“Love is the fruit in season at all times and within reach of every hand.” ~ Mother Teresa
Many years ago I attended a training and was taught that there were three ways of handling a negative situation. The trainer used a basketball to illustrate his point. He told us to recall a time when someone was angry or hostile towards us and made a negative comment.
The trainer then asked one of us to come up onto the platform and handed this person the ball. He said that the first way to handle the situation is to take the comment, feel the pain, and then retaliate. He asked the person to throw the ball hard at him and he caught it in the stomach, made a painful sound, and threw the ball back even harder at the other person. Does this response sound familiar?
The trainer explained the second example by asking the person to again throw the ball even harder. When the ball was thrown, the trainer moved out of the way and just let the ball go by. He explained that we do not have to take in those words, but can let them just go on by and watch them vanish with no response.
I used to keep this image in mind whenever a situation became hostile. This is not an easy thing to accomplish, however, especially in close relationships. Sometimes as hard as I try, some comments remain painful and it takes time to heal.
The third method of handling these situations, was also demonstrated. The trainer had the person again throw the ball and this time as he caught it, he smiled, ran over to the person who had thrown the ball, said thank you, and helped him throw it again. He seemed to truly appreciate the hit he had received.
This method was much harder for me to understand in my practical life. I could not really find a way to use this until just recently. I had two colleagues that made negative and hostile comments toward me when we came back to work after the summer recess.
I suddenly remembered this training from many years ago and tried to apply the techniques that I had learned. It would be a difficult year if I didn’t find a resolution within myself. At first I tired letting the words flow by me picturing them vanishing away; however, the energy of the hostility remained behind.
I took a long walk in the Redwoods to clear my head and my heart. I began to feel the immense gratitude for having a job in these current economic times. I then thought of each of these colleagues one at a time and realized what a gift their comments had been to me.
From one of them, I realized by listening to his comments, I was actually witnessing my own feelings of overwhelm by the new work load as many others are also experiencing with cut backs in personnel. I had a chance to look at my attitude about my assignment and completely re-focused my energy in an entirely new direction. I looked at how much I love this school, the staff, and the children with whom I will be working. Together, we will make this a wonderful year. I am truly grateful for the jolt his words had given to me.
For the second situation, as I was walking, I began to focus on my heart and to hold her with love and appreciation. I suddenly recalled that one of the things I needed to add to a book I am writing is personal stories to illustrate the specific concepts of my book. Wasn’t this a perfect example?
I realized what an incredible gift this amazing person was to me. I had a perfect example presented to me about how to use the power of love and gratitude by centering on my heart. I was truly grateful.
I finally understood how to use the third method of saying thank you to the person who has “created” the hostility. These situations were presented to me to provide invaluable lessons that I had actually requested. “Love is the fruit in season at all times and within reach of every hand.”