Thursday, June 18, 2009

Rewind. Stop. Play.

Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much. Robert Greenleaf
Yesterday, I had a conversation with a woman who, in my judgement, (and sometimes I just gotta judge someone else!) is one of the most difficult people I've had to deal with. I must deal with her, it is not an option as she is integral to a project I am working on. There's no getting around her, no taking another path to success without her involvement. And while I limit my conversations with her to the very bare minimum and use email as much as possible, yesterday I had to bite the bullet and call her.

And I said a silent prayer. Bless her. Strengthen me.

Recently, I caught this woman in a lie. It was a big lie and proved that her drama was not based on fact, but on reality as she saw it, or, possibly chose to see it to validate her position of being right. The gift of finding her lie gave me the opportunity to disconnect from trying to point out her accountability in the situation. It's not my job to make her accountable. It's my job to find a way to work with her that doesn't undermine my well-being or the outcome of this project.

In my 'opinion' -- and I have lots of those, this woman is invested in being right. Reality is, I made a mistake at the beginning of our working together. And part of that mistake was based on my silence when I needed to speak up. In normal circumstances, that mistake was easy to remedy. That mistake triggered something in her that I cannot fix. In her unhappiness over what in her estimation, was the distress I had caused in her life, she needed to be right. Regardless of what the truth is.

When dealing with someone who's objective is to be right, regardless of truth and fact, there is no sense in pointing out their lies. They won't believe you, even when they truth is sitting next to the fact of their lie in writing. Knowing that truth gave me the opportunity to let go of picking up any of the blame and shame she had to dump on me. Didn't make it any easier to deal with her, it did make it easier not to become engaged in the game of "you're wrong, I'm right".

The drama of it all isn't what it's about. In the moment dealing with someone as dramatic as this woman is not my biggest challenge. I will stumble and trip. Say too much. Not say enough. Say the wrong thing at the wrong time, the wrong thing at the right time and the right thing at the wrong time. The drama is not my issue. Turning off the conversation in my head, after the phone is hung up, ahhh, now that's another matter. That's my biggest hurdle.

My mind wants to mull over the conversation, change what I said, what she said, how it went. My mind wants to re-play the tape of our discourse to create a better outcome, a more respectful exchange -- You know, that place where she admits her lie and apologizes and I am exonerated. And that ain't gonna happen anytime soon so why waste my precious energy on trying to make it happen in my mind?

It was what it was. I did my best. Throughout this project have given my 100%. I have made mistakes. I have done some things really well. Ultimately, the project isn't about me and it's not about her. It's about something much bigger, grander than either of us.

And in the grand scheme of things, when the project is over, it will have been what it is, become what it does and both of us will continue on with our lives. In our continuing on, we will have a story to tell -- and that story will be whatever we make it. I can make it about having had to deal with a difficult person, or I can make it about having been part of something that touched lives in ways I could never have imagined.

I choose the touching lives in ways never imagined.

To get there, I have to let go of the story of how she was soooo in the wrong and how I was soooo in the right. I have to let go of my need to feel the drama stirring within me and fall into the grace of living in the silence of knowing, I give enough. I do enough. I am enough.

Bless her. Strengthen me.

The story is just a story. As time and distance separate me from the minutiae of getting this project completed, the drama will ease up as I move with grace and ease into knowing, I did my best. My best is good enough.

I can ease the burden of the angst by simply letting go of my need to play the victim to someone else's bad behaviour. We are each accountable for how we behave, for what we say, how we react to circumstances and events that don't go according to plan.
In the silence between each breath, I find grace.
In time's passing, the impact of what the project means in the lives of those who have been moved by its power to touch hearts and open minds will be the gift that keeps on giving.

And the gift that keeps on giving is Love. Always has been. Always will be.

The question is: Are you replaying conversations in your mind, making someone else wrong to your right? Are you willing to take your finger off the REWIND button and press, STOP and then get to work playing your best life yet? Are you willing to fall into the grace of living in the rapture of now knowing you are 100% accountable for how you turn up in your life today?


Anonymous said...


sometimes, there is much drama worth reworking and reworking

sometimes, as you said 'it was what it was' .... period, full stop, the end, period, .

it was what it was

sometimes, that's all we get

then we get to move along to what's next

what's next?


i am storm. said...

in the past, i have utilized an exercise i learned during a transformative mindfulness class for just such situations. it is called 'cutting the ties'.

the premise is sever your connection to an element or habit in your life that is not positive in order to allow you to move forward.

a friend had guilt over her relationship with her kids when she and their father divorced. she found this guilt was inhibiting her relationship with her son now that they had reconnected and he was in his 40's. she cut the ties with the guilt she was feeling.

i have found the exercises amazing. there are some variations if you google the idea.

be well,


M.L. Gallagher said...

Hey Mark -- yup. it was what it was. What is now is I have to get a concert organized. Are you coming? Tuesday. June 23. stand by the di.

Storm! Thank you. I will google it. It does sound awesome.