Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Point of View ..."

"It's a different point of view to you
You cannot see things that are different to me
And I can't understand why you cannot see
The things that I cannot see"

~ Blink 182 ~ Point of View ~

I really don't know where to start on this post ... it has been quite an interesting week so far.  And ahhhh yes I did go and get my ultrasound and blood/urine work done and ahhhh yes I did get the results.
So whats the verdict?  Well here is the scoop ....

So, just finishing up week 26 of the Gerson therapy, narrowing on I guess 6 months, there was some emphasis by my family doctors and other loved ones to get an ultrasound done ... to "really" see if the therapy is working ... Externally, I have been feeling really good, outside of nasty emotional days where I cry uncontrollably, and some pain and aches in the region of the cancer.  So early Monday morning before brekkie and my first coffee enema, I was in to see the Labs.  As per usual, my veins are small and hide so they prick the arms a few times, but I was still outta there and home within 30 minutes.  Then came the ultrasound a couple of hours later.  Oh and yes, side note, I did have a mini-meltdown on Sunday, anticipating the worst and having the fight or flight syndrome kicking in big time!  Like usual, Russell was so supportive and let me go through the motions, letting me know whatever we face, we face together and also letting me know that he was pret-ty sure that I wasn't going to expire on the ultrasound table so all should be okay.

So back to the ultrasound ... if any of you have been thru any sort of ultrasound, you are lying there will gel all over your breasts with this gadget that is run over them by technician.  This time, the technician was very inquisitive as to my history AND what treatment I was currently going thru.  She asked me three times, "so you didn't have surgery?"  ... with a squished up expression ... and I politely told her nope, nope, and nada.  Then she went thru the checklist of the risk factors and if I had any ... ie. family history, etc ... and nope, nope, and nada ... nothing to check off.

So finally the examination, she checked the right side - good news, all is clear and nothing to worry about (whew!).  She checked the lymph nodes on both sides - good news, all is clear and nothing to worry about (whew!) ... then she asked me to show her where the lump was and she started to exam the area.  And she kept going over and over the area.  Then she said "this is one of the hardest examinations I have done, I cannot tell where the boundaries/borders are to the lump so I am not sure if these measurements are even accurate".  I asked her to explain what she meant and then she started to show me the screen.  Now you have to understand, in ALL the ultrasounds I have had, never does the technician talk to me let alone show me what they see.  They do their job and then they leave the room.  Done.  But this time, my techie was eager to show me what dilemma she was having.  She left the room twice, once to check on the previous ultrasound (pre therapy back in Feb 2011) and another time to talk to the radiologist.  And then she said ... "you know, I am going to tell the doctor that my measurement are inaccurate, this was a difficult examination to do, and if I were you, I wouldn't put a lot of trust in these measurements because every tech is different and has a different point of view".  So there I am, lying there with all that gel on me wondering ... what is the point of all this then?  Are major decisions not BASED on these measurements?  Was not my treatment plan in February ~ partial mastectomy/double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation BASED on these measurements?  Are you kidding me?? ...

So today in the radiologist final report, he indicated that it was very difficult to provide measurements as due to undefined  boundaries, but he "suspects" that there is a very, slight increase in the one mass that was defined previously.  And right then and there we knew that the Gerson Therapy is working ... how can it not?  How can I go from two measurable discrete, defined masses and multiple lesions 7 months ago to one undefined difficult masses and some lesions hard to measure?  The Gerson doctors warned me that it was too early for an ultrasound.  They said that things could get better before they get worse.  They said that we are agitating the tumor, so wait for the therapy to kick in.  My family doctor was not concerned with this report, nor were we ... because under the above circumstances, you take it for what it is.  

The GOOD NEWS is my complete blood chemistry and urine analysis look great, the cancer continues to be localized, AND in the Gerson world, the inflammation in the region is an indication that the immune system has kicked in and fighting the tumour and lesions, the undefined boundaries indicate that the tumour is breaking down, and the tumour itself is softening up.

So today we thank everyone for the oceans of love, support and prayers we have received.  And we recognize all the baby steps to get to this moment ... getting thru a long, difficult, challenging and at times unbearable therapy.  We continue believing and knowing that my body is showing signs of healing AND we continue to set intentions that the very near future will bring a healthy, balanced and cancer free body.  Just wait and see!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

"What You Waiting For ..."

