11/29/09

step back and take notice!

2 of the guys that work in the kitchen r not getting along, so one has decided 2 leave, the one who has been @ the chow the longest. i tried intervention, sat them down and spoke 2 the both of them more then a few times. i know how difficult it is 4 most folks 2 directly communicate w one another when things become difficult. i know from my own experiences.

one of the reasons i decided 2 attend law skool was 2 become a criminal defense attorney, i wanted 2 face my fear of confrontation head on. when i was in law skool, i really enjoyed researching and writing appellate briefs. i loved being ensconced in the law library doing research 4 hours upon hours. there is this legal tool known as shepardizing that i just adored; it is the whittling down of a legal point til research discloses its most recent, valuable & pertinent interpretations. that was extremely satisfying 2 me. but i would be hidden deep in the caverns of the library, away from any human contact, and that wasnt best 4 my emotional growth. so it was criminal defense v. appellate research. oh how i wanted 2 do appellate research. i begged myself not 2 do criminal defense. "wasnt research the way 2 change more lives?" i asked myself. "yes, of course!"was the answer. "so please, do the research!" i insisted. but ultimately, no dice. it was the more difficult path i pushed myself down. fortunately i knew this, and could act upon it so that change would be possible. also, i had come from a family that believed in psycho-therapy, lots of it. and up 2 a point in my life, i was seeing a therapist 3 times a week. this 4 my family was a normal enterprise, my under-grad degree was in psychology, my mom and bro r psycho-therapists, many cousins r psychologists & psychiatrists, and everyone went 2 therapy. in my family, it was as natural as scratching ur head.

pulling ourselves 4ward 2 be where we need 2 be w life is a very, very hard task, especially if we dont have backgrounds that foster persistent mental digging in2 finding resolutions. i know most of us do not have that understanding, courage or luxury. so 4 me, here at the chow, when such problems arise needing resolution, i work 2 intervene. it rarely ever works out 4 long though bc anger is what we all seem 2 know best. 4 most of us 2 say what is on our minds and in our hearts immediately as we r feeling what we r feeling is almost impossible; we hide behind falsity, circuitous utterances meant 2 distract one another from confronting what we r really feeling. we hold on2 the anger 4 long periods of time, saying nothing, while resentment grows in2 hatefulness. we walk next 2 each other but feel worlds a part; holding unsettled scores and recriminations until violence erupts like steam needing 2 escape from a boiling kettle.

what 2 do? practice, practice, practice patience. when i was practicing law in nyc, and i often needed 2 wait 4 the subway 2 come 2 take me 2 the court-house, i remember feeling so dreadfully impatient: waiting, waiting, waiting, getting angry, and angrier. i would be boiling inside, like the steaming kettle. and i would utter things like, "where the f-ck is the f-ckin train?" "f-ck, f-ck, f-ck!" "it's so g-d dam hot in here!" and i'd stretch my head in2 the subway tunnel, like everyone else, looking 4 it 2 come. one day i heard g-d or some other being, certainly not me, calmly say: "yo guy, step back, it'll come when it comes and not one minute before." "who the f-ck r u?" i said. "f-ck u, shut up, go away!" i continued rubber necking my head in2 the subway tunnel. "step back," it said, "step back, take a look around u, there is so much u have never taken notice of while standing here. TAKE NOTICE!" it commanded. so i did. every day i would practice the voice's words of taking notice, until i no longer stood and peered in2 the subway tunnel, but stood back and observed the crevices, cracks, rats, lights, garbage, ceilings, tracks. soon i was taking pictures of what felt like another world, one i never even noticed while i was steeped in frustrated urgency. "whether it is 5 seconds, 5 minutes or 15 minutes, the train will come. it's u that needs 2 slow down." i now thought. "step back, u'll get there exactly when u r supposed 2 and not one minute b4." i would say. and the train just seemed 2 arrive. just like that, magically. ah, the calm!

well, it was and continues 2 be a hard lesson 2 learn, and it doesnt manifest itself w/i over-night. it takes great effort & persistence, but it works. i will never give up trying 2 bring others that orbit in my flow toward greater patience. i know that most of us wont get there, but some of us will, and that is everything. bc when we practice patience we automatically produce less violence in our being, and thus less violence concurrently dissipates 4 all life.

take notice my dear friends, step back and take notice.
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