Monday 13 July 2009

Day 18: TOuché - The Ouch Zone

“A man's errors are his portals of discovery.”
Irish novelist James Joyce (1882-1941)

Going beyond Joyce’s observation, I would add that through our errors we can transform our lives. I began this 30 day Care and Attention Retreat with the intention of finding my purpose. While that has become clearer, the process of this Urban Retreat, which I have done many times in the past, has been as transformative as ever. Each and every time, something pops up during those 30 days that significantly alters the way I am.

And it is always my own errors, my personal weak points, which have given me the doorway into that transformation. It is not with any great joy that I admit that one of my personal failings is rising Dirk. Some days it resembles a fencing match – a battle of wits in which each of us is determined to prove we are sharper than the other!

While it can be very amusing on the surface, I have always had a nagging sense of unease around this dynamic, but I haven’t paid much attention to it. Well, no more! The transformation came when my future sister-in-law held up a mirror to my face: “it’s cheap one-upmanship”, was all she said, but those four words hit me in the Ouch Zone!

The Ouch Zone is that soft spot (often a defensive spot) where we see our weak points, that which is less pleasing in our characters. She was so right. No wonder I’ve felt bad about that dynamic, it flies against the very notion of developing harmony, care, trust, beauty or genuine humour in a marriage, or any relationship.

I thought about ‘trying’ not to do it. But I realised that really isn’t good enough. When something is so antithetical to whom I wish to be, I think it calls for a total commitment. So I’m committed to completely stopping this behaviour.

And this brings me full circle, because I realise that in order to achieve this change in behaviour, I will have to invest more care and attention into my spoken words. Rather than responding with the first thought to cross my mind, I now need to think before I speak. And that can’t be a bad thing at all…

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