This morning I was watching a video at the Academy of Awareness called “The Patch.” In the video, Don Miguel Ruiz Jr told this story about his grandmother saying that her husband was like a patch. She could sew him on or cut him off. He was nothing more then a path. As he talked about it, I found myself thinking about how for some people I am nothing more then a patch. For me, those in my life are nothing but a patch. A patch is just that. It is an object. Whether I attach meaning to it or not, is about me. How I react to it or feel about it is about me. His story about the patch reminded me of a poem by Adrienne Rich called “prospective immigrants, please note.” There is a line in the poem that says, “The door itself makes no promises. It is only a door “whether I go through the door or not is about me. What I experience if I go through the door is about me. Whether I sew a patch on or not is about me.
People can say what they want. Whatever they say is about them. How we react is about us. I can remember a time in my life when whether my students thought I was a good teacher or not would affect how I felt about myself. Now, I understand I am just a teacher. Whether they think I am awesome or awful is about them. What is about me is how I feel about what they say... my emotions are a true statement about what I am feeling and who I am at that moment in time. what my mind says to me can either help me to use my emotions in a way that helps me understand why I am feeling what I am feeling and whether I want to continue to react that way or not.
Reactions too come from emotions. However, for me, reactions come from me responding to an action without the emotional processing and understanding. For example, if someone says I hate you. I might react by saying I hate you too. If I am listening to my emotions, rather then speak back, reacting, I might sit with how I feel and own those feelings. Then I can tell myself that person’s not liking you is about them. You do not have to react out of hate and anger. The other day, for example, I was talking to someone who was telling me how I had not done something and was frustrated with me for not having done something. I could have reacted back. However, I found myself laughing to myself. Why was I laughing? Because I realized this person had never read any of the emails I had sent them about why I could not do what she was angry with me for not doing. I could understand the stress they were feeling at the moment and knew that this too was about them, as other times my experience told me they did not react that way. Rather then react, I said I hear your frustration and this is what I have already done to rectify the situation. In the midst of the conversation, they realized they had never sent me the information to do what they had wanted me to do.
When I take the time to own my emotions and understand them, I find I laugh more at life and what it brings. I learn from what I am feeling about why I am feeling what I am feeling and what that tells me about who I am at that very moment in time. the more I can own my emotions, the more I understand that it is not the “patch” or the “door” or the “event”, it is me and what I do with it, the meanings I attach to it and what I choose to learn from it.