A Work In Progress – At Sea
November 12th, 2008
Started this piece today, based on a drawing from my sketchbook. I rather like the way the sky is coming out so far. Right now, I'm letting it dry before I carry on with it. I'll do some more work on it tomorrow I suspect. There tend to be certain symbols that pop up in my work regularly. Right now, it seems that birds, water, ships, and women are coming up a lot. Trees and houses are also common, as are lanterns and the moon. I think of them as personal yet, universal symbols relating to my sense of spirituality. I try and explain a bit where my imagery comes from, but I love it when people are able to find their own story in the images.
Today in Soul Coaching we're looking at our relationships with others. I don't usually interact with many people during the day, but today I happened to be doing some errands and had an odd experience at the post office. When I walked in, the door you'd normally enter through was locked, but a woman was on her way out and opened it for me while saying she didn't know why it was locked. Once inside, I heard the postal worker behind the counter get annoyed with a man who asked politely for a zip code. The customer made a smart comment back and then softened it afterward. It was a little tense. I was next in line with a couple people behind me, but I could see a man with a pile of boxes in his arms trying to get in through the locked door. I left my place in line to open the door for him. The woman behind me decided I'd lost my place in line and moved ahead and started getting helped when the postal worker suddenly got steaming mad, shouting that the door was locked for a reason and then he rolled his eyes as he stormed out to put a box in front of the locked door.
I was a little taken aback by his reaction and at first I wanted to react defensively, apologizing for opening the door while explaining that the man's hands were full and he needed assistance. I also thought about suggesting that he might want to put a sign on the door saying "please use the other door," so that people would understand the regular entrance door was out of order. Having it locked with no further instruction was confusing. But when I got up to the front of the line, I didn't say anything. I acted polite and was conscious of trying to be kind to a man who looked very flustered and unhappy. I can't know what's going on in this man's life, but he always seems unhappy whenever I visit this particular post office branch. I decided being kind to him was the way I was going to react.
After the fact, I wondered if I had just wussed out of a confrontation, if it would have in fact been helpful to me and him if I'd made the suggestion about putting a note on the door. I wondered if I would have been able to say it without getting defensive (probably not without a few minutes to breathe and prepare) and I wondered whether or not it would have been welcomed advice when the man behind the counter seemed very perturbed. It felt o.k. to let it go and treat him with kindness, but I wonder if it would have been better to say something. What do you think?
This is such a small event, nothing major. But it is telling about my relationships with people. Denise Linn, the author of Soul Coaching suggests noticing how your interactions with others might reflect the way you were treated growing up, how it might mirror qualities you suppress, or how it might reflect your core values. Growing up, anger was not a welcome emotion. It's also in my nature to be a bit of a peace-keeper and considering the mood of the postal worker, it didn't seem like it was a good time to make a suggestion, even one that was practical. Interestingly, I also had a dream this week where I was so mad that I was yelling (something I rarely if ever do.) In this case, I think it was appropriate to let it go and move on, but I think it was also symbolic of pattern in which I say nothing under the guise of choosing my battles, not making waves, and being polite. It made me think about how in the future I might want to say, in a non-defensive way, what's on my mind.
I did pat myself on the back though for not taking it personally. The post office worker did yell at me and roll his eyes in my general direction. He didn't yell in my face, but to the room in general, but since I was the offending person opening the door, I knew that it was at least somewhat directed at me. In the past, I might have felt awful about that. I've always been sensitive to yelling, it just seems to set me off (usually into tears.) But today, I felt a little surprised, but calm and curious too. And I knew it wasn't about me, so it didn't feel like a personal attack.
Anyway, I thought it was interesting that this happened today with the focus being on relationships. I had a long chat with the hubster about it when he got home and I'm a bit talked out, so I'll end this here. See y'all tomorrow!