Monday, November 22, 2010
He spoke about consequences and personal histories and making the most out of what you bring to every situation. He reflected on how we shape the momentum of our lives and simultaneously suffer the results of our own actions. Truly, as I sat there, I felt like there might have been other people in the room but that he was speaking only to me.
He told a story about two little boys that were playing trains on the floor of the playroom one day. Completely absorbed in their activity, they were taken by surprise when a huge dog bounded into the room. The first little boy, nearly wet his pants with fear, jumped up screaming and ran to hide in the closet. The second little boy broke into a huge smile, rushed over to the dog grabbed it around the neck and proceeded to ride it like a pony.
Very simple story. Very clear images. Certainly these boys acted the way they did because of their personal histories. The first boy knows only fear because of the dogs he has known in the past. He thinks he knows how a dog will always act and so he knows to hide. The second boy has a different history. To him a dog is a toy and not a beast which requires caution or amended behavior.
He went on to say how the first boy is possibly missing out on some of the pleasure of a well trained dog. He is not able to see beyond his past experiences and act differently. The second boy has made just as big of an error. This boy acts the way he does because his history tells him dogs are friendly. But some are not. This boy could benefit from a little caution.
Great point. I want to learn how to change my outcomes by learning from my previous experiences. I've been working really hard on that lately. So someone asked him, "But if I'm the child in the closet, and I've closed the door on some of the experiences in my life because I feel like I know how they will turn out, then what?" Of course he went on to explain all sorts of things like letting go of the past and being in the moment and not allowing all of the mental garbage we bring to every situation define what it is. I specifically remember him saying, "Don't react. Don't manage. Don't direct. Just be."
And here's where my "aha" moment came crashing down on me. I've been working on that whole "let it go and let it be" thing lately. Really. I have. I've been sitting with stuff and letting anger be anger, and letting joy be joy and turning it all in on the work that could be done on me. And I've been feeling pretty powerful as a result of it. And. I'm pretty sure I thought that if I worked hard enough on me. I could change that big scary dog into a horse. If I was in control of me, I could make that bounding animal come into the room more slowly. If I let go of my fears and some of the negative experiences of my past, I could transform that being into something else.
Not going to happen. That was a crushing realization. Yes, I need to work on me. But no amount of work that I do on myself is going to change the people around me into something they are not. Tough piece of news for a control freak who is willing to put forth the effort and likes to get the job done.
Freeing though. In a way. To be able to stop failing at changing people. To be reminded that the point of it all, before I lost sight of the point, was to work on me. To let go of the past and stop letting it dictate how I'm going to behave. Or respond. Or react. To begin to form a new history with some of the important people in my life. New memories.
New consequences of new actions. Karma.