I feel as if I am on the warpath. The warpath of NOT being diverted into energy-draining tasks that are not mine to do. My spiritual friend helped me see this yesterday when she likened the distractions and encroachments on my creative life and real work to the tributaries that re-direct my energy from the main flowing path that's straight ahead. It has been a welcome visual.
It has been more than merely an image. Last night I boldly stated that I could not perform a task I felt was being shoved in my direction. I am also owning my responsibility and guilt in not saying no when I should.
Today, I was shopping. Something I only enjoy occasionally and never in a mean-spirited crowd ... such as are forming now in the pre-holiday rush. I was already over stimulated and incredibly tired before the checkout. So when I spied a hole, I sped into it ... not in any obnoxious fashion, just with the urgency of being very focused on ending an unpleasant task. Hey, there was an open path and only one person waiting. I was curtly told from the adjoining aisle that I was to move to the line at the left, which was serving both sets of cashiers. It took a minute to register because it made no sense. There were two distinct lines with a barricade of dvd shelves between. But the woman was adamant and I complied. She was polite after realizing I had not intended to barge my way ahead. The woman behind me did the same and we both shook our heads in confusion.
Then the shopper from hell arrived and would have none of the nonsense. No way, she said, shaking her head in an overtly menacing way. It was as if it was MY turn to perpetuate the funky line organization, so I explained we had all tried to do that, moved over in line and been waiting. She wouldn't budge, then turned to me and said, "Sorry." I replied, "I don't think so."
Usually, I would have ignored her, maybe cursed under my breath. Today, I said it out loud. And it felt good. Really good. And any anger toward this woman dissipated. I'd had my say.
I did something similar in line at the Redbox rental a couple of weeks ago and astounded my husband. I was selecting a movie when a woman emerged from the passenger seat of a car and instantly began tapping her long, flawless pink nails on the disc covers. For crying out loud, I thought, she just got in line. And the movie choices were not cooperating. So I looked back and said: "Do you want to return a movie or something" with a not-so-nice emphasis on something. I kind of shocked myself, yet was also tickled. I so rarely speak up to rudeness. She said yes and I let her ahead (no movies were jumping out at me) and we had a pleasant exchange.
These weren't angry rebuttals, just honest ones that helped me turn my frustration outward by vocalizing it. Typically, I would have let it stay inside and bounce around in a not particularly healthy manner.
Typically, I say yes to tasks I have no interest in, but feel it either won't get done or not done as well without me. Just about a year ago at a retreat, I had the epiphany that any task should not be undertaken unless I can do it with love in my heart. A few weeks ago, someone I met at another retreat and with whom I shared that inspiration said it had meant so much to her.
Now I'm walking the walk and letting my stream flow forward without side branches to dilute my work, my life and energy.
• What's my usual response to a request of my time or gifts?
• Do I have any framework for testing whether it is, indeed, my work to accomplish?
• How does taking something on I really don't want affect me?
• How can I discern what is mine to do?
• How can I respond to rudeness without making it worse for myself or the other?
be a good