Monday, June 8, 2009

Grace under fire

Three things that never come back: the spent arrow; the spoken word; the lost opportunity. Willam George Plunkett
The weekend is over. People have come and gone, and in their passing through I have been touched. I have grown. I have learned.

I discover new things about myself every day and this weekend was no exception. It was a colourful weekend!

Givers 1, the first weekend trainees come back to seminar after having gone through the five days of Choices, is about discovering your 'colour'. Based on True Color personality typing, the Givers 1 weekend culminates with a five hour workshop on determining what is each individuals foundational colour type, what are the attributes of that particular colour and how do they manifest themselves, both as strengths and stressors, in our lives.

My first three colours are very close -- Green, Blue, Orange. My Gold is somewhere on the horizon but quite distant from the other three.

There are strengths in each colour, and, as with all things in life, my greatest strength can become my greatest weakness.

I am always scanning, always analyzing. As a strength, that means I can see the 'big picture', discern how it impacts a situation and/or person, and determine creative solutions to minimize any negative impact, to move situations and people from one pole to another, to reach outside of the box to discover alternatives that open up new possibilities.

The weakness is -- I have a natural tendency to be arrogant. I believe I know the 'best' and 'right' way to handle a situation -- even when I am pretending to let you believe you are right!

It was my arrogance that leaped in to trip me up this weekend.

I am Team Captain of this group. Which means, I am responsible to ensure the Coaches are on task, focused and working cooperatively. It also means, I am charged with ensuring any situations that arise are dealt with effectively and speedily.

To be effective as a Team Captain, I require a great deal of Gold -- the organized, planner who is prepared for any circumstance and has all the bases covered.

I can be 'gold'. What I struggle with is grace and ease in Gold. And, because my Green has a tendency to be extremely uncomfortable with new situations where I don't have the information I need to understand what's required, and I don't like to admit when I don't have the answers, I can resort to arrogance when under stress.

Yesterday, we had a situation that required speedy and delicate handling. It ended up being nothing serious, but in its unfolding, it appeared to be 'out of control'. In my uncertainty of how to handle the situation, and the information I had about what was going on, I was abrupt and unkind with another of the coaches.

Someone pointed out my abruptness and I realized it was true. I had been unkind.

Doesn't matter if I was attempting to control the situation or not, I do not like being unkind.

I acknowledged what I'd done to the coach and apologized. She graciously accepted and said, "I was a bit taken aback. Mostly because it was so unlike you. And then I thought, 'Oh, she's just being gold,' and realized, it wasn't about me. You weren't even thinking about me. You were thinking about the situation and trying to keep it under control."

Control. Love it. Hate it.

To be in control means to believe I am powerful enough to control people and situations.

To be out of control means to be reacting without thought to people or the situation.

In my attempt yesterday to control, I was out of control. On either side of the equation, I was acting without grace under fire.

Grace under fire.

The ability to remain loving and kind while holding a space for a situation to unfold without becoming distressed over whatever is transpiring.

It was a big growth day for me yesterday.

In my awkwardness I discovered it's imperative to remain soft and loving without resorting to arrogance to ensure no matter the situation around me, I remain true to my principles, beliefs and values.

I do not like being unkind. I do not want to be unkind. I can be unkind.

In the dissonance between how I want be and how I am living in the moment, is a field of grace. It is on that field I need to stand to balance my strengths and weaknesses in harmony. It is in that field I need to live to ensure I am living my best life yet, being my most loving, gracious and creative self. When I ease myself into grace, I ease up on demanding people conform to my way. I let go of the need people do what I say and live up to my expectations. In grace, I make room for other's to be who they are without fear of being pummeled by my way of thinking.

We are all human, being all we can be when we let go of the expectation that everyone else can see, think, feel, hear and do it our way.

Reality is, in our being human, we cannot see, think, feel, hear or do it any way other than how we perceive the world to be in the moment we are living right now. My response to any situation is always predicated upon my experiences leading up to that moment and how much of the stress I carry with me as residual muck messing up my ability to be flow in the field of grace of my being.

In my awkward handling of the situation yesterday, I could only do my best given my lack of awareness of my tendency to be arrogant and abrupt when under stress.

In my knowing today, I can be aware next time an unexpected situation arises -- and they always do! -- that causes me to slip from my field of grace into the murky waters of not knowing what to do. Next time I go for a swim in the tumultuous seas of uncertainty, I can bring myself back to calm seas by reminding myself, regardless of how much information I do or do not have, I am not powerful enough to control any situation. I am powerful enough to control how I respond. It's my choice to be surrounded by grace, creating harmony, even when the sky appears to be falling down.

When I am exercising grace under fire, I am living up to my highest good, being all that I can be. In my being all that I can be I limit my creation of discord and fall into the harmony of being true to who I am.

My growth this weekend was to realize, when I am 'out of control' I am creating discord. When I let go of control, I allow harmony to rise up and be present, regardless of the situation. It's not being in control that caused me strife, it was my fear that I was out of control that bit me.

The question is: Are you standing in your field of grace, breathing love and harmony into any discord rising up around you? Are you willing to exercise grace under fire by becoming 100% accountable for yourself?


S L M Moss said...

You still had the grace to admit and apologize when you had been unkind. That is a strength many fail to practice and cultivate.

I know what you mean though. Gold, too, is my lowest colour, yet one I rely on in many situations. A week ago I was a coordinator for a friend's wedding. Saturday night as I was making sure those who had to be at the church early knew they did, I had to stop and apologize to the bride and groom. I told them that I had "slipped into Gold and stopped seeing people as people". The awesome thing was that I am able to recognize when I do that now. Knowing the colours is such a blessing, especially knowing that Gold is not my foundational colour and knowing that I am a better person when I don't try to fit within that mold.

I've gone off your train of thought a bit. I was blessed by the smooth way the Colours seminar flowed yesterday and I thank you.

God bless you today!

Anonymous said...

have you considered that your 'out of control' issues might connect with your mid-week drama last week (I hesitate to call it melodrama ..but by now you must be mellow about that) .???