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Tag: serene

How to be serene in the face of great provocation

Witness

Do you have someone in your life who irritates the living hell out of you? Someone who totally knows how to push your buttons? Someone you can’t ban from your life, or get away from, like a coworker? Or a relative who’s going through an awkward stage? Someone whose whole life, perhaps, is an awkward stage?

Your secret is safe with me.

I devised this little exercise, based on the work of Eckhart Tolle, a few years ago when I was in desperate need of it myself. It really made a difference for me, and I hope it will for you too.

  1. Find a quiet place that’s conducive to meditation.
  2. Visualize yourself in water … at one with the water, in your element, completely comfortable. Feel yourself weightless and transparent.
  3. Now visualize the person who irritates the living hell out of you tossing something unpleasant at you. It can be whatever you like–rotten tomatoes, hand grenades, cow patties, what have you.
  4. At first, despite the fact that you are now weightless and transparent, you’ll probably flinch, or feel some resistance, or both. That’s OK. Try again. The idea is to allow the unpleasant thing to pass right through you, making no impact whatsoever, not harming you in any way.
  5. Continue until you can allow the rotten tomato or what have you to pass through you without feeling any resistance. Excellent!
  6. Now, when you are with the person who formerly irritated the living hell out of you, call upon your new practice. Allow their unpleasant words to pass right through, while you remain serene and non-reactive. You can now respond effectively (or not–your choice), unhampered by anger.
  7. Tell me it doesn’t feel fabulous.

This post is illustrated with the SoulCollage card I made tonight, Witness (one of the Transpersonal cards).

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How to handle a narcissist

narcissus1

You might assume that the way to come out on top is to focus relentlessly on your own agenda, desires, and needs–but that’s what narcissists do, and narcissists are not effective players in the game of life. Self-obsession will take you only so far. –Phillip McGraw

I don’t like to brag, but I consider myself somewhat uniquely qualified to address this topic, as I’ve been associating with narcissists since the very moment I was born. And for the past year or so, I’ve had one within a few feet of me at the office. I sincerely hope that you, dear reader, find yourself with less expertise on this particular topic.

First, how to identify the species? I was well into adulthood before I realized what was ‘off’ about one of my family members. It may be that you, too, are an expert, and don’t even know it!

  1. The narcissist is deeply engaged with what other people think.
  2. But the narcissist doesn’t care about much else. S/he may tell you that you care too much. (I sometimes wonder if a narcissist coined the term do-gooder, for those who, you know, care so much they actually try to do something about it.)
  3. It is all about the narcissist. Not about you … never about you.

Any questions? (No, it’s still not about you.)

I recommend the following strategies for dealing effectively with narcissists:

  1. Keep your distance. Need I say that a narcissist is never going to improve the quality of your life? So arm’s length is good, and much further away than that is ideal.
  2. The narcissist is likely to attempt to use and/or manipulate you, and will likely be frightened if these attempts fail, because the world isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. Your mission is to ensure that these finely-honed manipulation techniques do not work on you.
  3. To this end, let it be known that you are serene in the face of judgment and insult. Let it be known that you don’t much care what other people think. Let it be known that temper tantrums don’t affect you one way or the other. Let it be known that you do not accept double standards or unreasonable boundaries.
  4. Some experts say that the narcissist may have became one due to an emotional wound. So have compassion for the narcissist, as this cannot be a good way to live, and may in fact be a hell on earth … cut off from others, from caring about all that’s truly important in life, from knowing that we are all one, and that ultimately, love is all there is. Be grateful that you have dealt with your issues (I assume you received your share) more productively.
  5. Remind yourself how truly lucky you are to not be in the narcissist’s shoes, by engaging in one of the many activities unavailable to him or her. Reach out in love and kindness to someone else, expecting nothing in return. Look into the eyes of someone different from you and say to yourself, I am you, you are me. Hug or kiss someone and feel the love flowing between you.
  6. Realize you are truly blessed.
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