Naturally i'm worried if i do it alone 
Who really cares cuz it's your life 
You never know, it could be great 
Take a chance cuz you might grow
What you waiting,What you waiting for!? "

~ Gwen Stefani ~ What You Waiting For ~

Over the last week, it's been full of visits and visits ....Mainly impromptu, I've had a chance to have some nice visits with friends *sigh* a HeartFULL week!  They really brighten up my days.  It's funny since I usually get settled in and look like I could be a "carnie" as my "costume" for the day ... extreeeeeemely comfortable. ... Not much matches in my clothing selection and I end up toodling around the house, napping, blogging and reading.  I guess I am still conscious of my look ... the grey hairs coming in fast and furious, no makeup, no hair products ... just simple, plain moi.  But these friends really don't give a damn about all that ... they just make a point to drop by and just be with me.  Especially when I shy away from being in public.  And this weekI noticed a message within our conversations ... and the message was loud and clear ... What You Waiting For?

Besides asking my friends these questions when they were looking for some direction, I started to ask myself too ... What Am I Waiting For? When is the time just right?  What Am I Putting Off till Later? ... Now by no means am I suggesting that you go for it all the time, forget any consequences and risk it all ... unless YOU want to.  I guess for me, there a few things I want to do.  I am limited by the Gerson Therapy as you know, but there are some things that I can do so what haven't I?  Coincidently, after watching a great movie this week, "Limitless" with Bradley Cooper, I realized that what's holding me back is maybe ... the fear of success?  or is it the fear of failure?  and are they one in the same ... I am starting to think they are.

Your see, most of us are often happy to travel the middle of the road, making conservative choices that allow us to get by without making waves.  This way we take less risks and have an even lesser chance of failure.  Success and failure can share the same symptoms in certain situations ... anxiety ... which is be crippling and leading the sufferer to take fewer risks and make only safe choices.  I guess for me I am learning that NOW is the time to move beyond limits ... the limits I have put on myself.  In the past I have had nicely organized boxes of preplanned excuses that I can access.  

I am learning that we need to give ourselves the PERMISSION to abolish these imaginary ceilings as the limits of our imaginations are only boundaries.  NOW is the time to take a closer look at all of the reasons to why not take action ... find out what is right for you, what is important to you and what you are waiting for?  I realize that if I am truly passionate, naturally motivated or purely driven about something that is MORE than enough to go for it.  

"What all of these limits really come down to is the difference between surviving and living.  Going through the motions instead of moving through life deliberately."

Monday, August 22, 2011

" Circle of Life ... "

"Some of us fall by the wayside
And some of us soar to the stars 
And some of us sail through our troubles
And some have to live with the scars
In the circle of life
It's the wheel of fortune
It's the leap of faith
It's the band of hope
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle, the circle of life"
~ Elton John ~ Circle of Life ~

Well I guess it's been almost one full week since we last connected on this blog.  And in the last week, a great deal has transpired.  We have been sending healing prayers to Paul and his family whom I wrote about last week.  And they are working.  Paul has been inspired by the love and energy he is receiving and is fighting back.  Truly a miracle is happening in front of our very own eyes and we are more than thrilled to witness this amazing time.  We continue to send powerful healing prayers, blessings and energy knowing in our hearts He is listening and answering.

As well this week, there has been an emotional roller coaster ride of events happen .... Besides Paul's gentle recovery as mentioned, we had a good friend of ours, Karen, become a first time Grandma to baby Sienna.  We had another couple friend of ours planning their wedding festivities, and then we just found out that another friend of ours whom we were blessed to meet in Tijuana passed away.  Yes, an emotional ride is an understatement.  What is has done is drain my energy ... I have not been this exhausted in a very long time.  Probably because of the opposing emotions ~ sorrow and joy, pain and comfort, suffering and compassion, and weakness and strength.  All the things I wrote about last week.  We were hoping that there would just be illumination for a while, with darkness leaving us.  Only brightness and sunny days ahead ... But the reality is that this is truly the circle of life: birth and death. 

There are miracles that do happen as well.  I firmly believe our time is up with He needs us.  I use to believe that our destiny is written ... but what I do feel now is that we can negotiate ... ask for more time, be given another chance.  And, if He can do without for a while, then well, we re-write that destiny.  How that is decided, is unknown and some may read this and think .... ah, o-kay, surrrrrrrrre or what-ever.  And hey to each their own.  But for me, this is how I make sense of all this.  

