Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Routine Visits with the Inner Critic

Today was the start of getting back to routine. I worked from home, conducting or joining four meetings throughout the day. Spent a fair bit of that time showing users how to use tools. Some of the time was devoted to clarifying some questions about automated messages a tool will send out and in the late afternoon I was able to settle into some productive coding.

It felt good getting back into routine today. I enjoyed sitting in my little room with my headset on, laptops both handy, and plugging away at my projects. Zonker came upstairs around noon and kept me company for the rest of the day. When I got a chance to grab some lunch Phoebe came and lay on her back beside me while I at, patting me with her paws so I would rub her belly. I missed being around CK, I've come to realize that her energy around me, even when she's working on her projects, just feels good to me.

I'd thought about going to Dishman for a swim this evening, but at 5:50 I was just wrapping up a couple of code changes, fixing some bugs. I went downstairs and helped AM make some Thai style curry for dinner; chopping veggies for the pan. It was a nice, companionable to be chatting while making dinner together.

I've spent the evening writing about the fun Friday CK and I shared in Eugene. I also tried playing a bit with the layout and look of this blog. AM have watch episodes of Top Gear, DW has been off babysitting for some friends. I also wrote to my teacher.

At the New Year's party I had laughed when my teacher forgot my name. Mere moments before I had been introduced to someone from the Dharma Rain Zen Center and had chatted with her for several minutes. When CK came up to us I found I was uncomfortable with the realization that in my nervousness I'd forgotten the new person's name entirely.

I was feeling the anxiousness of being in a room full of people I don't know very well, if at all. Tight tension across my chest and my mind feels scattered. Add to it the hum and murmur of many people chatting in a small, hard walled space and it is difficult for me to focus on things like names. It has improved in the years I've practiced with ZCO, coming to trust in the ways my complete self fits into my community, but it is still difficult.

When HB could not recall my name while introducing me to someone I felt so relieved at his humanity that I forgot that he's been troubled lately by forgetfulness. This is the kind of mindlessness that leaves me feeling mortified that I could be so thoughtless as to laugh. Who cares about my relief at the simple humanity of my teacher, it is all about my Inner Critic shaming me for not being perfect in remembering the potential uncomfortable spots for people.

In the past I'd have sat with my Inner Critic. Cringing away as my faux pas was replayed for me again and again. Letting the shame and guilt close my mouth and heart up tight. I'd have said nothing, avoided contact and hoped it would eventually be forgotten, not used to punish me.

Instead I wrote HB an email this evening. I am not sure if I wait until Thursday to very rightly apologize in person I'd be able to do it. Too many days of hearing nothing but my Critic's voice. The email leaves a bridge for me to say something on Thursday, now that it is sent.

What I realized is that I'm not perfect compassion. I forget sometimes because the anxiety can leave me so clouded. Other people forget sometimes too.

I appreciate my teacher for what he teaches me. I know that I appreciate his humanity immeasurably.

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