Crochet 006

“If I’m not appreciated, that’s your problem that you don’t appreciate me. Unless I need your love, then it’s my problem. So my needs are what are giving you the power over me. Those people’s power over you to take you out of your equanimity and love and consciousness has to do with your own attachments and clingings of mind. That’s your work on yourself, that’s where you need to meditate more, it’s where you need to reflect more, it’s where you need a deeper philosophical framework, it’s where you need to cultivate the witness more, it’s where you need to work on practicing opening your heart more in circumstances that aren’t optimum. This is your work.  ”

accessed 1/17/14 at: http://www.ramdass.org/a-heavy-curriculum/

Well, this quote woke me up this morning! I’ve talked about self-validation vs. co-dependency for years, but that’s become old hat to me, and those words do not offer any thing new my mind and soul can use. Those words are about insight; they are not about action. Ram Dass’ words are about action, or at least that is where they lead my thoughts.

My own needs are what I need to work on—-the thing I need to think about, meditate about, detach and distance myself from by realizing my self worth comes from within and from Creator. If I am doing anything for the purpose of winning praise, recognition, or gratitude from another, then my motives are way off base. What Dass calls my “witness” needs to objectively observe my thoughts and actions so I can begin to be aware of doing this. I cannot change something if I am not aware of it.

Here’s an example from something I was involved in yesterday afternoon that shows me Ram Dass is probably right. I was teaching a crafts class in which three people were learning how to crochet. I had planned to first teach them to read the pattern, then how to do the chain stitch, and, finally, how to do a double stitch—-the only two stitches used to make the scarf that had been selected as a class project.  I thought it would take about 10 minutes to teach them to read a pattern, and about 10 minutes of practice for each stitch.

Things didn’t happen the way I expected. There is much more to crocheting than saying, “this is the stitch, this is what it is called, and this is how you do it.”  There were a multitude of nuances left out of both the printed instructions that were provided and the verbal and visual instructions I was providing. It seems that I have been crocheting so long that I’d forgotten many of the “little steps” that are part of the “bigger steps.” All of the sudden things were not going like clockwork, and I had a room full of confused and anxious people. Together we started breaking the process down into the “mini-steps” necessary in these two basic stitches. Things started working better, but things were still not going well.

Finally, a voice of reason was heard from across the room saying, “Why don’t we make the scarf with just the one single stitch?” I am so grateful that my friend was there to “witness objectively” what was going on and to make that suggestion.  When we did that, the whole room relaxed. Where there had been stress and performance anxiety, there was now more self-acceptance and less tension. Instead of frowns and throwing things down in exasperation, there were smiles and laughter. The class had become “we” instead of being divided into expert and novice. My own thoughts were no longer as focused on feeling like a failure as a teacher.  Slowly I let go of my  need to be a “good teacher” and became, instead, a empathetic facilitator. My  “needs” got out of the way—-and when that happened, people who had never crocheted began to crochet.

The lesson I learned yesterday was whenever I am feeling anxious to try to detach from the emotions  I am feeling so I can “witness” what is happening—-then my perception will not be as distorted by my own needs. It sounds simple, but I know it will take lots of work to develop awareness and healthy detachment. I am grateful to have taken this first step of acceptance. May God bless and keep you.

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