Running into Not You

by Leslie Sann

“We learn about who we are by running into who we are not.”
 Leslie Sann

I am on a plane traveling for holiday. I am disturbed by something I did at the airport. I cut in line. I decided I didn’t have to wait like everyone else and I just moved into the line from where I was standing at the kiosk.

I’m sure I’m not the only one and that is not the point. The point is I’m bothered by it. Some of it is self-judgment. I shouldn’t have done that yells the Should Monster.

I forgive myself for judging myself and move into a place of compassion for the part of me that grew up in New York. Getting ahead was part of the drill. Playing chicken with the taxi cab driver in Manhattan as I crossed at the red light. That sort of thing.

And that was then and this is now. I mostly don’t do that anymore. I am way more chill and living in flow.

So what is the irritation within me?

The disturbance is recognizing I behaved in a way that doesn’t represent who I truly am. I am kind, patient and trusting that life is for me. When I am sourcing from that in me, long lines are just the next thing to participate in.

Today I didn’t do that. I violated my own standards.

When I’m not living in what is true for me, as seen from this incident, I attempt to manipulate outcomes to serve my mind’s creation. Hurry up says the Worry Monster.You’ll be late for your plane.

Absurd, as I was at the airport early and could have been in line for a half hour and still arrived way before boarding.

I could point out the fact that I had arisen at 4am to be ready for my 5:15am pick up, thus just a bit weary and not at my best. And that may indeed be a factor, but not an excuse. What happened happened and I am responsible for my behavior.

Some adversities in life show up Out There, and most are self-created disturbances. I allowed the (fabricated) concern about time push my behavior instead of relaxing into the moment and discovering what was truly needed to take care of me.

Not long ago I was working with a client who was revealing she had been flirting with a man. No big deal, except that she was in a long-term relationship with someone, someone not this man.

She was disturbed by her behavior.

We took time to explore what motivated her choices. What she uncovered was a boredom in her committed relationship which was covering up a fear of moving towards marriage. As she kept looking she recognized her desire for fun was a good thing. She also saw ways she could take responsibility for creating more zest with her boyfriend.

Sometimes we discover who we truly are by running into who we are not. My client is not a flirt. I am not an entitled brat. Yet we all have moments of behaving in ways that misrepresent who we truly are. We discover we are off course when we are upset with ourselves.

The feeling of upset is called guilt. Not the brand of guilt fostered by the Should Monster who would design your life so you felt guilt for breathing in when the Should Monster was saying you should have been breathing out.

That kind of guilt is easily dissipated by changing the word ‘should’ to ‘could’. A great first step in quieting the mind so we can look more carefully at what is going on.

My client could have gone home early rather than play with a stranger. She did not.

So what? Now what?

My client chose gratitude for not doing more than flirt and took her behavior as a wake up call to attend more to the man she loves and the gift of their relationship.

I could have gotten to the end of the line. I did not.

So what? Now what?

I get to recognize there is a lesson for me as well. For me, I am perpetually enrolled in the classroom called Relax and Lead from Patience. Today I walked into a pop quiz and I didn’t do very well. I’m sure I will have more opportunities to demonstrate competence.

Life is like that.

Love and Blessings,