"What do you do when you have done the courses and read the books and you are still.. you ?"
What if who you are is not set in stone and that elusive secret to success and joy is to stop focusing on what you are doing and start to focus on who you are being ?
written by Verna van Schaik, Guinesss World Record Holder, this blog explores those questions... and the life lessons Verna learnt breaking not only her limits, but those of the world
Monday, June 13, 2011
Breaking Free of the People Trap
One of the things that fascinates me about me is how desperate I am to escape, well me. It seems as if I am trapped in a personality that creates experiences I realy don't want. This instinctive me defines how I react to the most normal of situations. Take work, here I find mysef being pulled too and fro thanks to a difficult working relationship that has contaminated my entire experience. Thanks to some fuzzy role definition I find myself in an almost continuous fight for territory with a peer which makes for an exhausting day.
My strategy for avoiding this instinctive me is to simply not to put myself in situations that trigger her. Which is fine with friends and even family but totally not possible at work where I have no choice but to engage. The question is how ? I know they way I go about it now is destructive and not pleasant, but what are the alternatives ?
So I took a look at this unconscious me and realised that she seems to be a person who can only exist in the presence of other people. People and the emotions they trigger define her, creating this perpetual existence that is just more of the same. An existence I can no longer live. As I contemplated (with dread) returning to work on Monday, I realised that I needed to find a way to escape thispeople trap. I no longer wanted to be defined by the people around me and most importantly, I no longer was willing to give up my abilityt to choose who I am in any moment. It reminded me of a story I had read.
‘One day when Buddha was giving a lecture and a Brahmin got up and began insulting him. He raved for while and when he had finished the Buddha said,
"If somebody laid out a banquet in front of me, to whom would it belong?
"Obviously it would belong to the person who put it there," replied the Brahmin.
"And if the person offered it to me," continued the Buddha, "and I declined to accept it, whose would it be?" "Well obviously it would remain the property of the person who put it there." "Just so," declared the Buddha. "just so." ‘
That story had always hit a nerve with me, but now it seemed to take on new meaning. I was taking other people's emotions and reactions personally, I was accepting these, reacting to them and making them my own. But where they really ? What else could I choose ? Who could I be if I were not instinctive, unconscious me ?
One of the steps in my personal journey to Conscious Enlightenment has been the understanding that I can choose to override my default program. It requires a conscious effort on my part. Which started me thinking not about what I wanted to escape, but where I wanted to escape to. If I wanted to stop other people defining me and get my power back, then what would I need to start doing?
My starting point as always was to really engage with what I do not want and turn it around, into the state of being I would be in if I were not that. I did not want to be fighting the whole time, instead I wanted to be living in a state of peace. I was tired of other people having the power to take that calm away from me. The more I thought about the me I could be the more resistance I started to feel. Instead of calm I found I was fighting myself.
"Why on earth should I let them just ‘win’. They were not right. If I just let go and walked away I would loose, loose my place on the ladder of success, loose my pride. I would be ridiculed, thought less of. It was my job to stand up and fight for my job, for recognition. It was not fair that I just let them sit back and stuff itup without doing anything. " The tirade went on and on... and I let it.
I let this other me go and just watched as she ranted and raved. Was this who I really wanted to be ? Did I really want to be wasting this much time and energy on a job that did nothing more than pay the bills ? Did I really want to be wasting this much energy and space on the people I worked with, people who I had no real attachment to ? Even worse, I was bringing this bad energy home into my real life. I was letting these people and these situations control who I was! Watching her live inside that small and miserable box I knew that I I no longer wanted any of that and if the price was to let go and walk away, then so be it.
It occurred to me then that to create the calm I needed in my workplace I would first have to create calm within myself, which was going to be extremely hard. I was in a state of permanent fight, the arguments from work playing over and over again in my head ... not even requiring the people from work to be present. So much for being calm and at peace with the world.... and thank heaven for Living Enlightenment!
With a deep breathe I stepped out of my analysis mode and into my doing mode. Thanks to almost two years working through the Living Enlightenment process withim my own Enlightenment Project i knew what I needed was a single focus, a single word that I could take into work and have in my consciousness, something to practice being.
For the first time I realy started to focus on who it was that I wanted to be? What was it I wanted to be practicing ? Which enlightenment intention would create the peace and calm I wanted ? As I spread my enlightenment intention cards in front of me I found three that ‘popped’ for me, Respect, Flow and of course Calm. Both Calm and Flow are intentions I work with quite a lot, but Respect, that one did not sit well with me. I found myself imagining the instinctive me barring teeth and retreating at the mere thought. Surely not Respect ? Respect was something that was earned. It was a reward given when due and my problem people at work definitely were definitely not to be rewarded with something as valuable as respect.
My adverse reaction to that simple word meant one thing, this was the word I needed to be working with. Now to sit with the how !
To escape unconscious, instinctive me I would have to remain conscious and Aware. I could not afford to just let go and fall into the instinctual me, no matter how much I wanted to.I would also have to take a deep breathe (or three) and Accept that this is how it is. I had neither the right nor the mandate to try and change the people around me, that was their job. I would have to accept who they were without fighting that... it was what it was...and what it was exactly what it needed to be.
I let myself just be with my intention.... I wanted to maintain my Calm, I wanted to keep in a state of Flow but mostly, I wanted to be the energy and intention of Respect.
All that remained was for me to start workingthe Living Enlightenment processand create the context for my day. So here it is, my commitment for the world.
For this week I will:
·Live Awareness for 80%of my day, no matter what the situation
·Live Acceptance for 80%% of my day, no matter what
·Live Calm Harmony for 80%% of my day, no matter what
·Live Respect for 70%of my day, no matter what.
It should be interesting to see what the universe brings... and how this Respect challenge and my unhooking from the people trap actually brings.