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Posts Tagged ‘right speech’

censoredThis year I have been working on not saying anything about someone that I wouldn’t say if they were in the room. This was a litmus test I could run in my head before engaging in gossip.

The experiment has grown. Like my awareness of what I was eating grew into an appreciation for the cost to the enviroment and the animals I no longer choose to eat, this awareness of negative speech has carried past gossip.

On a recent trip my wife and I stood in line with three mid-twenty young men. One was carrying on, rather insightfully, about how to take ownership for a mistake at work. The problem was his language. He cursed just like I do. The F-word was used for emphasis, the S-word for anything negative in nature and the MFer for special exasperations. Aside from inappropriate (their were families in line) I was struck with just how ugly the words were.

Like many of the big changes I’ve made in my life over the last two years, it was clear in an instant what I needed to do. I turned to my wife. “I’m done swearing.”

I cursed three times yesterday and only once today. I know its not going to be easy. I’m given to foul language. But I’m going to try. Like the emphasis I try to bring to say positive things instead of negative whenever possible, I’m going to equally work on the quality of those words. We’ll see how it goes. Wish me luck. Tips are welcome 😉

“Remember, the universe is the echo of our actions and our thoughts.” Dalai Lama

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I can't hear you...I made a misstep at work this week. I shared some harsh words with a co-worker around a heated issue. I was shocked with myself. I’m normally very cool in confrontational situations and pretty good at defusing tension and opposition.  I said some things that were disparaging and embarrassed this women in front of others. I might have been right, but by no means acted appropriately.

When I sat last night I couldn’t get away from how obvious it was that I had done wrong. Well… I should say it took a while to sift through the angry rants I had saved up for her and the self justifying speeches. But with some calmness and clarity I could see I hadn’t acted the way I wish I had and the only thing to do was to apologize.

I spent sometime thinking of how I would speak to her. I couldn’t cop out and blame it on the tension at work and the lack of sleep. I didn’t want to say, “I’m sorry that I said this but you did xyz.” I only have control over my actions and being of sound mind and able body I shouldn’t have treated her like that.

I went in the next morning and apologized. Unfortunately, she used it as an opportunity to lay into me. I sat and listened. Engaged the points that I could constructively and reemphasized my points of apology. I was a bit nervous. No one likes confrontation and the experience was humbling, especially to have such an ungracious response to honest attempt at an apology. Several times I had to return to my breath, center myself and be present.

Eventually, a cool thing happened. She got out her piece and started to calm down. We talked about how we could move forward in a productive manner. Later in the day she reached out with some overt attempts to be friendly. I took her actions to be a genuine attempt to say we could get through this and get back to a collaborative place in our relationship.

I’m glad I have a meditation practice which gives me a chance to reflect and choose how to best respond; even in the face of having acted so unskillfully.

 

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