Dancing outside my comfort zone

Posts tagged ‘head slaps’

August 19, 2014 Perspective

The questions we ask can give clues to our ignorance

I wasn’t going to write about this, but it’s been niggling at the back of my brain for several days, demanding to come out, so I finally had to let my subconscious have it’s way (again!). Recently, a young man asked me how I would feel if someone made or posted a critical remark about my work when I was new to a job. At the time, it was clear that he felt that his question was rhetorical, so I didn’t bother to answer. However, as it crawled around in the recesses of my brain, I realized that, given how little he knew of me and my career paths, it was a rather ignorant question. I have, in the past, worked in a male dominated field, in industries which were also male dominated. As a strong woman, it presented a lot of challenges, not only from my male superiors and counterparts, but also from women who had learned that the men they worked for were relatively easy to manipulate, a characteristic I simply don’t share. Many times during my career, I was hired to update or fix a department, only to be met by resistance from the women (and sometimes, outright belligerence and nastiness), but lack of support even from the men who hired me. Needless to say, it was an uphill battle (and often a thankless one) to accomplish what I’d been told was expected of me, along with many things which the hiring manager failed to mention. Eventually, by hook or by crook, I’d make things happen, though it usually took a lot of extra hours on my part, facing down management and making it clear that their support was required if they wanted everyone on board with the changes they’d requested, and finding myself in a special, little place where I was not staff, yet, not quite recognized as management.

I think, in a way, I was dumbfounded by the question, as it was rare for me NOT to receive some kind of criticism and resistance in the first days of a new job. I was brought in to make changes, and people are naturally resistant to change. Even so, unlike men I’d worked under who came in and made changes without understanding the company’s current system, I took the time to learn before making anything large and sweeping. But nobody ever complained about the men to management, nor made rude remarks to their face.

Though I know the person who asked the question doesn’t really want an answer, I have to say, for my own peace of mind (and to shut my subconscious up) that if you can’t take criticism when you start a new job (whether or not it’s constructive) you should consider something which minimizes your exposure to people like, maybe, flipping burgers at McDonald’s. People as a rule have opinions and we don’t always think before we express them. If you take what everyone says to heart, you’re giving their words entirely too much control over your life!

While I understand that the man was defending his employee, which, on the surface is admirable, his approach lacked value in that it came from a place of anger and lacked a great deal as far as rationality. I, for one, would have retained my respect for both parties had I been approached calmly and without aggression, pointing out that I had offended someone with my less than well thought out words. Had it been handled that way, I would have found it in myself to apologize for my thoughtlessness. Under the current circumstances, I don’t feel either the need or the desire to do so.

Using words to establish a battle ground can close the door on human kindness.

Over the years, I’ve learned that how we start a conversation can and will set the tone for how our words are received. Beginning it with aggression will invariably cause the listener to shut down a part of their mind, closing it off to reason and compromise. In this case, I complied with the request, but only because it was my plan to do so anyway. I would have taken things a lot further had it been pointed out calmly that I had been unkind, as it is my desire to be as kind as possible to other people. Hitting me with the tired, old line “How would you feel if…?: simply highlighted both the immaturity of the speaker and his inability to put his anger aside and just address the issue unemotionally and logically. In all fairness, in my younger days, I still had this lesson to learn, and it took several repetitions until I became consistent, though by no means, perfect every time.

Every one of us suffers from foot in mouth disease at one time or another.

Mishandling difficult situations is part of everyone’s learning curve, I believe. It doesn’t make us bad or stupid. It just makes us human. Everyone does many things well, and a few things…not so well. If we can look back and recognize the ones which show where self-improvement is needed, they were a valuable lesson. It is only then that we can make the necessary changes and become a better person. If, however, we get so caught up in our “rightness” that we fail to see the learning opportunity, we’re going to find ourselves in an oddly repetitive loop where, if we’re paying attention, we’ll start feeling a slightly ominous sense of deja vu on a regular basis. Whether we like it or not, the Universe has a way of administering head slaps when we need them most.

My gratitudes today are:
1. I am grateful that my subconscious rattles around at times and forces me to share uncomfortable thoughts.
2. I am grateful for the opportunities which show me by reflection that I haven’t completely mastered certain lessons because they still give me pause when I see them in other people.
3. I am grateful for my own home, my own bed, and my own furry sleeping partners.
4. I am grateful for days which allow me to catch up.
5. I am grateful for the abundance we can all achieve; love, joy, happiness, kindness, harmony, health and prosperity.

