Just Be With That, Meditator Tot

October 4, 2009


October 4, 2009; 2:42 p.m.

If tradition were the road to enlightenment I would provide you with a Preface to what I plan to do here… or perhaps a Foreword or an Introduction.  But I am not going to do that.  Instead I’m going to Be Here Now.  And I’m not even going to offer apologies to Ram Dass for stealing his line.

It may come as an enormous surprise to you, especially if you don’t know me, but occasionally I screw up.  This weekend I booked a seminar in a room at work where there were already two events booked… and two of the events had even been booked by me.  In my defense I thought I had reserved the room for the seminar event months ago.  But I originally booked it for a different space.  That space is now being demo’d for remodelling so I moved the event, and when it came down to it, I forgot to check to make sure the new space was available.  Agh. No one to blame but me, damn it.

So, I move this dog handling seminar to the barn, recently cleared of horses, where, amid flies my poor speaker and her guests made the best of things. 

The speaker arrived that morning none too cheerful, having forgotten her packed bag at home a state away, and gotten stuck in a traffic jam the night she arrived in town, and then the next morning being trapped behind streets cordoned off for a 10K foot race and not knowing how to get around the congestion to arrive at the seminar on time. 

I can sympathize since the day I met her was just about like that for me (Maybe I’ll tell you about it some day), but I also knew that I couldn’t do anything help her stop being upset that the venue had moved to the barn on top of everything else.  All I could do was present the information, apologize and lay low.  Sometimes you have to let people worship in the high, holy and pissed-off sanctuary before they they can believe you are sorry, and sometimes they never do believe it.  Leaving them to their ire is sometimes the least you can do, especially when you deserve it. 

I hope she forgives me and we can laugh about it one day.  I know that today she thinks I am a complete and total ass.  And in fact, I know she has thought that before.  (Maybe one day I’ll tell you about the first time I booked a seminar with her. She has never learned to trust me even though that was 6 years ago.  Maybe it’s because I keep giving her reasons to worry.)

The Life Of An Ass.

So, Friday I was notified of my booking boo-boo by a fellow manager who is known by her cheerful demeanor and willingness to figure out a workable plan.  Everyone should have at least one of her around.  She’s a life saver.  I swore I had booked the room months ago (because in my imaginary world I had…).   I really could only claim foolishness when I checked the calendar.  She recommended the barn solution, and I couldn’t come up with a single better idea, so the barn it was.  I spent the afternoon taking down 2 dozen large dog crates (That’s TWO dozen.  Seriously.) that had been set up in that barn for use later in the week.  Oh, my and oh my.  They will have to be put back up later.  Oh, my.

I woke up a trillion times Friday night thinking, “Oh, crap, what am I going to do?  Oh, crap, they’re going to be sooooo pissed off.”  I even had time to worry about a few other unrelated things, which were equally impossible to resolve in the middle of the night.

Finally, about 3 or 4 am I remembered my zazen (sitting meditation).  I am a beginning zen meditator (You can call me Meditator Tot).  I need a teacher, and I need to practice every day, but that’s why I’m a tot.  I’m still learning. 

What I had figured out to do from reading a couple of books and searching around online was to just be with it.  Stop striving to be somewhere else or what other people are likely to do or worrying about outcomes.  Just be with it.  Be Here Now. 

I didn’t get out of bed for zazen or anything.  (I did a special meditation called a lazy-ass zen with covers) but whenever I began to feel my heart rate increase with the thoughts of the horrors the next day was to bring, I just brought myself back to it: 

Sure, you screwed up.  But just be with that.  Outcomes are for losers.  Whoops, that’s a judgment.  Acknowledge it and let it go.  Just be with it. 

My mind would try to figure out how the instructors were going to react, then I’d just say, “Whoa, Tot…”  (Well, I didn’t really say that, I just thought up the Meditator Tot thing just now) “Don’t go there.  Who knows what they’ll do or won’t do?  Doesn’t matter.  Just be here with this experience.”  Then I went to sleep and stayed there the rest of the night.  Two and a half more hours.  Whoopee! 

I woke up the next morning and felt pretty okay.  I felt, Yep, they might be pissed, sure enough.  But I felt okay. You’re probably thinking that I’m going to tell you that everything went rosy and neither instructor was bothered in the least, and in fact both of them thanked me for making them better people.

Um.  No.  But it was still okay.  I think that’s where I didn’t get meditation when I  tried it in the past.  I thought it was about striving toward Nirvana, and then I’d be disenchanted when I didn’t attain it in 2 or 3 sittings.  But it turns out that for me right now what I needed to get from sitting (or laying in Friday night’s case) was that meditation doesn’t cure you of screwing up and doesn’t mean you will never suffer. It just means that you admit that you can’t run away from suffering because you’ll just be running forever.  And in fact, that’s exactly what so many of us do with our whole lives.  We run and run and run and we never just sit with the suffering.

The one that had travelled from out-of-state only to encounter the evil city traffic demons without a change of clothes was pretty pissed off.  A co-worked said, “She’s really not very nice, is she?”  I explained what happened, but she wasn’t convinced.  I had to remind myself to just be with that co-worker not liking the instructor that was pissed at me.    

Oh, but that wasn’t the only double booking I managed to create.  The final week of an obedience class was Sunday morning, and I had to ask the instructor if she would mind having the class outside or in the lobby so the other instructor could be inside.  She was annoyed but gracious when I first told her. 

But when I then told her, oh, problem solved, we’ll have the other thing in the barn and you can have the conference room.  But that turned out to be incorrect.  Be with that, why don’t ya’?

On day 1 in the barn the seminar class made do by working outside a lot.  The weather was excellent.  It worked okay, not great.  But on Day 2 it rained.  The instructor was not at all enamored of the idea of trying to make that work again. 

So I told her she could have the conference room, meaning I had to re-boot the other class out on their graduation day.  I called the other instructor up and at one point she said, “Kellie, take a deep breath.”  I laughed and kept explaining things, and she said, “Kellie, seriously.  Take a deep breath right now.”  Sometimes I don’t even know I’m freaking out.  I am that good at it.  I think somewhere along the way I figured out that if I talk fast and don’t shut up problems go away, but I can’t for the life of me think of a time when that really worked very well. 

I did take a deep breath.  Later in the day another co-worker told me that it’s nice to have me around because it gives everyone something to laugh about.  She laughed at the idea that I was the one who was supposed to be calming everyone else down. Whoa.  I was feeling pretty laid back.  The class instructor told the co-worker about having to tell me to take a deep breath.  Seriously.  Who are they talking about? 

Ha.  Well.  I guess I’m going to have to just be with that.

Warmly,

Meditator Tot

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