In a rustic cabin which serves as a retreat for us from time to time there is a room, and in that room there is a chair. It’s a very comfortable chair and I’ve taken to sitting in it to write. The chair shares the room with the air conditioner and the TV. On this particular Independence Day, after a morning of parade watching, a fun afternoon of barbecuing, a game of charades with friends, a nap and all hope of going to the fireworks display drowned out by rain, I sat down in my very comfortable chair to write. The timing was perfect. My husband, who believes that given a choice between an air conditioned room and just about anything else, would choose an air conditioned room, also had designs on this space. He too had thought of the perfect thing to do. . . catch up on an old Twilight zone episode.
We collaborated. I retrieved the ear plugs from a recent red-eye courtesy pack and he turned the old (read: no ear phone capability) TV really low. But in the end, he was missing every other word and the words he was missing I was catching. We were both distracted. “Poor guy never gets any down time’, was my initial approach, followed by ‘ I can’t think with that blankity blank tv set on. I was here first and I’m trying to work here!’
I tried to write but couldn’t help wondering about the 300 foot tall man they were trying to track down, on the Twilight Zone episode. He sat only inches from the set straining to hear the dialog.
In seconds, many thoughts went through my head. My thinking became very black and white. If I ask him to turn it off I’m a heel. If he doesn’t offer to turn it off so I can work, he’s the heel. If I leave the air conditioned room in search of a quieter room. I’ve ‘lost’ and he’s ‘won’. He sees I’m struggling to focus (doesn’t he?). If he was really as supportive of my work as he says he is he’d let me work in peace. If I was really a loving wife, I’d put my work aside and let him have this time.
Wait a minute! Black and white thinking? Frustration? Judging? — All fear responses! Time to put some space between me and my feelings. Breathe, baby, breathe! In that space, I became willing to release judgement and see his innocence.
In that space is where I get to tap into being accountable for how I show up in this world. It’s a space where I let it sink in that my needs equal his needs and vice a versa.
What did I need? I decided that what I really needed was to complete this article in my chair, and still have a connection with my husband when I was done. What was my husbands needs? He needs to watch the Twilight Zone. Wait a minute. Is that true or am I just assuming it was true. I’d have to ask him to find out. (Ah Ha! Proactive behaviors.. not assuming…asking questions, I’m getting somewhere now!) Turns out he wanted to watch the twilight zone episode but keeping cool was really the motivation for being in the room. When I asked if there was something else he could do, that would enable him to stay cool and enable me to write for 30 minutes. He said he really needed to get ready for a camping trip he was leaving for the next day. So we struck a deal, I’d get 45 minutes of uninterrupted writing time, while he got packed and then we’d watch the twilight zone episode about the 300 foot man together. Score!
Being willing to recognize when your fear (read feelings of inadequacies) show up is a huge step in fearless living. The awareness is what gives you choice. Choice is power!
The dailiness of life is where love and fear meet and love either fades or flourishes.