Yesterday I had the opportunity –yes, another growth opportunity--to practice the idea of going toward what troubles you. This is a lesson I seem to learn, forget, learn again and forget again over and over in my recovery: When someone scares you go toward them. Lean into the uncomfortable experience.
I’ve used this lesson in the workplace many times. The coworker that I “hate”, the boss that scares me, the volunteer I wish would disappear. At first I try to avoid them, hide, and limit exposure to these folks— all the while building a case in my head and sharing my brilliance with anyone who will listen to my certain rightness.
But if the feelings persist I finally remember that my work is not to stand back from these people but rather to lean into them and go toward what troubles me.
Last night I almost skipped an event because I didn’t want to be around a woman who bugs me—her demeanor stirs my blood in unattractive ways. But luckily a recovery friend said, “No I think you should go to the party and go right up to her and see what happens.”
And I did. Not happily. Not comfortably. But with some prayers and with the mantra, “Go toward her”. And in the course of the evening I saw a fuller picture and got a deeper sense of the issues underneath. (Mine certainly and maybe even hers.)
No, she is not my new friend. And no, I don’t suddenly like her. But today I am not obsessing about or worrying over this woman. That in itself is a relief.
Relief and peace, because I leaned in, and I went toward what scared me.