In the Hot Seat!
The juxtaposition of the pepper and the stuffing reminded me of something that happened on the French metro this summer.
When in Paris, I met up with life coaching peers from my Martha Beck training. One thing we learn in our nine month course is how to question whether a thought we are having is true. Most often, a thought is not absolutely true and the opposite of what we are thinking might be true or truer. The Work, as it’s called, is always a revelation.
You can imagine that throughout our trip, the moment anyone of us stated something negative, the rest of us would chime in, “IS THAT TRUE?!” It was intended to be silly and we all shared the perpetual inside joke.
When Jackie* and I got on the metro one afternoon, it was getting packed and we were getting punchy. Jackie found a fold down chair, brought down the seat and sat with relief. It was nice to get off her feet after a full day of walking. With each metro stop, more patrons pushed into the car until finally Jackie was staring squarely at a woman’s crotch. It was awkward and made us giggle. Jackie, not a huge fan of being hemmed in said in a gruff stage whisper, “This woman is in my space!”
I couldn’t resist, “IS THAT TRUE?”
We both laughed. Then she said, “Yes, it’s true!”
We continued the Byron Katie method [Learn more about The Work here] mostly to distract her from a strange episode of crotch watching.
Another way to turn around a thought is to bring the thought to self, “I am in this woman’s space.”
The way I remember it, the levity of our process shifted. We both formed “O’s” with our mouths and our eyes got wide. We were totally in this woman’s space! By putting down the chair, we were literally taking up more space than most people on the metro. There was clear evidence that she could have been standing and making more room.
We all have revelations that stick with us.
This one has lingered in my brain for a while.
It struck me how quick I was to consider the situation and my role in it – or my lack of role in it. The truth is, this dance called life, is done in the round. We are stepping in and out of people’s path constantly. I guess it behooves us to consider how we are dancing and not just noticing that others are stepping on our toes.
I’m not saying it’s easy.
I like making my small daily annoyances about someone else.
But looking at something as seemingly harmless as sitting down in a crowded subway and the impact of that decision on others made me realize something.
Turning within during seemingly annoying situations can reveal profound personal knowledge. It can shift a perspective just enough to make it manageable. It’s not a judgment about who is right or wrong. It’s about empowerment, choice and kindness.
Realizing that we have ownership of a problem through something we have done makes accommodating other people a delight rather than resenting them for their moronic behavior.
Are you freaking out and thinking about the time that it really WAS someone else’s fault? I mean what about that?!
That’s your self-preservation.
Feed it something yummy and tell it to take a nap.
Ultimately, becoming responsible for ourselves in any annoying situation is about kindness. It’s about sharing the burden of being on this planet.
Just try it.
I promise, getting a little hot on the inside can be a good thing.
Light & Peace,
The Busy Buddha
*Name has been changed
Talk Back to the Trio!
In what ways do you deal with minor annoyances?