I walked into class Tuesday morning loaded for bear (if you'll pardon the expression). During my run on the elliptical earlier that morning, I thought about Beverly Haberman's words to me after the Dialogue training class on Monday evening: if you're struggling in class, raise your hand. Tell somebody. Ask for help. I was still annoyed about thoughts others had offered the day before in class, assumptions that seemed patently off the mark. So, when Barry Neil ("Bears") Kaufman walked in and asked us all, "How are you?" I put my hand up.
Not a tentative gesture to indicate a thought forming, not a happy wave, I put my hand up the way a cavalry captain signals a charge. "Actually," I said, "I'm feeling angry and judged, and as a matter of fact, woke up at 5 a.m. feeling angry. I actually woke myself up early so that I would have extra time to be angry before class." Bears smiled and led me through a Dialogue to identify who, in particular, made an assumption about me that I didn't like. "She said that I only did things to get approval from other people," I pointed at one of my fellow participants. "And that was only, like, 20% right."
"So," Bears smiled sweetly, "She was right." Long pause from me. Dang it, yes, she was right. He continued with same sweetness of spirit, "What do you think about the idea that people are going to judge you and make assumptions, and you could decide to be happy and comfortable in the face of those judgments?" Another long pause from me, and then tears started as I imagined that possibility. To be solid in my convictions regardless of the approval of others, regardless of contrary opinions or indifference, seemed like a luxury.
If my theme song for Monday was "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter, the theme song for Tuesday morning was "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera.
(to be continued)