kind as the situation warranted. "What do you do for a livling," he asked. "I talk to angels," I responded. "Really?" He proceeded to become human for a minute and to ask genuine questions. His cords withdrew from my aura. I was relieved. Then his baser side kicked in again, and his energy started to slime me as he made another unwelcome offer... "You say you want to rest? I give good massages. I could give you a massage tonight. I can help you rest." "Oh please just go away," I thought to myself, The line had been crossed. He was acting like a pimp on the prowl, and I just wanted to go back to my joyful interaction with the dolphin. I took a breath and quietly prayed and asked God to help me send this man on his way in the kindest way possible. He seemed to be the type who enjoyed verbal sparring so I knew if I just told him to go away he'd be a pest. The ladies room was too far away to duck into and there weren't many other people around.

The idea came quickly. I looked a the dolphin with whom I'd been playing a game of "splash and spit," and said to her, "I think you should splash this man and his expensive suit right now! Yes!! What a great idea. Come on... let's play!! He'd LOVE to get all wet!" The man looked at me in shock. I'm sure the suit cost him hundreds of dollars. The dolphin looked at me, eyes sparkling, looked at the man, and filled her beak with a load of water. She was cocked and ready to spit. The man backed up and away and made a hasty exit! Instead of raging as I used to do when I felt cornered by obnoxious behavior, I had a good long laugh, splashed my friendly dolphin in appreciation and was rewarded with a beak full of water. We both squeaked and squealed with laughter.

People are just people. Instead of treating others like horrid monsters, even if they act that way, ignore them, or if you have to move them on their way, get creative. If you have to work with them or live with them, try to listen to them. Ask them where they are coming from and share your feelings as well. I'll never forget a dear young woman who asked the angels how to deal with a mean kid at school. Bring cookies and share one with her, the angels said. They told her that the mean little girl was just insecure. So this enlightened child did just that and made friends with the 'mean' girl. The angels have often recommended acts of kindness that bridge misunderstandings.

Being real, while still being kind, takes constant practice. I am always challenged to go deeper into my own heart, to communicate with kindness and sometimes humor when I open my mouth, and to know when to simply let things be. It may take a lifetime to perfect being so authentic that we choose love all the time, but the effort is the point of our existence, and very much worth the time and energy we spend learning to perfect it.

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