Welcome to Day 20 of my blog series based on Judith Hansen-Lasater’s “A Year of Living Your Yoga.”
I will try to keep these posts to less than 500 words.
Here is the quote:
January 17 — Problems are transformed when we are present. When someone disagrees with you today, stay present, listen and then let them solve the problem.
This is another way of saying, “mind your own business and check your preferences, attachments, and ego at the door.”
I feel strongly that I am being tested in this way, very specifically, of late.
Lots of stuff is going on around my life that I confuse with MY actual life.
For instance, if you have a situation with a parent and you don’t like the situation but are accustomed to having to save the day or come up with a solution due in part to patterns you established as a child, you will likely think or believe that you must wrest with the situation.
Another example, say your child or spouse or friend is behaving in a way that you find objectionable. This happens all the time, right? Well, if you’re me, you feel some crazy drive to repair the objection or yearn to educate this person to stop their behavior.
So if those things are happening, AROUND your life, at the same time, how much of it is your life? None.
Nope. Not a smidge. So in this actual context of all these things swirling around me, none of it is mine. My specific independent life is actually pretty peachy right now.
Lasater mentions “disagrees” in this quote; I don’t think we need to have an actual disagreement to render awareness and detachment (which is what she’s suggesting here with letting ‘them’ solve the problem). I think we just need to be aware of our urges (and they can be subtle) to change events or outcomes. You can even have a situation where you agree with someone and want to assist in solving a “problem.”
Further with the examples: let’s say we’re talking about an infant here. If an infant is crying, that’s the infant’s issue, yes?
I mean, you’re not crying. You’re not needing anything at that moment (meaning: you’re not so upset about something that it’s making you weep). It’s the baby.
Of course, you might care about the baby. You can assist the wee bairn, and do what you can to soothe her. But it’s not YOUR irritation.
As humans, we’ve been programmed to assist, to solve, to cure, to fix, to amend… sometimes, we just can’t. Most of the time, it’s not ours to solve, fix, cure, or amend. It’s just not.
And we don’t like that.
It makes us feel powerless, helpless, inert.
Deal with it.
So going back to this quote, ” … then let them solve the problem.”
If the solution lies in your assistance, YOU NEED TO BE ASKED FIRST to ASSIST. (And the baby crying is her asking for assistance — so that’s good.) If no one asks for help, there is no help to be given. If you decide to jump in… OK: prepare yourself for a steaming dish of “goscrewyourself” or frustration because your moment of “let me help you” might become a moment of “it’s like THIS you simpleton…” or that horse you’ve led to water won’t drink it, and then shit hits the fan.
Example: say a little kid is trying to open a new jar of salsa. He fusses and moans and oomphs, but he doesn’t ask for help. You watch this battle. Many of us as parents will say, “Here, let me…” but that doesn’t show the child anything other than you’re better at opening a jar than he is. What you need to do (in the context of this quote) is stay present, listen, and then let them solve the problem, which might mean, “Hey, Mom? Can you help me open this jar of salsa?”
That’s the jackpot right there. When they ask for help. Doesn’t always happen. Sometimes we encounter a mess. But the key is learning to ask for help and then … THEN: be willing to GIVE HELP — NOT TAKE OVER. Show the kiddo how you open a jar.
Easier said than done.
(This quote is really limiting… transformation needn’t revolve around a disagreement.)
It’s not a failure of autonomy and independence to ask for help. After all, once that jar of salsa is opened, he might try to pour all of it into a small bowl and it might overrun. Still… we have to step back.
It stinks. But it’s growth for us too.