Admission

It’s been a while. In truth I’ve been tongue-tied, unable to pull the right words from the melting pot of my mind. Not even sure what to say, even if I could work out how to say it. So there you have it. Welcome to my mind.

How easy it is to blame things. Work being busy. Not sleeping well. Time just flying by. Excuses trip so easily off the tongue – far easier than admitting reality. But when we run out of excuses reality always bites. Why don’t we learn? You’d think we would. Or maybe not.

So anyway, time has flown, excuses have multiplied at speed like bacteria in a petri dish. And here we are. Here I am. Facing my reality. Admitting it. Holding a red rag up to it and waiting for it to charge. Come on, I’m ready.

Nothing is wrong. Things have changed, situations shifting like the sands of time on which we are so shakily standing. But nothing is wrong.

Earlier, I meditated. Took some time to step away from the to do lists, to quell the panic rising up inside. I couldn’t quite believe how well it worked. It’s always nice, of course, to close your eyes and find that space, to realise all that really matters is the breath, in, out. The here and the now is all there is.

But this time something happened, not at first, but after. A flash of inspiration, a hint at the solution to a problem I’ve been grappling with for weeks. I wrote it down. In ink. For permanence.

I think I will meditate again tomorrow.

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Life is Too Short

Like many people I have a strong desire to be liked, and when a person comes into my orbit who – for whatever reason – does not appear to like me, I usually internalise it and end up blaming myself. Recently, however, my feelings on this issue have begun to change.

Whether it has something to do with the quiet confidence you develop with age I don’t know, but what I do know is this: I am, fundamentally, a nice person. I am a good listener, I am generous and kind. I care about people and about causes. I am not spiteful or mean. I will do anything for those I love.

If certain people do not see my good qualities and choose to treat me disrespectfully, or make false assumptions about my character when they have never sought to understand it, that is their problem. It is not mine.

Life is too short to hate, to undermine and to discredit. We will never get along with everybody, but if we try to recognise that those people we like least have their own set of problems, their own issues and demons to face, perhaps it might help us to find a way to get along – if not as friends then as fellow walkers of this earth, for the pitifully short time we have on it.

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What’s MY problem? My only problem is YOU!

The older I get the more I come to realise the virtues of self-awareness. I should preface this post by acknowledging that I’m far from perfect myself, but I do – for the most part at least – have a fairly competent radar for detecting when I’m being a bore and/or getting on someone else’s nerves. Some people, however, seem to have been born without such radar capabilities and are therefore able to spend vast swathes of their daily lives in a state of blithe obliviousness as to just how many of their fellow human beings they are driving to the brink of insanity with their behaviour.

The most maddening type of un-self-aware person is the person who gets constantly upset by other peoples’ behaviour without making any connection whatsoever between others’ behaviour and their own. In other words, the cause and effect principle is so completely lost on them that even if you held up flash cards to highlight that they, in fact, were the root cause of your irritation they would merely tell you that you were being ridiculous and heap insult upon your character (or, more likely still, accuse you of heaping insult upon their character, as a sneaky means of deflection from the true problem – which is, ostensibly to everyone but themselves, actually them).

As such people are prone to having delicate sensibilities, it’s often hard to know whether to grin and bear the extreme irritation their mere presence evokes or to attempt in some way to address the issue and tell them their behaviour is unacceptable. Whichever option you choose will have consequences, and possibly far-reaching ones at that. Remember the rule of cause and effect? Well, that. Ultimately this is a battle of your sanity against theirs, and only a brave man (or woman) will risk toppling the house of cards that is a fragile person’s entire personality. You have been warned.

Office politics

An emergency meeting has been called in No Man’s Land headquarters.

“Well?” says Derek, the CEO, tapping his watch pointedly.

“I’ll go first, if that’s okay?” Hazel, the Office Manager, speaks up. Derek nods his consent and she continues. “Well, it’s just that we’ve run out of stationery.” Derek raises an eyebrow. “And, well,” Hazel continues tremulously, “we need some more.”

Derek regards her with incredulity. “Then get some.”

“It’s not that simple, you see,” Hazel says, averting his gaze and fingering the buttons on her cardigan (previously part of a twin set but whose twin had long ago succumbed to a nerve-induced coffee stain).

“And that would be because…?”

“Because John holds the budget and he says we can’t afford it,” Hazel finishes on a note of triumph, passing the baton of blame to No Man’s Land’s Finance Manager at the far end of the table, who glowers at her through his unflattering thick rimmed spectacles.

“Now don’t go blaming me,” John says crossly, “Sadie’s the one who’s been telling you it’s not possible.”

A tut of discontent alerts them all to Sadie’s presence. “I said no such thing,” she remarks. “What I said was you would have to run it past Danielle because she’s the communications person and she’s updating the brand guidelines, so she might well want to wait until they’re done before ordering more stationery. Anyway, I’m just a lowly secretary, what would I know?” She rolls her eyes and returns to the serious business of filing her nails.

“And Danielle would be where exactly?” Derek asks, barely managing to hide the exasperation in his voice.

“She’s in the office,” Hazel offers, “working on the communications strategy.”

Derek sighs, tweaks his tie and scans his Blackberry for new messages, all the while emitting a slow hiss through his teeth. “And I suppose it didn’t occur to you when you convened this meeting regarding communications activities that it might be wise to invite the sole communications person within the organisation?”

Hazel blinks and shakes her head.

“May I recommend that someone phones Danielle and asks her to join us for a moment or two?”

John obliges this request, and seconds later a flustered looking Danielle appears in the doorway. “Yes?” she says accusingly.

“Hazel here tells me we’ve run out of stationery,” begins Derek. “And John here tells me that Sadie’s been saying it’s not possible to order more because you’re doing the re-branding.”

“Correct.”

“Might I therefore ask when this re-branding will be over so we might be in a position to order more stationery, since it’s evidently a matter of most pressing urgency that seems to be grinding my commercial business to a halt and involving the efforts of every member of my staff team to resolve?”

Danielle’s lower lip begins to quiver. “I’m doing it as fast as I can,” she whimpers, “but what with the constant barrage of requests from everyone all the time and these incessant bloody meetings I just can’t focus.” She starts to cry.

“There, there, dear,” says Hazel, putting a sympathetic arm around Danielle’s shoulder.

“Barrage of requests – what a joke,” John pipes up, “all you do all day is sit on Facebook.”

“That’s not true!” Danielle protests. “And anyway, it’s not like you can talk! You’re always playing games on your computer. It’s a wonder any of the accounting gets done at all.”

“That’s true,” Sadie says without looking up from her nails. “You do play a lot of games on your computer John. Pot and kettle come to mind.”

John’s broken capillaries flare up like beacons on the hillocks of his cheeks. “I don’t have to sit here and take these accusations!” He stands up and slams a hand down on the table, leaving a sweaty hand print on the glass. Without another word he storms out of the office.

“And nor do I!” Danielle retorts. “I’ve got a bloody communications strategy to write!” She turns and flounces out of the office after John.

“Oh dear,” says Hazel, “I only wanted some new stationery…”

“Sadie,” Derek says, rising from his chair, “kindly tell all staff to desist from scheduling pointless meetings for the indefinite future. And,” he adds over his shoulder, “make a note to check the filters on the computer system.”