So I woke up this morning to someone pissing me off. A longtime listener to the podcast wrote a not-so-nice thing about our show release schedule, which hasn't been exactly speedy these days. This particular listener said, "I used to look forward to each podcast. I realize you guys have a life beyond this, but it's become a joke."
I'll admit it, my first inclination was anger. I was going to say something back in anger, that sort of thing.
I sat down and thought about it though. First, what good would that do? It would just be hurtful, and I'm not about being hurtful. Heck, it's a constant part of my everyday practice to not create or contribute to needless suffering.
I thought about deleting the post so no one would see it, and just kicking the person out of the group. Similarly, what would that accomplish? Truthfully, our release schedule has been very, very slow of late.
For a few minutes, I even contemplated calling it quits on the podcast altogether, because this isn't the first time I've heard stuff like this, and to be honest, it really stings every time I hear it.
So, I did some processing. I sent a message to Spacey, and Mae about the post with a one word comment. "Ugh." That's shorthand for a bunch of things:
- This sucks.
- I feel bad at letting listeners down.
- Can you believe the stones on this guy?
- What an ingrate!
- We really need to get better at this.
- Boy I want to vent about this to you guys.
Then I sat and meditated on it, contemplated it some. I thought back to a previous series of contemplations I'd done on the nature of anger, and the varied ways one might respond to it, and what comes of it. Generally, escalation doesn't work out well.
So, here's what I did.
First, I wrote to the guy, directly, and told him I wasn't going to post an angry response, bounce him out of the group, or post some public castigation of him. (That's why even though I posted his little quote here, I haven't identified him by name, or linked to it, or any such thing. If you really want to chase him down after reading this, that's on you, okay?) I commiserated with him about our slow production and release schedule as of late, and told him "whatever it is that's got you so riled up that you'd post something so angry and hurtful in the group, I hope that it gets better."
Then, as soon as that was done, I felt so much better, so grateful, that I realized that even at this very early hour, that this whole sordid affair was my gratitude for the day. Because situations like this help me know who I am. I'm proactive about being kind.
I went looking for a good graphic to wrap this post around, and did a google search on "turning the other cheek." But after a lot of searching, the images I found weren't really cutting it for me. I'm not Jesus, I'm no saint. And, while I'm all about nonviolent conflict resolution, turning the other cheek didn't exactly have quite the flavor of the idea I'm looking to convey, that I'm grateful for. Lately, I've been super focused on mindful boundaries, on the precept of Do No Harm, But Take No Shit.
Then I saw what's purportedly a quote by Confucius that seemed spot on.
Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.
That's more like it. What does responding-in-anger buy me? Not a thing. But my anger can motivate me to do things. It can spur me to change a habit, engage in contemplation, and be more firm in my own sense of practice. I went looking for a good, non-smarmy-preachy graphic with that quote.
Not so much. The vast majority of what I found was really sort of sanctimonious. At first I opted for something plain.
Then I decided to search for funny gravestones. And found this:
I actually laughed out loud. That is absolutely brilliant. And led me to find more things like that here. (I especially like Lester C. Madden's.) Maybe you can go dig some of them, like I did.
I feel better already.