This afternoon, I had a patient enter my office with long, bold strides, interrupt my work and demand to "speak her mind". I thought her overtly aggressive entrance was appaulling and sat, I'm sure, staring with wide-eyed wonder at this rude woman intruding on my time and space. Fortunately, I was not in the mood to confront her offensive behavior (I had just come from teaching a meditation course and was still feeling very "mellow" from it all), so I inhaled and sat quiet for a moment. The sound of Japanese wood flutes played softly from my computer, encouraging stillness in the room.
I spoke only her name. She looked at me rather abruptly and literally fell into the chair behind her, exhausted from expelling so much negative energy.
It was an interesting experience.
Tonight, I ran across a wonderful post in Pema Chodron's blog. Her title is nearly copied on this blog, as the words written carry the reader down a new path to dealing with the difficult people in our lives. One line from her blog, I would like to quote for you:
"If we can learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher."
What an interesting concept. I still have not grasped it but hope to meditate on it and come to a better understanding of it through this week. This will be my challenge, one I hope you will share with me. Let me ask the same questions Pema asked, "Who in you life drives you bananas? Can you put yourself in their shoes, seeing their pain, and begin wishing them well? What does this teach you about yourself?"
So I ask myself, how did this patient become my teacher this afternoon and what did she need to teach me at that moment? I have not found the answer yet, but I will let you know when it comes. I hope you will too...