I started today in a full-blown argument at 6am. Despite escalating and then recovering in less than a half hour, not a good start to the day.
I’ve been trying to be good at loving my neighbor as myself. Not literally, because both of my actually neighbors are “snow-birds” and have not yet landed after their summer vacations. This does include my office neighbor, though. Our cubicles are connected by a 3 foot wall, and sometimes it feels like he’s constantly looking over my shoulder and talking down to me. Yesterday I said something sarcastic (my go-to gut reaction when I feel threatened) and he said something joking, that I found to be tacky and mean. I did rant and rave for a little bit, but then I took a walk, and came back and offered him a gift–a t-shirt I got for (trying) to donate blood.
I’m not the best at calling people, but this week I’ve been really making sure to write notes of affection, and call up/answer the phone for the people I miss. I’ve also made new friends this week by opening my doors (literally and mentally). Brent, a 23-year-old guy who quit his job and decided to travel by bike for a year, stayed at my house Friday night through Couch-surfers. Then, people came over to the house on Saturday for a friend’s birthday to go out on the boat. I had so much fun doing that, I invited Logan’s work friend and his girlfriend over for dinner “anytime”. Logan decided that we should redeem that offer on Tuesday, so we cooked up some fajitas (she’s gluten-free too). What was great about inviting these people into my home, was really listening to everyone’s stories and jokes. It’s a lot easier to appreciate people and stay in the moment when you’re not always trying to put in your 2 cents.
Charity. I tried giving blood, but after sticking me repeatedly in both arms, the two very large men declared me “too much of a dainty flower”. They sent me on my way with a t-shirt, some apple juice and a “better luck next time”. I was trying to figure out what I’d like to be a part of. I’ve been trying to get involved in an “anti-bullying” charity, but no one will respond to my emails/call. Then I thought about it, and decided Big Brothers Big Sisters might be the place for me. I have my “very thorough” meeting on Monday. They said they might have me going in to schools and reading/hanging out with kids, which would be cool. I’ll let you know if they like me.
Did anyone do anything for International Day of Peace yesterday? All over the world they had “flash mediation mobs”, including about 150 people in Austin, who then did a “sound bath” or the refraining of one word/chant. That would be pretty cool to have seen. You can check out more information about it here.
There’s a person in my office that I automatically developed a dislike for solely based on her over-use of emoticons and exclamation marks in her always “High Priority” emails. Recently she had completed a project that triggered one of the higher-ups to send out a company wide email giving recognition. This made someone else send out a company wide email thanking her too. Me and a co-worker discussed how sleazy it is to thank someone in such a public manner, instead of just giving her sincere praise individually. Especially since the second guy addressed the email to the CEO and the entire company, and only Cc’d the woman he was addressing. This sparked an idea. I wasn’t involved in the project, but I am trying to be gracious to others this week. I thought out an email with praise for the things I did truly appreciate her for, and sent it. I know that this post is doing the exact same sleazy thing I didn’t like, but I wanted to share her response (and planned to keep a lot more anonymity than I’m showing here) because it so shocked me so greatly what a few sentences can do:
I am humbled by your e-mail. Thank you for your kind words. All I can say is that I try. We all have a “bad hair day” every once in a while, I just try to see beyond that and hope that others do as well. So, THANK YOU, Erica from the bottom of my heard … and by-the-way, although you are the quiet type from what I gather, at least here at the office, it is so very nice to see you smiling, too.
The major element of stress in my life is the dichotomy between finding joy in planning things in my life meticulously, and the realization I can not control people to create my ideal scenarios. Since realizing this character flaw, I have spent years creating some tactics to manage events I’m looking forward to (and tend to over-hype in my head until no one can live up): I plan things like my outfit, because it’s something I can control; I act like the event is no big deal and don’t allow myself to think about it (but then I don’t get the high from planning); I try to be casual as I check in with most everyone involved to see what their expectations are so I can predict a plan. But if you’ve ever read the book The Hours–a personal favorite of mine–you know that picking out the perfect flowers doesn’t mean everyone is going to cooperate with your perfect party.
I’ve also been getting this “bad daughter/friend/sister” vibe since I’ve moved down to Florida. I really enjoy seeing the people I love when I come to MN, but there’s also this gross feeling I get when I realize that whenever I come to town I’m asking people to drop what their doing and abide by my schedule. I tell myself that I would do the same when they come to visit me (and I do try), but I visit MN far more frequently than my close friends are able to visit me. I am the type of person who will drop everything if you ask me to, but I’m not quick to realize you need me to.
With this in mind, I want to not be so controlling of situations, and instead be a supportive role in my friends, family and acquaintance’s lives.I’m going to try to be more selfless this next couple weeks. Here’s the plan:
- This blog aside, using the word “I” less, and using the word “you” more.
- Be supportive of other people. Most especially at my friend Angie’s wedding next weekend, but also by doing small things like asking if people need help around the office, giving blood, opening doors, etc.
- Remembering that everyone is doing their best, and they’re not doing it “wrong” if it differs from how I would do it. This includes not judging Logan on his unique schedule of work and play.
- Acknowledge others. This includes giving thanks to people who deserve appreciation, and asking what people think more (without rushing to tell my story or opinion).
- Go with the group. I wont try to control what plan the people around me want to do.
Carried over from other projects:
- Gluten-free diet.
- More fresh veggies and fruits.
- More hobbies and activities, less TV.
- Avoid things that insult my soul
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Maintain a positive attitude