It is an emotional time, a trying time, a real test.  I write a fair bit about personal journey, following our own path, believing we heal individually ... but I have not written about miracles.  And truly living and breathing human beings are miracles.  Miracles are when your friend is close to walking thru heavens doors and instead is inspired to fight, negotiate and re-write his destiny.  Miracles are when a precious baby is born out of love and shares her happiness with just her presence on our Earth.  Miracles are when a friend passes on, leaving an impact on her family and friends much further than she may have realized when she was alive.  Miracles are when two people find true love.  Miracles are the circle of life.  

As obvious as it may seem for some, there are times when things just click, make sense and you have an A-HA! moment.  This week, there has been many of them.  Life just carries on, and it must carry on.  You see, we can mourn and celebrate in the same moment.  And really, life presents those moments to us in those ways for a reason.  What that reason is ... well, still working on that.  But I know in my heart, there are blessings around every corner, in every place ... in every BODY.  

And maybe this circle of life is also a circle of healing ... an opportunity for growth ... and opportunity to create the world we wish to live in versus fight the world we are currently in.  This is what I choose to take from this last week ... emotionally charged but as I sit here on Sunday night blogging my thoughts, I have a sense of peace, solace and a tad bit more understanding of the concept of the circle of life.

"There is a well of infinity hidden within each Soul. 
There you will find an incredible energy source, 
beyond your broadest understanding. 
It is Light and Healing. The Force of Nature. The essence of Love"

Monday, August 15, 2011

"Friends ..."

"Keep smilin', Keep shinin'
Knowin' you can always count on me, for sure
that's what friends are for
In good times, And bad times
I'll be on your side forever more
That's what friends are for"

~ Stevie Wonder ~ That's What Friends are For ~

Today I write with a heavy heart ...  a hurting heart.  Our beloved friend Paul is fighting for his life at the moment.  His beautiful wife Jacki, his angel, right by his side, feeling every single moment of this battle.  And we are on the other side of the world, wishing we could reach out across the ocean.  Russell and I are heartbroken.  We cannot even put into words the feelings we are experiencing right now.  I hesitated to write because I didn't know how to put down all my emotions through my constant tears.  Feeling helpless and profound sadness.

We met Paul and Jacki at the Gerson Clinic in Tijuana in March of this year.  It was a time when we had no clue what to expect and were quite vulnerable.  I remember the first day after the doctors consultation and settling into our room, we headed down to the main dining hall.  I had a fake smile on my face after a good cry in our room, constantly thinking what I am doing here?  As we sat down at the table Jacki and Paul walked in and there was literally this beam of light that surrounded them.  And, instantly there was an attraction and a warmth about them.  You know when you meet someone for the first time, but feel you have known them all your life????  Instant connection ♥ That night they shared their story of Paul's battle with cancer and I started to open up and share mine.  I was a newbie at all this "you have cancer" diagnosis ... I was looking for some armour, some protection, some way to deal with my diagnosis ... I couldn't even say I had cancer ...and Paul, who is battling a reoccurrence, had a lightness about him, a sense of calmness and assurance that he was going to beat this, no problem Mate!

I was in awe and that night, inspired by Paul and knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I thanked Him for the opportunity to be at this place at this time.

Our stay at the clinic was 3 weeks, and although we were all there for treating cancer, it was a special time for us.  A loving time.  Our days were eventful, actually enjoyable with something planned between treatments.  We had it all figured out as to when we could leave the clinic and still ensure we were on our therapy schedules.  You see, Paul has an itchy foot, just like Russell, so walking to the beach was usually on the agenda.  Hmmmm maybe something to do with being from the South Pacific??  Well, along with trips to the crazy downtown marketplace, drives down the coastline, Starbuck runs for the caregivers, jamming at the beachfront cafes, sharing funny stories at meal times, celebrating Jacki's birthday, practicing yoga, consoling each other when the range of emotions were stirred up .... and really just having moments when we needed to express ourselves ... because all fears, doubts, and frustrations were welcomed with open arms. We called it the Gerson bubble ... a safe haven for us to just BE.

Russ and I know, our experience in Tijuana would have been vastly different if we had not met our beloved Aussies.

