Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Last night, I dreamed that my mouth was full of shit. Yes, literal shit. The last song I heard on my way to work this morning was “Jive Talking.”

It doesn’t take Freud to see that I need to address some “issues” before they knock me over.

At “Jive Talking”, I began to laugh. Hard. I mean, when the cosmos sends you two connectable messages within hours of one another - like giant blinking neon signs – all you can do is laugh. Or cry. And I am not in a place to cry as of this moment.

I have not been happy at work. I have been dealing with some very difficult people. I suppose I should not label them as universally difficult, but I find them extremely hard to cope with day in and day out. This has left me exhausted and angry at the end of every day. Seeing as I have walked this path before (and it led me to Crazy Town – Capital C and Capital T), I would prefer not to walk it again.

I believe that the answer will come if you listen for it. That has been my life experience. I can not force things to happen. When I have tried, they go woefully wrong. One of my hardest lessons is patience…and trust. Of course, those are easy things to write down. I must be patient. I must be trusting. Practicing these traits can be near unto impossible for me.

On Saturday I read an intriguing article in Yoga Journal. Entitled “Take Heart. Difficult People are your Best Teachers”, it caught my eye for the very timeliness of the message. A message I had been avoiding at all costs. I snuggled into the couch and read. I read what I know. The people who irritate me most tend to be exhibiting a trait(s) that I dislike in myself. I dislike what I identify with. I reject the whole of my experience to focus on the traits I like – and ignore or despise those I dislike. This is not living in balance.

In order to live in balance, I need to find a way to invite these people into my heart – Open my heart to their experience, as the Dalai Lama would say. The article offered a meditation on this for practice. The writer talked about her experience with this meditation and the effects that it had on her relationship with her difficult people. This made sense to my logical head. I needed, desperately, to find a way to regain the balance in my work life.

What I hadn’t bargained for was the stubbornness of my heart.

In the active imagination meditation, you image yourself climbing down a ladder into your heart. You imagine yourself interacting with the person you find difficult and looking for ways to welcome that person into this sacred space. Because you are choosing to let this person into your heart, you can see them – hopefully- without the negative energy that you are accustomed to viewing them through.

I can not lie to you. When I climbed down my ladder on Saturday– there was nothing. Not a table, not a chair. Nothing. A big empty space. The person I imagined looked a little lost and disconcerted standing in the cavernous space. I had a very difficult time focusing on her face and finding words to say. Finally, I imagined myself saying “I want to try to get to know you “ and then running back up the ladder, having forced my attention to this space for as long as it could bear.

On Sunday, the meditation went much the same. Nothing in the space. I tried to bring in tables, or flowers or even light, but nothing. Walk down the ladder – shout out “I want to get to know you” and then run back up the ladder.

On Monday morning, I woke a little early and began the meditation again. I got down the ladder. There as a table this time. Two chairs, but nothing else. I sat. I focused on the persons face and said, “I want to get to know you” and imagined myself smiling. A real smile. An authentic smile. Then ran back up the ladder.

I was determined to be conscious of my energy when I walked by this persons desk. She greeted me with a hearty “Good morning, Dawn!” – and then complimented my handwriting on some document. Normally, I would ignore this person and get to my desk as quickly as possible. Instead, I choked out a “Thank you,” then got to my desk. Holy shit. The author was right. The energy HAD changed.

I got mad. I didn’t WANT to do this work. It was too hard. I don’t want to be open to others. Screw her and her incompetence, screw Buddha, and screw my mental health. I flip you off world. Both middle fingers raised in Salute!

Last night, I dreamed that I had a mouth full of my own shit. This morning, I went back down the ladder into my heart. I’ve got some sprucing up to do.

18 Baleful Regards:

Table4Five said...

I am a big believer in listening to your dreams. Last night I dreamed something that tells me it is time for me to accept that I am a grownup and stop living in the past. But I didn't hear a corresponding song on the radio.

I am fascinated by your story of your meditation practice. I have done some guided imagery relaxation and I know how hard it is to picture things in your mind. This other woman at work will never know the lengths you went to to try and reach out to her.

tracey clark said...

Yes, what you say is so true. Difficult people CAN BE our best teachers, as can tough situations, trials, heartbreaks, stresses, and all that. SO I am beginning to embrace that my very challenging child can reeeeally drive some life-lessons home. I've complained that she has kicked my ass on a regular basis since I birthed her and my mom always comes back with, "she's here to teach you all the things you haven't learned yet." As much as I hate to admit it, she's right. The trick is being open enough to learn from these less than desirable teaching moments. Not easy. Not easy at all. So, I applaud you in your efforts. I'll betcha it'll be worth all the work. And that ain't no jive talkin'.

Anonymous said...

That is a classic dream.

And I loved your post. The yoga medi stuff, I can barely hack.

