Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Trying and Not Trying All At the Same Time

Think of "trying" both in the sense of attempting and in the sense of frustrating.  That's where I am today.

I have been making a conscious effort to be less... well, let's call it what it is-- bitchy at work.  I do like my job, and I choose to work here because of the people with whom I work.  That statement should in no way be construed to mean that I don't regularly want to pop various colleagues in the schnoz.  I do.

Today, when faced with three separate incidents in which people made me frustrated, I realized that I wanted to respond in a snarky way.

I'm not sure I can make this distinction clear, but bear with me.  I actively wanted to respond to colleagues in a way that is unprofessional, unpleasant, and produces negative energy.  Often I feel that I've responded to a situation in such a way as to create negative energy because I reacted instead of stopping to consider my response, but today I found myself feeling a little glee over complaining.

This is not whom I want to be.

So, in the words of Inigo Montoya, I go back to the beginning.
  1. In life, there is suffering.  Coworkers feel entitled.  People bring problems that should not be mine and dump them on my desk.  It is a fact.
  2. Suffering is caused by craving and desire.  My coworkers make me crazy because I want them to act in ways other than they are.  
  3. My suffering can end if I stop craving and desiring things to be other than they are. This doesn't mean that the situation changes.  It means that I choose to be in charge of how I respond.  I do not wish to be a negative person, and so I can choose not to be.  People have control only when I give it to them.  
  4. The way to stop craving and desiring things to be other than the way they are is to follow the Eightfold Path: right speech, right action, right thought, right livelihood, right effort, right awareness, right concentration, right understanding.

Each portion of the Eightfold Path is like a spoke on a wheel.  They all lead to the same center.  I just need to pick one and focus on it.  I choose right effort.  I am going to actively try to accept situations for what they are and respond in a kind manner.  It is better for me, better for my coworkers, and better for the universe.

I'm fairly sure this is going to be hard and I will fail at it.  It is a laudable goal, and perhaps by focusing some of my effort here, I will have less available effort to be snarky.

And, if I do fail, I've got the rest of this lifetime and lots more to keep working on it.

It's important to me that anyone reading this realizes that I suck at all this.  I don't want to come across as someone who knows what she's doing.  I don't.  I'm not a good Buddhist nor am I a good Christian.  In the words of Geri Larkin, my favorite Buddhist, I'm stumbling toward enlightenment.  We all are.  Maybe life is just a series of "trying again,"  trying again to be the person I want to be even though it seems that I fail nearly all of the time.  

And so I go back to the beginning.


  1. Definitely something in the air. I've been sent back to the beginning over and over this week. Remember the basics. Keep focused. Love. Forgive yourself and try again.

    Good Luck.

  2. It has been a stretch lately to not react to stupidity.

  3. I agree with Lynn. Must be in the air. Sending love and good vibes your way. Thanks for posting so I know I am not the only one struggling with this! I am going to keep stumbling, too, and not give up!