From Type A to Type Ahh

Be the Change You Wish to See in the World – Ghandi


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It is Not You it’s Me

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I am pretty far into my year of trying to meditate everyday and see what else happens.  Chief among my hopes, not goals:  trying to let go of my obsession with perfection, being more present, and letting go of my old “Type A” ways.  All of that has been surprisingly easier than I had anticipated, and I give a lot of the credit to the first decision.  The decision to meditate everyday has been a gateway for me to learn so much.

Recently I learned something that I have been told my whole life, and certainly my entire married life, by my husband, it really is all about how we react.  No one can make me feel anything.  That all happens in the big theatre behind my eyes.  I had always heard this and in my mind thought “whatever, but really what you said, what you did…that’s the reason I feel like this.”  You know what?  It turns out that it really is all me…not you.  I would have bet anything it was you.  Especially every you that does not like me, or who has a differing opinion, or who disagrees about some key issue.

It is kind of humbling and amazing to realize that all of those relationships can be changed if we change the way we handle something or the way we take something.  For example my boss and I had a rift a couple of years ago.  Don’t get me wrong he said some things to me that he will have to reconcile with himself.  He has made repeated tries to reconcile with me.  Until I started this year, I was unwilling and unwavering.  He had done me wrong and I would be mortally wounded for life.  It was not easy but somewhere, some time doing a Metta meditation and focusing on him; I began to realize all of that was more about him than me.  It was the way I was reacting and holding on to it that would not allow me or him to move past it.  I am not even sure when it happened.  Still working on that “fully present” thing, but one day I just let it go.  I just chose to react differently.  I chose to let go of the wounded victim, reminding him of his transgressions by my cold stare.  I just treated him like a person, full of potential and short comings just like this person. You know what?  It actually made me feel better.  I was not necessarily letting him off the hook.  I was letting myself out of a prison of my own making.

Yes, he said those things, yes, I reacted the way I did.  Only, I decided to remain in that moment for the next several years.  This is just one example.  I have also noticed that taking a minute to breathe and center myself before immediately reacting has made me calmer and enriched my relationships.  All of the avoided arguments and hurts that never happened could not weaken and wound my relationships.

It is still a struggle but I feel like I keep learning and keep growing, and after all isn’t that why they call it practice.


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Marriage Is Hard

 

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Dung and I nearly 19 years ago at our wedding

Recently I have noticed a Facebook phenomenon.  Many of my friends have curated the perfect online marriage and usually their “Oscar worthy” depiction is followed by a similar follow up post “Mr. My friend and I have decided to divorce.”  “Picture” perfect marriages rarely last.  After thinking about this I wondered why, and I am now fairly certain of the reason.  They don’t last because they don’t exist.  Prepare yourself to be comforting and downing wine with any friend who spends nearly your entire evening out waxing poetic about ‘the perfection she has found in this idyllic partnership with her/his soul mate’.

Caveat, I am married.  I am happily married.  There is a difference between being happily married and being immersed in some dimensional alternate universe where two people live day in and day out through the mundane, fabulous and hideous days right alongside their families’ dramas as well, and capture each in perfectly edited selfies on their much followed joint Instagram.  That is not reality.  That is a couple or part of a couple wishing for something while living something else.

I have done hard things in my life, but if pressed I would say nothing has been harder or more rewarding than being married.  This year I have been trying to be more present, to be a kinder gentler version of myself.  I strive for that older, wiser, and less intense version of myself and it is two-step forwards and one step back process.  I would say my marriage is my own personal laboratory.  Prior to today I thought my experiments were top-secret.  While hubby and I were having one of those “missed connection” conversation I let it slip that I was working on really trying to evaluate what I say and not just say it.  I was trying hard to ask myself will I add anything positive by providing my perspective, or is this important enough to him that my role is just support.  I am just there to say, “I’m sorry. That’s great. That sucks. Carry on.” whichever is appropriate.  I thought this news would blow him away.  Instead he looked me straight in the eye and said. “I know you are.  We have been living together for 25 years.  You don’t think I noticed?”  That brings up a separate issue about my failing to be fully present and aware but that’s another blog, or something to meditate on later.

Marriage is a lot of things: funny, happy, ironic, messy, exciting, peaceful, frustrating, comforting,  lonely, exhausting, invigorating, infuriating, inspiring, and boring.  That is just on a Tuesday.  Marriage is a lot of things, but if someone tells you theirs is perfect, run.