Thursday, November 30, 2006

Peace

I used to think, not so long ago, that it was somehow virtuous to oppose others. My defiance was energizing. It was how I knew I was alive.

I was secretly proud whenever I heard myself referred to as a hothead. Having been painfully shy throughout childhood (and adulthood in certain situations), it was taken as a supreme compliment.

There was one problem. Several years ago I read somewhere the nagging question: "Would you rather be right, or would you rather be spiritual?" Try as I might, I couldn't get that nagging question out of my mind, especially following my trademark explosions.

At work, I am a member of a committee in which I strongly disagree with the other members on a current issue. My serenity has been ruined for weeks over this. It's the kind of upset which pervades nearly every waking moment- it's unshakeable.

Finally I've accepted that it's my choice to suffer over this. I spoke my mind; therefore my individual job was finished. The mistake I made was in pushing against the others afterwards, as if I could convince them that I was right. That's NOT my job. My job is to express my opinion when appropriate, even tweaking it when my perception changes. Beyond that, I am a member of a group, and my opinion hopefully melds with that of the others.

At home, I have certainly been guilty of pushing myself against the child and the Chihuahua. For example, I used to become livid whenever the dog behaved in a manner I deemed inappropriate. I yelled at the cowering animal as if he had wrecked my very life. But then, during the few days leading up to his castration, I softened, remembering that Paris Hilton's Chihuahua died during the same surgery. He survived the surgery, and I've been treating him like royalty ever since.

Has his behavior changed? Not really- only mine has, but my life is better. The dog bounces off the ceiling when he sees me, crying and even howling with joy. When things like that happen, with nothing but joy going on, I know I'm living the life I was meant to live. I'm being true to my nature.

17 comments:

Trée said...

Betty, I like that idea very much, the choice between right and spiritual. I too tried to be right for far too long. Never earned me anything but heartache as I look back on it now.

Lisa said...

Betty,

As I get older, I'm starting to realize that there are many different perceptions as to what is "right"...so I'm trying to concentrate on being "spiritual" which helps me to accept the people who are wrong. ;)

Take good care,
Lisa

Betty said...

Tree-

I'm finding it to be unbelievably challenging to get break that habit of being "right." Just this morning I slipped AGAIN when I realized that my child had lost his jacket. At least it helps to know I'm not the only one who has struggled with this....

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Lisa,

YES- acceptance is the perfect concept for me right now. That word will be my mantra for today, because I can already tell I'm going to need it...

Hugs,
Betty

Sideways Chica said...

Dear Betty...

"Would you rather be right, or would you rather be spiritual?"

Can't we be both? ;)

If we're not "right," then how can we be truly spiritual? The answer is that I don't need others to conform to my opinion. If I know that I am right, then that is all that matters...most of the time. I'm still working out the kinks.

Well, that's just like me. I want my cake and I want to eat every crumb of it too!

Ciao bella...great post. Enjoy the weekend.

Betty said...

Dear Teri,

Yes, that's my problem: I do seem compelled to convince others to go along with me, out of insecurity, I'm sure. Why can't I just have an opinion, and let it be? Well, it's that insecure, self doubting tendency. It's time to let go of that.

Hugs,
Betty

Sideways Chica said...

Dear Betty...don't beat yourself up chica.

There are times when it is absolutely necessary to try and persuade others to see our point of view. You are probably wired like I am, where hypocrisy sickens and justice should be always be done. As with anything, balance and moderation is key...and also choosing our battles wisely. Ask yourself..., "Is this the hill I want to die on?" It works well for me. Having said that, there are times when I have chosen battles unwisely, yet knowingly, if the matter was of importance. And I win some and I lose some.

Doing the best I can do, and knowing that I have tried to do the best I can do,is the spirituality of which I aspire. No hypocrisy, no cruelty to others, and tolerance. I wouldn;t say that I am overly accepting of others. I am pragmatic. ANd as you know, I do have a taste for irony. ;)

Also...if you lose all your spunk, then how will you whirl?

Ciao bella...

Betty said...

Dear Teri,
It's funny- I had never heard of "choosing our battles" until the child was in my life, and one day another mother described her child-rearing approach to me. So the concept is relatively new to me. With the child, I've learned to do it, to some degree. (Now when someone asks me why I allow my child to do something, I say, with great authority, "I'm choosing my battles," as if I know what I'm doing.

Now, the goal is to carry the concept over into the rest of my life, instead of automatically flipping out at the slightest provocation. I like your question, "Is this the hill I want to die on?" That's a new one for me, too, and I think it'll come in handy.

Thanks, chica.

Shankari said...

Dear dear B

I an one with you AND Teri in saying how importance it is to be right. The rest including spirituality, merely follows. The only thing being that in the quest for Right, we needn't stray off the path of the Spiritual (they are coterminus for a large part).


As for being authoritative and choosing the battles, let me repeat to you a mantra which I learnt from an authority on this subject, which has helped me greatly.

Repeat after me:

Betty knows best!


Hugs to you, kid and the bouncy chihuahua

Betty said...

Dear Shankari,

I'm glad to see that you are recovered to the point where you are able to comment again! That's very welcome news.

Yes, being diligent about NOT straying off the spiritual path is really the key, isn't it? (I think maybe that's been my problem- my goal has been to be in control rather than to be doing the right (spiritual) thing.) Then, "Betty knows best" will ring true at all times.

Hugs and even more healing,
Betty

Trée said...

Hi Betty. Thinking of you and wishing you Peace.

Betty said...

Thank you, Tree, and Peace to you, too.

Hugs,
Betty

Glittermuse said...

My favorite part of this post is the phrase "...with nothing but joy going on..." It sounds like the beginning of a poem.

However, training a dog is not about letting it have its way. Dogs (and people) need boundaries. It has nothing to do with being spiritual, just about living together in peace. You are wise, however, to appreciate the dog's joy. It reminds me of the "dessiterata" or whatever it's called. "Grant me the serenity to change what I can and accept what I cannot"

Betty said...

Glittermuse,
Yes, the dog (or child) can't run the show, but my previous approach of terrorizing the dog was completely ineffective. I have to be smarter than the dog (child), which does not necessarily mean that I have to bully him. If he's misbehaving, what can I change to stop it? If he soils the living room, perhaps he has no business being in that room, for example. Being spiritual does not mean the dog and child take over. If he's already had an accident, raging over it won't do any good. For me, that realization is a step in the spiritual direction.

Hugs,
Betty

Desiree said...

Great post! We only really have the power to change ourselves, however in doing so we help change the world! This post is so in tune with my own philosophies on life.

Betty said...

Thank you, Desiree, and I agree that this is the way to change the world.

Hugs,
Betty

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