One of the greatest blessings of being diagnosed with cancer is where this journey has taken us thus far ... we were destined to meet Jacki and Paul ~ all had to be spiritually aligned so that we would be at the clinic at the same time. And it has been an amazing blessing.  Every day I thank God for all in my life, all my blessings, family and friends and I ask for healing prayers to help my fellow friends rid this horrid disease from our bodies.  You see when we parted ways, the deal is that once we are able, Jacki and Paul will visit Canada and the boys will ski their hearts out ... in turn, we will visit the Gold Coast and there are a few pending surfing lessons by Paul.  And we know Paul is a man of his word.

So I am once again at the mercy of God.  And I know that I have been asking for a great deal these days.  And I apologize if it is too much, but I ask our Heavenly Creator to bless this time when Paul needs the strength, courage, and will to fight.  I ask Him to show love and solace to Jacki, their families and friends.  I ask Him for His Miraculous Healing to turn weakness into strength, suffering into compassion, sorrow into joy and pain into comfort.  God, I don't always understand Your ways and why our friend has to suffer, but I trust You and ask You look with mercy and grace toward Paul.  By nourishing his spirit and soul, please restore Paul to full health and remove all fear and doubt from his heart 

Sunday, August 14, 2011


The GIFT OF FORGIVENESS is two fold ...

1. You free yourself & your creative energy to create the life of your dreams. 

2. You turn what you thought was a sad ending into the midpoint of a story with a happy ending. 

~ Mastin Kipp

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Ego ..."

"It's too big 
It's too wide
It's too strong
It won't fit
It's too much
It's too tough 

Such a huge ego"
~ Beyonce ~ Ego ~ 

Development of a healthy ego starts from understanding emotions and dealing with them effectively because it is hard to maintain your confidence when you feel as though your emotions are getting the better of you.  So how we manage those emotions can make a critical difference physically and mentally on your well-being.  The emotions themselves are neutral ... it's the way we perceive them in their proper context so necessary information can be understood.  We understand what can be done to make a situation better because even lower energy emotions can promote healing.

It takes self-confidence to blaze your own path and assume all the risks and responsibility that comes with going it alone as mentioned in my last blog.  A healthy ego is an advantage when dealing with challenges both in the business and personal world.  But there is a fine line, or a delicate balance if tipped leading to too much ego which can then become a bit of a liability.  It is important to put yourself first, but at the expense of others?  We can debate on whether in the long run this would limit everyone's growth, even your own.

Along those lines, can someone else ego perhaps even narcissism stunt your emotional growth?  How is it possible that someone else fascination with themselves have such a profound effect on you?  Well, it is just not possible.  The reality is that maybe what you see in others as egotistical or narcissism is really your own feelings of inadequacy.  Maybe you are uncomfortable with someone else success because it is a reminder to you that you haven't reached that level yet of satisfaction.  Maybe, you are projecting these feelings instead of dealing with them head on.

Understanding that the ego is part of us that identifies with our body and the personality of ourself.  When the ego criticizes other people, the ego feels an equal measure of guilt when the roles are reversed.  To avoid feelings of inadequacy, we should not seek to just avoid doing the wrong thing, we should also seek to go beyond our ego ... this will enable us to detach from feelings of pride and humiliation.  This will help us to enjoy life, stop living up to the high expectations of the ego.

"If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego
and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the
need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge.
Those are the three things the ego is doing all the time."
 ~ Deepak Chopra

Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Soar ..."

"Now in life there's gonna be times 
When you're feeling low
And in your mind insecurity seems to take control
We start to look outside ourselves
For acceptance and approval
We keep forgetting that the one thing we should know is
Don't be scared
To fly alone
Find a path that is your own
Love will open every door"

~ Christina Aguilera ~ Soar ~

Finding a path that is my own was not difficult for me, staying on my path, well ... that is another story.   After diagnosis, my treatment of choice was and currently is the Gerson Therapy.  And I have written many blogs related to the therapy, the day to day schedule, and other happenings involved with it.  Yet what I am finding are the struggles I have encompass the path itself ... 

