Saturday, January 08, 2011

Anger cannot be overcome by anger. If a person shows anger to you, and you show anger in return, the result is a disaster. In contrast, if you control your anger and show its opposite--love, compassion, tolerance, and patience--then not only will you remain in peace, but the anger of others also will gradually diminish.

The Dalai Lama

As I read this quote, I felt as if this is exactly how I need to respond to some difficult people in my life. It's amazing in it's simplicity...do the opposite of how you might feel (anger/fear) and listen with compassion/love. It does take stepping back and not jumping in with your gut reaction.

I found this quote from one of my favorite books on understanding oneself as well as others. It's called "Thank you for being such a pain". I can't recommend this book enough as there are some really handy insights and methods for dealing with life.

Oddly, when I was an atheist/agnostic I got this book. I liked it's inclusivity of religions and non-religious aspects. Now, that I'm Episcopalian, I find I like it even more. Maybe, it's also a sign of growth, but there seems to be some real hands on things I can learn from it (and am trying to do so).

I remember when I was a kid and our aunt, Auntie Dimka, came over from Bulgaria. She had been living with us off and on. And as the years went by, there were all sorts of arguments as well as fights. As I got older, I noticed she would say all sorts of things that weren't very polite or thoughtful. At first, I wanted to be upset like my mom but it would be easy to just be upset and hold a grudge. I couldn't do that knowing as I loved my aunt...even when she was different. One of her things that made her different was she said she had the gift to prophecy. She could see the future and interestingly, if she had any angry feelings about you, some how, God would tell her your future. And it wasn't good. lol Thinking back on this now, I wish I had listened more to her dreams (these things always came in her dreams) and they were usually very detailed and elaborate (heaven was decked out in fine silks, gold stuff and so on). Well, she would say all this stuff and it bugged the heck out of my parents (and some other relatives). Eventually, she moved to OK as she said that was the safest place to be and she would be content living there. She said this, because she had a dream that CA was going to fall off into the ocean. And she was happy for a time.

Now, we find out she has dementia and is in a nursing home. Before finding this out, she was reunited with her daughter after 30 years (my aunt had left her behind in Bulgaria when she came in the 70's). Her daughter and granddaughter came to the US and she was thrilled. Of course, after a time, she started saying the same things and they didn't like her view. I don't know if it was partially dementia or else a combination of trying to control people and dementia, but I do think it is sad that she is left in OK (her daughter and granddaughter moved to CA without her). I can't say it makes my cousin look very nice either...But I do know, that if people just responded to my aunt with love and compassion, they might defuse a lot of that tension/control. I miss my aunt as I feel she had a hard life and had to make some really horrible decisions in the hopes of a better existance.

I guess I sort of wish people would do this with my dad too. It makes me sad that so many people forget he's been through a lot as well. All I can do is pray.

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