Monday, April 4, 2016

The Hardest Lesson of All

A few years ago, Shoe and I had the opportunity to hear a guy give a talk that impacted us both greatly. As a matter of fact, we seldom have a conversation that the dude's name is not mentioned. That fact may not sound like much of a big deal. But Shoe and I speak on the phone, at least once a day, EVERY day!

The bad news for this guy is that I recently got hold of his email address. Remembering the tired cliche, "nothing ventured, nothing gained," I fired off an email to this old hippie from California, with little or no expectation of what I would get back. He did respond and we spent the better part of a week corresponding via email and now it's become a bucket list item to one day have a cup of coffee with the dude, face to face.

This brief correspondence filled the coffers with possible topics for my little blog. I suppose, however, that they will need to marinade in my little brain for quite some time before I am capable of tackling them. One thing he said, though, is pounding in my brain like a clanging cymbal. It will not go away! Naturally, it involves possibly my greatest character flaw. What he said was something like this:

"Nothing is personal! THEY are not doing it to YOU. THEY are just doing what THEY do, and YOU happen to be in the blast radius."

He's joking, right? He could not possibly mean that. There is no possible way he actually believes that asinine comment.

Oh, it does kind of echo similar sentiments that have been expressed to me over the years. "Kevin, don't take things so personal." "Kevin, why do you take everything so personally?" "Kevin, believe it or not, everything on the planet is NOT all about you!"

Last Friday, my inability to practice this simple awareness hit me right between the eyes. On a topic that has absolutely NOTHING to do with me, I heard an absolute idiot express the stupidest opinion I have ever heard, and that dummy lived "rent free" in my head for the rest of the day! And I would be lying if I said he didn't creep back into my tortured brain on more than one occasion over the weekend.

My negative self-talk, on any given day, gives me dozens of reasons to hate myself. This one, however, is NUMBER 1! For me, even at 51 years old, this is my Hardest Lesson of All.

I think that the self- loathing is amplified by the fact that today was my 256th day in a row to meditate. Is it working at all?

Those closest to me seem to think that the meditation is making a difference. So, I'm not going to give up hope. And for today, or maybe the rest of the morning, or maybe for just the next 5 minutes, I'm going to just sit back and relax in the blast radius. And with all the earnestness in my heart, I'm going to try and remember that "they are simply doing what they do."