Besides the differing thoughts, comments, statements, looks and judgement on choosing an "alternative" cancer treatment, even within all natural treatments, this exists.  I have been researching websites, journals and books related to many different ways to treat serious illnesses like cancer.  And what I am finding is that there seems to be something else that you "could" do to help you heal.  Just one more thing, another add on.  Some of the patients on Gerson supplement the therapy with vitamin C in IV form, infrared saunas, blood ozone therapy, homeopath medications and the list goes on.  You start to question whether what you are doing is enough, is the therapy taking effect in your body, and could you do more.  I realized that I was started to feel overwhelmed because I let my mind take over.  I stopped listening to my body ... as I remember blogging about body talk ~ how our bodies are ALWAYS talking to us, telling us how it feels.  I was so consumed with what was potentially lacking in my treatment instead of focusing on how every body reacts uniquely and heals in its own way.  Where one treatment will work for you, it may not work for another.  You may no benefit to a what seems to be a complimentary treatment, whereas someone else may have a significant shift happen.  And in some cases, you may have a negative side effect, a flare up or a healing reaction and another following the same therapy, may have little to no change.  

Therefore trying to figure out what works and what does, or finding the "perfect" treatment for everyone is simply a waste of energy.  What we need to find is what resonates with us, our bodies and our soul ... and having no judgement on the choice we make ... Gerson resonates with me, my body loves the food it receives, it knows what to do with it, and although I am fighting to rid the cancer in my body, knock on wood, I feel good and healthier than I have in a very long time.  And yes, diagnostic tests are scheduled at the end of the month to see how the tumours are responding.  What I do know is that in the last week or so there has been a major shift in my healing.  I have had some major assistance from a dear friend to assist in this process.  I feel my body now knows that it is time for the cancer to leave and it is dying.  What I feel is the tumours are shrinking and ... the full Gerson Therapy as prescribed by Dr. Max Gerson 70 years ago is working.  

So I dare to be different and therefore .... life my life in my own way.  Following my heart rather than the crowd gives me much more of a chance to find happiness and fulfillment.  Yes, this takes courage.  And yes, we ALL have this courage.  It can be really scary to be different, not being accepted by those around you and to stand out rather than blend in.  But the truth is ... we are ALL different and therefore there is NO ONE treatment or pill that FITS ALL ... especially when it comes to cancer.  By the virtue of being alive, we are unique and special ... and a beautiful reminder that this is the miracle of being human.  

Just for today, I'm going to pretend that I believe that I am enough. 
Tomorrow, I am pretty sure I will believe it. I did yesterday ♥

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Technologic ..."

"Write it, cut it, paste it, save it,
Load it, check it, quick - rewrite it,
Plug it, play it, burn it, rip it,
Drag and drop it, zip - unzip it,
Surf it, scroll it, pose it, click it,
Cross it, crack it, twitch - update it,
Name it, rate it, tune it, print it,
Scan it, send it, fax - rename it,

Technologic, Technologic"
~ Daft Punk ~ Technologic

I decided to take a break from technology the last few days.  Well as much as possible.  Still randomly checking emails and facebook, but not having my laptop on all the time waiting for a "ping" or a notification "you have mail".  And I realized it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.  I was starting to get a bit put off by always being connecting ... waiting, wondering and replying.  But since my therapy is so intense, my contact to the outside world really is via phone or web, especially out of town family and friends.  Yet, if someone wants to really get a hold of you, speak to you and hear you voice ... they will just do it the old fashion way ... see you in person.  And if you read my last blog, I was pretty much solo over the weekend with Russell away at Shambhala.  Besides a wonderful visit (Thanks Sofia), a wonderful phone message (thanks Anita!), attempts to get together (thanks Monica!), and a great healing session (Thanks Jolene!) ... I had a chance to just keep myself company doing other things rather than plugging in.  So I turned down the phone and computer and ... I tended to our garden, went for walks, read, meditated, yoga and slept.  
There were times I felt a bit alone, but I had a chance to be still and find a place of serenity.  

One thing I did realize is that one of our popular social mediums, Facebook, has stirred up some negativity and agitation within me.  Really because I get a chance to see what others are doing and what I am restricted to not do.  And it's not a childish way of thinking as right now, it's a fact of life for me.  And really, Facebook is voyeurism at its best.  Hmmmmmmm let's see, do you have any friends that insist on updating you on every minute detail, perhaps over exposing themselves ... only to have their fan club entourage bless their behaviour?  I could go an entire day surfing aka snooping on profiles of my "Friends" and see how has how many likes ... like OMG or LMFAO .... I guess for me it was just too much, I got my fill and needed that "Technologic" break from being a web "junkie" ... a simple timeout!

