Things happen to us. Sometimes we make them happen as when we go after an idea, provoke people to action, incur karmic rewards and debts. Cause and effect, you know.
In any case, we can choose how to respond to things.
We can, for example, either bless the rain or curse it. Or go about our nonchalant way.
I react to things two ways – by thought and by action. The two do not always synchronize.
There is this someone in the office who would ask me to do some or most of her writing. When she enters my room with yet another piece of paper, a sheepish smile, and, God forbid, irresistible Meiji Black chocolate to “lubricate” the deal, I might groan inwardly: “Oh, darn, here she is again. She relies too much on me … she does not even try to DIH.” But outwardly, I might smile, accept the sheet she proffers, and say “No problem,” while pretending to ignore the yummy lubricant which she would put down on my desk that would then trigger a ‘push and shove’ game which I always lose (or win, depending on how you see it).
Sometimes, it bothers me. Sometimes, it doesn’t. It depends on my mood. Or how steeped in or jittery I am over my own assignments.
I have little control over what I think – angry or happy or uncaring. My thoughts are conditioned responses, difficult though not impossible to change. But what I DO I can deliberate. Or CHOOSE.
This is a principle articulated well by Stephen Covey (Seven Habits of Highly-Effective People). But he must have simply repackaged a universal truth.
Where I am influences my reactions. At home where I can let my hair down, be the witch I sometimes am when nobody -- except maybe “just my children” -- is looking, I am more prone to act impulsively, aka shoddily. Elsewhere, where I feel obliged to be nice, to be liked, to be the harbinger of “sweetness and light and everything nice" -- my actions are well-chosen.
This is why I can be two different persons at home and outside of it.
Should I hope for the two sides of me to sync? To be able to say exactly what I think, do exactly what I want (e.g. wring someone’s neck or break the computer screen to smithereens) and let the pieces of broken glass fall where they may.
Would that be liberating? Or would that further put me in bondage – a bondage to my own selfish indulgences and dark impulses. Would that only liberate me from efforts to be the better person I can be?
And who is to say which is the prevalent me: the hell hag? or the fairy godmother? The one who would have wanted to shove the piece of paper up whose you know what? Or the one who would accept the extra work and do it well?
When she’s good she’s very very good
And when she’s bad she’s horrid.