The 77% Weekly Newsletter
SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT DELIVERED FRESH TO YOUR INBOX 40/52 WEEKS A YEAR. FREE.
Annoyance on my back
Often after school, Emmett comes downstairs to my home-office and sits on the back of my chair. He climbs up and wedges himself between my back and the back of the chair. This forces me to the front of the chair. It is not very comfortable. He is eleven and physically too big for this.
However, most days, I swell with joy that my son still wants to be close to me. He wants to be near me, to touch me. I love it.
But there are days, and then there are days.
There are days when I loathe the sight of him coming into my office and I sniffle myself from barking shaming words to him about personal space and manners.
He is doing the same thing; nothing is different!
The only difference is what’s between my ears and what I am making sense of in the world.
The only thing that’s different is my perspective.
If I am in a fine-to-good mood, I will let him be on my back.
But if I am not in a fine-to-good mood, I want to lash out at him when he assaults my personal space.
This brings us back to this quote – a favorite of all time – attributed to Irving Becker:
“If you dislike someone, the way they hold their spoon will offend you. But if you like them, they could drop a plate of food in your lap and you wouldn’t mind.”
If I like you, and if I’m in a good mood, it’s all gravy.
But if I’m not in a good mood or I’ve decided I don’t like you, you will upset me.
We have (some) control over how we perceive the world.
Think about this with regard to the anger you feel in your own life.
I often teach this to couples getting married.
I ask them to list two irksome or irritating things their partner does.
Common examples include:
- leaving milk on the counter
- not capping the toothpaste tube
- giving unwanted driving advice
We talk about the power of perspective and how any of these things, when they are in a good mood, might even be endearing.
Wisdom is knowing the difference between what we can and cannot change.
And, while we can ask our children and partners to change, it’s much more effective for us to change what we can – our patience, compassion, and love.
The more patience, compassion, and love I have in my life, the more easily I roll with the proverbial monkeys on my back.
I’m not saying that we should be always able to make a molehill out of a mountain. Sometimes we can’t. Everything’s not always fine. I’m saying that we have the power within us to get annoyed less often.
Top Selling Products
No Results Found
The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.
My boy, my first born, turns thirteen on Monday. We will have a coming of age ceremony for him this weekend. He will have a coming of age ceremony like the I had one when I turned thirteen. And like my father and my grandfather had. But unlike. My...
Sabbath. It’s late summer, Friday night dinner. Annie is at a birthday party. Just Jane, our 12-year old boy, and me. We sit on the patio in our backyard. Candles, a wine glass, and a challah I made. Jane made meatloaf. Emmett and I look at each other knowing...
Spiritual Exercise Make a self-portrait on an index card, a piece of paper, etc. *** I’m going to assume that you did a drawing, although my spidey-sense tells me that you didn’t. *** I want you to imagine a four-year old hands you a picture, drawn as well as a...
Being loved I thought it was going to be a much rougher day for Emmett than it was. I guess it proves that you can’t really predict how people are going to react and the importance of quality time together. More than that, this story reminds me of a quote by Rumi –...
Lamppost logic A man encircles a lamppost over and over as a police woman approaches. “Sir, can I be of any assistance?” He explains that he lost his wallet, and they both search for some time. Finally, she asks, “Where did you last see it?” “In that dark alley.” “Why...
A horse walks into a bar; the bartender says "Why the long face?", and horse says, "I have cancer." In our last cogent conversation, Michael asked me to give a eulogy at his funeral. And he asked me to start it with a joke. The aforementioned horse joke is not the one...
HELLO, JEWS My four-year incarnation as a rabbi in the form most people would recognize began in 1997. I stood in front of 750-plus people to lead High Holy Day services at Temple Judea in Tarzana, California. This wealthy suburb of 40,000 named for the estate of...
Walk number one After dinner, before bed. A summer evening. Emmett and I are walking JJ around the block. We are chatting. About Minecraft and magic tricks. We are buddies. > Em, can you help me think something out? > Sure. >People always say that they wish...
Spiritual Building Block: OFNR EXPRESS TRAIN Alberta street. A sunny, late summer afternoon. Portlandia boutiques. A sticker shop. A used vinyl shop. A tea and kombucha shop. I find a spot for our 2003 Odyssey and we start walking. I quickly turn back from Jane and...