So obviously now I am plugging back in ... but deciding to keep things in check and not overexpose myself to the technology around me.  I feel revived, refreshed and have a bit of different perspective on re-connecting.  Oh, and on a side note, I want to thank the everyone for the beautiful feedback I receive when I blog.  Your kind words, encouragement, love and support have touched my heart.  And I am moved by how positively my blogs have effected you.  So no worries, I am still alive (whoops, sorry I guess not that funny?!) ... just took a web break, but am back and better!  
And, there are a few things I read to help me with this going forward ...

  1.  Knowing exactly what I want to do online ... Blogging, Emailing, Researching Products, etc
  2.  Disconnecting when I am done what I wanted to do
  3.  Get away from my laptop and change my environment

Three simple steps that make a difference.  I realized that excessive connectivity can create a false urgency where I needed to know what's happening all the time.  Surfing the net can be fun, but it can also lead you into a black hole and waste numerous precious hours you could spend on something far more important ... YOU!

Friday, August 5, 2011

"We Like To Party ... "

"I've got somethin' to tell ya, 
I've got news for you,
gonna put some wheels in motion,
get ready cause we're comin' through.
Hey now Hey now Hear what I say now
Happiness is just around the corner
Hey now Hey now Hear what I say now
we'll be there for you ..."

~ Vengaboys ~ We Like To Party ~

This year for Russell's birthday I bought him tickets for Shambhala Music Festival.  For those of you that don't know what it is about, Shambhala is a celebration of music, art and life.  It is an annual electronic music festival held during the first week of August at the Salmo River Ranch in the West Kootenay mountains of British Columbia. The festival lasts four days and three nights and offers a mix of music and art in the middle of nature.  It is an amazing event!

So after a bit of planning, Russ and brother Tim head out on the road early this morning.  With encouragement to have a wonderful time, and even though I bought the tickets, deep down I wish I had not.  Yeah a little odd no?  Well, being selfish, I wish I was heading down the highway with them to one of the biggest events in Canada.  Shambhala has been going on for over 10 years, its a community and it is one big dance floor ... and those that know me ... I LOVE to dance.  So I am a bit jealous, and a bit sad ... but I know that it's a great gift for Russ.  He has been eye~ing this event for some time.  He even thought about volunteering when we got back from the clinic and I wasn't too keen on the idea.  Mainly because he would be gone for a week or so.  Yes, selfish I am, but not knowing what physical or emotional state I would be in, I didn't want to be alone.  Now, closing in on 6 months of therapy, I am able, god willing, to make meals and prepare juices, and take medications.  

And although I have family and friends offering to stay over, get groceries, make meals, do whatever I need or what (they are amazing aren't they?) ... and I thought that this would be a nice break for Russ ... the truth is I just miss him.  I miss his presence, his laughs, his silly jokes, his smile, his music, his voice ... *sigh* yeah I know suck it up, its only for the weekend ... but I think you realize once someone is away how much you really miss them.  We spend a lot of time together and yes we do have disagreements and no we don't spend EVERY moment together ... but when you know that they are there, maybe in the other room, but there if you want is a beautiful thing.  I am so blessed to have so much love in my life.  I am so blessed to have Russ in my life ... counting down the moments when he gets home ;)

So this weekend, as I go through my usual therapy schedule ~ 16 hours a day, 7 days a week ... I will be at the festival in spirit.  I know they are going to have an amazing time, full of stories, ideas and experience.  And as I drink my carrot juice, take my meds, eat my vegan meals and complete my coffee treatments ... my soul will be dancing with my love seven hours on the dancefloor ... 

"We Like to Party, We Like, We Like to Party, 
We Like to Party, We Like, We Like to Party"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Compliments of TinyBuddha ...