A can o beer and an instyle? that's what speaks to me these days.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I actually one difficult person in my life (at work) who is causing my ulcer to act up again after years of dormancy.

I might have to give this meditation stuff a try. Or I might just poke her with a stick. We'll see how it goes.

Anonymous said...

I always have strange and symbolic dreams, but never have any luck trying to figure out what they represent or how to tackle the issues. It's like they have to be unbearably huge and pressing before I can even face them. I admire your courage and ability to try new approaches when tackling difficult things. Let us know how the meditation is working again, if you are up to it.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy can I relate. I know that the things I dislike in others are the things I hate about myself. This comes up for me every time my sister and I visit and I always always feel like I am handling it all wrong. Turning away from it when I should be embracing the feeling.
This is a tough one Dawn. I think it's amazing that you are doing this work for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Can you please come over and teach me how to meditate? I can't find my ladder! Someone took my ladder!

Lisa said...

You know I have learned so much from you. Thanks for posting about this sort of stuff. You make me think. I like that.

Anonymous said...

I had a recurring dream for years that my mouth was full of small gritty pebbles. I would spend the whole dream trying to spit the mess out. I absolutely hated it. Now I'm really glad that this was my dream - I'll take grit over crap any day.

One of my friends told me I probably had something on my mind I needed to talk about and should just say it already. Not sure if that would translate for your situation.

Bobita said...



I have this same person in my life! For THREE years I have been trying to meditate her into helping me rather than DRIVING ME INSANE!!! And, you may be happy to know...just two months ago...I WAS ABLE TO ACCEPT HER AS MY TEACHER!!

I use Buddhist meditation with a little bit different imagery...but it has taken me forever....and I know I'm still on the path...I'm all about givin' the "two fingered" salute to the Universe! Sometimes learning from the "shadow" side of the most irritating lesson to learn!!!!

I have a very good friend who often says to the Universe, "just this once...can it be about THEM and not about ME?"

I love that! And have often said it myself! "Just this once...can't my irritation/frustration/hardship be about the other person? Why do I... HAVE TO BE THE ONE TO LEARN THE LESSON?!?!?!?!?"

Catherine said...

Someone once told me that festering hatred is kinda like wishing that the object of your hatred would just die a painful, miserable death, all the while drinking the poison for them... or something like that. (I'm probably screwing it up in my delivery) Anyway, it sounds to me like you're doing it right by getting rid of the poison altogether.

I'm not there yet... although you inspire me to get off my lazy ass and try!

consise10 said...

Interesting post. Thankyou for expressing it. Not sure about the dreams interpretation, a mouth full of shit could mean a whole host of things. I hope your work situation improves and you are able to practise patience and trust ever so slowly into your life and being. I do have an issue with 'trust' myself but thats another story.

Cindylou said...

In college I used to play Radio Roulette. I would take some problem that needed solving and turn on the radio and whatever song was playing was the solution. Often times I woul dfind a very suitable solution in the lyrics. Right up to the day when JI couldn't decide about a very nice boy I had a met versus my at home long term boyfriend.
IF you can't be with the one you love
Love the one you're with...

Good luck Dawn, and I like to think I have been down the ladder to your heart, and found it quite cozy, with drinks, and laughter, fun and friendship.

mamatulip said...

I too believe that your dreams tell you things, important things. I think it's really interesting that all of these things -- your dream, reading that article, the difficult person at work -- all kind of bumped into each other at once. Good for you for going down the ladder...and for wanting to go down again and again.

Sugarmama said...

That is some dream for sure! Clearly, your subconscious is sending you a message here. Good for you to be doing this meditation to help with the difficult people in your life. I have to confess that at first I was doubtful when I first began reading about it, but the more I read, the more it seemed like something I should try in dealing with my Ex and his parents. I'll have to think some more on it...

Hope it works for you.

Anonymous said...

I have heard of meditation doing wonderful things for people. I've tried it, to no avail.

I even tried joining an official 'meditation' group, but while everyone else was being enlightened, I just couldn't stop making grocery lists in my head.

Mommygoth said...

I'm glad this is working for you. It sounds like you've got a pretty clear understanding of what your issues are, and that's the biggest part of the battle. I think I need to do this with my 'control' problem.

Anonymous said...

First I'll comment then I'll read everyone elses, sorry if my comment is repetitive.

I think the analagy of the ladder is a very clear one. I can relate totally to that. I think it is awesome that you went back down there after being at first confronted with an empty room. That isn't easy.

Like the article, I believe the difficult people have something to teach you, and like yourself I resist that plenty. Recently a "difficult person" from my workplace was fired and I was ecstacic that I will no longer have to deal with her. I hope Karma doesn't bite me in the ass by sending me a coworker that has even MORE lessons to teach me.

Anyway, I wish you luck with your lessons, and kudos to you for noticing the shift in energy instead of repressing it.

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