I had no idea that I would feel so small as I gazed out over the field and felt that I didn’t know or fit in with anyone. The experience of discomfort was so strong that for about three days I arrived in the mornings acting as though I was a 15-year-old on my first day at a new school, wearing last year's fashion.
I asked the CEO about some of the beliefs he tried to live by, and he revealed that one of the main goals of his traditional practice was to attempt to Rise Above Praise and Blame. He tried very hard not to blame his employees when they screwed up. But he never praised them, either.
Sheila and Tracy found themselves arguing mercilessly about logistics. Who was doing more household tasks? How was the middle child going to get to piano on Wednesday? When would Tracy have time to go back to yoga? Who was going to figure out the logistics of getting them to a family reunion in August? The stress became overwhelming, and threatened to destroy them.
We know the limitations of avoiding big conversations and feelings in relationship on a regular basis, so avoidance is obviously not recommended as a long term strategy. But it can be used in moments, in small doses, as in the story above, to preserve a more important, agreed upon value.
All through dinner prep and catching up with my friend, I breathed into my discomfort as I focused my full attention on him. My task was to really reconnect with my friend. We swapped stories and smiles, and even with the nagging provocation hangover, I was enjoying the reunion. About halfway through the meal, a miraculous thing happened. . .
We were celebrating the successful launch of my good friend’s new amazing business. We had already had a glass of champagne and were on our way to another. But the jovial feeling at the gathering was put at risk when my good friend pulled me aside and asked, "Can I ask your professional opinion about something?"
My partner loves to tease when he catches me putting on a little perfume before one of my online courses. "Do you think they'll sit close enough to the webcam to smell you?" I understand how strange this seems. It's just one of the things I do to get into professional character.