"What Annoying Situations Teach Us About Ourselves"
by Noah Bruce
"He was shorter than me with a mustache, and he was positioning himself in front of me, but just off to the side of the line. He was traveling with a young teen, probably his son. I knew that when the line moved, he would take one assertive step and insert himself and his kid into the line ahead of me.
I sneaked a look at his boarding pass and it read B53. I was holding A51. It was my first time being in the A boarding group on Southwest, where your position in line is determined by when you check in online.
I checked in exactly 24 hours before the flight, specifically so I could be in the A group. I deserved this. This guy didn’t.
Not only was he butting, he wasn’t even an A. He was a B. He should have been sitting down waiting for his group to be called.
He smiled at me. Trying to make friends? Mocking me? He knew I had seen his boarding pass. His son fidgeted nervously with an iPod.
I was flying home to Oakland from Denver, and on the ride over something similar had happened. My number was B4, but there were at least seven people ahead of me. Three people were butting!
On that flight, it wasn’t clear who was a butter and who wasn’t, so I didn’t say anything. I ended up feeling taken advantage of.
Here was the choice again, and a lousy choice it was, say nothing and feel like a chump, or say something and feel like an uptight agro-jerk.
I went for choice B.
“Excuse me sir, what number do you have?” He gave me a stare.
I started to waiver and began explaining, “I, ah, just want to see where I should….” I trailed off. I was trying to make nice, but there was no hiding my aggressive intent.
He relented his stare and showed me his boarding pass with the look of a man beaten in a poker hand. “Go ahead of me,” he said. He let out a long sigh of annoyance. I avoided eye contact.
The line moved forward. I gave my boarding pass to the agent. As I entered the corridor that connects the airport to the plane, I looked back. I was hoping the agent would bust the man for boarding with the wrong group.
Instead, I saw the young teenager enter the corridor without the man. The teenager was flying alone and his father, I am guessing, was just anxious to make sure his kid got on the plane with a decent seat and enough space for his bags.
I felt embarrassed. All that drama to make sure one kid didn’t butt me line.
I realized it was time for a little reflection. What could I, like the Jung quote says, learn about myself here? 
The first thing I realized is that someone butting in line triggers me. My first reaction was an emotion: anger. But when I looked deeper I saw that beneath the anger, fueling it was a fear of being powerless.
There was also the thought that I was being taken advantage of. In fact, I remembered a little voice in my head at the moment the mustached guy butt in line: “He thinks he can butt in line, and you won’t say anything. He thinks you’re weak.”
In essence, I was playing out a story line in my head that didn’t have much to do with the reality of the situation.
The truth was the guy was probably worried about his son. Or maybe he butts in line all the time. Either way, his action wasn’t a statement about me.
I am not saying I did the wrong thing by speaking up. In fact, I got the last exit row seat, and I might not have if I didn’t say anything.
What I am saying is that because I got triggered, my range of action was limited (in my own mind) to an unsavory choice between being wimpy or overly aggressive. There was no option that would leave me feeling good about my decision.
Everyone has trigger points, places where they are vulnerable. When these places get touched they cause us to lose our sense of perspective and can cause us to act in a way that is out of touch with our values.
For me, the series of events (inner and outer) looked like this:
  • Situation: man cuts in line
  • Feeling: anger, fear of being powerless
  • Thought: “I am being taken advantage of”
  • Action in response to thought: Call him out for butting
  • Feeling in response to situation: Guilt (feel like a jerk)
Now that I am aware of this trigger point, I can watch for it in the future and employ a simple strategy to diffuse this internal reaction. Here is the plan the next time someone butts me in line or for when you get triggered in general:
  1. Notice you are triggered. This is the most crucial step. It gets easier with practice.
  2. Take three slow breaths. This defuses the emotional reaction and helps you find your balance.
  3. Let the old storyline—in my case, “I am being taken advantage of”—fall away.
  4. Try to see the situation from a less personal place. Ask yourself, what is really going on here?
  5. Check in with your values and assess how to deal with the situation. In my case, the next time someone cuts me in line I want to think about whether it is a time where I need to stand up for myself, or whether I can let the line butting roll off my back
My hope is that I can get to a place where if I decide I need to say speak up, I can approach the person from a calm but firm place, minus the indignation and aggression. If I decide not to speak up, I hope I can let the incident go, and move on.
In this case, the action I take is less important than the emotional place I am coming from. Either way, I want to remain calm and centered.
Through this process of breathing, seeing what is happening in myself, and letting old storylines drop, I am allowing a triggering situation to be an opportunity for growth.
This is not easy work. Places where we are vulnerable usually don’t heal overnight. It takes practice, patience, and a sense of humor to keep cool when someone or something pushes your personal buttons.
But the benefits are great: by practicing when someone butts me in line, I am learning one of life’s master skills: staying calm in the hurricane of my own emotions"