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The Art of Fine Metalwork and the Art of Empathy and Nonviolent Communication- woven together for you....

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cause for celebration?

I just read this from Pema Chodron: (just looking at her sweet face makes me feel better...)

"In Buddhism we call the notion of a fixed identity “ego clinging.” It’s how we try to put solid ground under our feet in an ever-shifting world. Meditation practice starts to erode that fixed identity. As you sit, you begin to see yourself with more clarity, and you notice how attached you are to your opinions about yourself. Often the first blow to the fixed identity is precipitated by a crisis. When things fall apart in your life, you feel as if your whole world is crumbling. But actually it’s your fixed identity that’s crumbling. And as Chögyam Trungpa used to tell us, that’s cause for celebration."

It was perfectly timed for me, because this morning I woke up in a completely different mood, in direct opposition to how I felt yesterday - feeling panicky, disliking myself, with so much negative self talk... Obviously, these are the moments when it's hard to implement all the teachings, the meditation the Nonviolent Communication, Mindfulness , The Work, years of therapy - everything seems to crumble, as she puts it. If I would say the things I say to myself to someone else they would be out of here in a second!
 A friend commented: Maybe that's just how you are- with moods swinging back and forth?

Suddenly a voice inside says, so what are you getting from all this? Just let yourself BE for heaven's sake. Maybe there is nowhere I HAVE to be or things I MUST achieve...let things BE as they are. 

So I'm back to taking it, moment by moment - gently, somewhat more compassionately, with myself...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

An Eye for an Eye...

Yesterday I got a call from a mother of one of my son's classmates. She told me that my son Tom had verbally insulted her son and had made derogatory comments about his parents, their home, and him. 
She was hurt particularly because they had always welcomed him into their home and he had spent a good few hours there. Though she did acknowledge that her son is not exactly an angel, I sensed that she was taking it personally.

I listened quietly, thanked her for telling me and promised I would talk to him.

"What happened?" I asked.
" He and I are always fighting" he answered "but this time I really got upset because he called my sister fat, and if someone insults my family, I'll let him have it!"
" So you really got upset, didn't you?" 

And then Mahatma Ghandi came to mind.
" Do you know what 'an eye for an eye' means?" He had never heard of it, well he's barely thirteen...

Supposedly somewhere in the Bible it is said that if someone hurts you, you must return in the same manner. I explained to Tom that this strategy has left many people dead and suffering throughout history.
 As Mahatma Ghandi put it: " An eye for an eye keeps the whole world blind"

I said, " Just because he said awful things to you, doesn't mean that you have to stoop down to his level. After all, why do people do things like that? He must have been bored, or wanting attention - and it's sad that he has to behave that way"

"So what could I do?" 
" Just walk away..."

I could see that he was beginning to get it and I left the matter. It leaves me wondering where he got the notion that he has to "get back at him?"

On the eve of the Jewish New Year I pray that all human beings and animals will live in Peace on this planet, and find different strategies to fill their needs.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Empathy - why didn't I think of it first?

Hands Offer by Elizabeth Bunsen (with permission)

Two sentences of Empathy make a difference

My daughter was upset. She was about to go to an amusement park with friends, as part of the annual beginning of the school year treat. Suddenly she realized that I'm not joining..
"What?" she exclaimed - " I need you! I need a parent!"
I said  "Yasmin! Why? You're almost thirteen and you are going with people you know and it's a closed event- what's the problem?"
"But I need you!"
"I don't think any other parents are coming and what will I do there for so many hours? None of the other kids are dragging their parents along..."
"Well I'm not the other kids!" ( I love when she says that- so true)

Tones started rising high...
"I need you Mama!"
" I didn't get a ticket because I was sure you wouldn't want me there!"
"What if something happens ?!"

And so on and so forth for a few moments. I'm at a loss and frantically begin thinking of solutions...

And then I remembered Empathy. After all, I'm teaching it...

I said: " You just really want to feel safe, don't you?"
"I guess..."
"And you'd feel much more assured if I was there"

And that was all I said.

A few minutes later
" Mom, that's OK, you don't need to come, I'll be fine."

So simple- why didn't I think of it first?

Not as a way to get things "over with" or manipulate a situation
Just a simple offering of understanding...