This fortnight I have continued to enjoy being more aware of unhelpful habits (working with curiosity, rather than judgement), and replacing them with more helpful habits.
As I said last blog when I am aware of judgment and or conflict within myself and or with others, I try to remember to let it go with curiosity and a helpful slogan like "Oh my funny mind - there it goes again'. This helps me prevent further judgement. And then work to promote peace, beginning with myself.
Helpful reminders for me are embroidered slogans on tea towels, aprons and hankies. My friend Kate (who's Birthday is today! Happy Birthday Kate!) inspired me in craftiest slogan embroidering with a tea towel she embroidered for me in 2011! It reads "Never Let A Good Disaster Go To Waste' - Lama Marut 2011". It is a favourite of mine and reminds me to look for the lessons in 'so called' disasters. I am sure Kate or Hilary would be happy to embroider a slogan tea-towel for you - email me here.
Lately I have been aware of conflict and have been wanting to promote peace and peace of mind. I have been reminded of some peaceful slogans when I have been tempted to either attack back, suppress or be inactive.
I have been reminded that 'peace begins with me' and as Pema Chodron says "Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world." And as Gandhi reminds us 'an eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind". So how do I let 'peace begin with me'? I have been trying to continue to remember to be curious and use the formula I have been finding useful.
I was working at the Mission Winter Breakfast last Friday. I was serving the tea and coffee. A tricky customer cam in for the second week in a row. He is rather particular about the way he likes his tea and feels the need to instruct and sample in what could be perceived as a demanding way. I was ready for him, armed with curiosity and kindness!
He said 'not you again' on seeing me and then asked for his tea hot this time!. I told him the tea was particularly strong and would he like some hot water in it. He said 'no, I just want it hot with not too much milk' and asked me to let him try it. I made the tea and handed it over. He was very cross and exclaimed 'that is not tea, it is coffee! Make me a tea with a tea bag' he demanded!
I knew it was tea, but rather than engage in an argument about who was right and who was wrong I remembered Lama Marut's words. 'Would you rather be right or be kind'? I opted for kind and let it go. I went off to find a tea bag, when he yelled impatiently 'you will take too long, don't worry about it, I will take the bloody coffee'!
So here is the ABC formula I have been finding helpful to tune into and turn up the kind, encouraging voice and promote peace.........
1. When there is conflict..............(I have not got the tea/coffee right!)
1. ACCEPT the feeling - frustration and conflict happening
a). UNHELFUL REACTION.............
Attacking myself - 'This is terrible, I am hopeless at making tea'..Letting that destructive attacking voice take over.
Attacking him - with blame and criticism regarding his behaviour
b). SUPPRESSION THE FEELING
Ignoring the frustration. Instead accept and Remember it has come as a reminder to be kind to me (let peace begin with me)
2. BREATH and tune into the kind, encouraging angel voice
3. Kindly ask ....What do I need? (to be of benefit)
I need to give myself what is missing - the encouragement and kindness! (I would give it to a friend, so why not give it to myself?) Again remembering Brene Brown wise words 'Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love'.
So, I tuned into and turned up that kind friendly, angel voice gave myself some kind, friendly encouragement. I said to myself 'you are doing a good job, you are lovely Maree'!
This kind talk meant I could get on with what I needed to do - do my best to make the tea and be kind and peaceful to both myself and kind and compassionate to him. I have no idea what is going on in his life. As Pema Chodron says 'Compassion for others begins with kindness to yourself'.
I could have said to him 'please be kind.' (full stop) to remind myself and him of kindness. I can remember doing this with teenage kids in the midst of conflict. The trick is to say it and let go of the expectation for it to have an immediate change, and instead trust both you and others have heard it.
Another customer came in a short time later. Would you believe his words of greeting to us were 'What a great job you are doing - you are all so lovely'! I was amazed to hear my kind, encouraging words to myself expressed word for word!
Again I felt very grateful for everything including my wonderful teachers and the lesson to reduce inner conflict and judgement and give myself the kindness and peace that appeared to be missing! Then I can then let this peace flood the world, as Pema says. I was very grateful for this lesson to 'be kind to me' and then 'let this help me have compassion for others'.
Here are some self talk slogans I find helpful to replace some of those unhelpful attack ones. Maybe you will find them helpful too.
When I can be kind, encouraging friend to myself and reduce that internal conflict I can be available to be kind and compassionate to others too! As Pema Chodron says 'Be kinder to yourself. And then let your kindness flood the world'.
We will explore some more helpful slogans next blog.
With love and my very best well wishes to you all