Namaste

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August 13, 2014 Back to the Future

The time has come to switch gears

For the last couple of days, largely influenced by current events, I took a walk through those long ago times when I first started this blog; a little older, a little wiser and hopefully, a little more compassionate. But this evening, I feel that it’s time to lighten the mood once again, if only I could find something which would accomplish that miraculous feat. It’s interesting how a single event can open old wounds you didn’t even know had yet to scar over. The Universe makes sure we get these wake-up calls, both to allow us to finish things, once and for all, and to remind us to avoid being complacent. I’ve learned the hard way that complacence leads to one thing, and one thing only; another Universal head slap.

One man’s head slap…

Despite the virtual pain inflicted, not to mention the laugh the Universe gets at my expense, not all head slaps are created equally. Some tell me that it’s time to wake up, get my head out of the sand and make something of myself. Others say it’s time to make a big change, so I need to put on my big girl panties and take the first step so those who are waiting in the wings can actually start to earn their keep. But the toughest one of all is the one that says: “You know that thing you thought you’d finished? That thing you thought you’d worked all the way through until you felt all healed and warm and fuzzy? Well, I’m here to tell you, nay, show you, that you ain’t even CLOSE!”

Finding our own navigational beacon

A fellow in a Facebook Tarot group I belong to posted something in the last few days about directionals and such, but I couldn’t find it so I’m just going to fake it (I realize that’s incredibly novel in this blog!). We all have to find our way. and a message sent to me will not, despite being identical, mean the same to someone else. The last couple of days have made it very clear that most messages are wide open to misinterpretation. However, I have learned, both the hard way (most of the time) and the easy way (on occasions so rare that a triple lightening strike in the same location probably stands better odds) that the best way to truly understand the messages I’m receiving is to turn off the analytical side of my brain for a moment and just listen to the words, or appreciate the visual I’m given. Thus, I realize that the messages of the last couple of days are telling me two things: 1. Finish the novel and get back to work on the Self Help/Memoir and 2. I have a long way to go before I’ve truly healed from certain life experiences. In a lot of ways, the two are intertwined as the process of researching and writing the Self Help book has, and will continue to be incredibly cathartic.

It occurs to me as I pause to let my brain catch up, that I’ve given you false hope for a lighter post tonight. It seems I still have bits and pieces floating about, the flotsam and jetsam I call my thoughts, which have yet to come to rest where I can actually either make use of them or put them away for good.

Be that as it may, I admit that I am a recovering control freak, prone to analyze things into dust, run things into the ground, and otherwise try to force things to happen only as I envision them. But you notice, I said “recovering” and there’s a good reason for that. Quitting my job as I did last December to focus on my first love, which is writing, was the first step in relinquishing control. I told the Universe that I want a career as a writer, as a creative being instead of one who just analyzes other people’s work. I didn’t say how I wanted that career to flesh out, or what direction I wanted to take (though, of course, I did express hope that the novel I began in November might actually see the light of day at some point). Instead, I threw myself on the mercy of the Universe to point me in the direction I needed to go, to give me signs when I needed to make something happen, and to otherwise determine how my intention would materialize. What the Universe gave me in return was dozens of reasons to have Faith in myself even if I don’t have a master plan, numerous signs that I’m on the right path, ideas which flow so fast that many, sadly, get lost in the ether, and head slaps to make sure I’m staying my true path. If you ask me, despite a temporary delay in publishing any of my work, I’m getting the best part of this deal!

My life is freer than it’s ever been. I can do what I did today and drive up the coast to meet a friend for lunch. I can get away to visit my daughter when I feel like it. I can ensure that I meditate every single day, no matter what, though, if you were to ask my cats, they’d insist that I’m simply providing them with a warm place to nap on a fairly regular schedule. But best of all, not only has my stress level shrunk to record lows, I never have to commute again! I’m truly living the dream and don’t, for a second, miss all of the “stuff” or eating out more than in. How many people can truly say that? How many people are loving what they do? This is an incredible gift I’ve given to myself, and I deserve every bit of it! Don’t you?

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for Universal head slaps.
2. I am grateful for a stress free life of doing the things I love.
3. I am grateful for my constant companions; the four footed, pointy eared, feline ones (even one the youngest insists on running across my keyboard when I’m writing!).
4. I am grateful for my hermit days as well as my social days. In other words, I’m grateful for the balance in my life.
5. I am grateful for abundance which is available to all: love, health, joy, harmony, peace, prosperity and balance.

Namaste

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