I'm sitting in a place right now of wishing I'd done better in a recent conversation that spanned a couple of days and included a phone call with some follow up emails. I'm wishing I'd kept my cool, witnessed the sensations instead of reacting from that place. I felt the sensations coming up and I considered not acting but I chose to share what was on my mind and now I'm sort of sorry that I did. I remember one of the key lessons I got from the Landmark Forum was that being right is a very lonely place. I realize I've been spending some time being right and it serves me in that it helps me get my own thoughts straight in some cases, but it really isn't a good place to communicate from and I've been doing some communicating from that place the past couple of days.
I've seen the circles of "something happened" and "what I'm making it mean/my story about what happened" like shadows but they didn't come to the forefront in time for me to not react to the situation as though what happened is what I'm making up. And what I tend to make up is stuff about myself that doesn't feel good, like I'm too this or too that, and I go and make up stuff about other people as though they're too this or too that, and it's not a nice way to feel. On top of it, I then treat the other person as though my story is true, and even if it didn't start off that way, through my powers of making it seem that way, it sure ends up being true and then I can be right some more and the cycle continues.
(There's a quick video here. Click on See it in Action and then click on the woman with the white necklace.)
I know better. I know it's not a great way to exist. And yet, I'm a bit out of practice and I didn't have it in me to do it the way I could have. So I'm trying to forgive myself for falling into the trap I laid out for myself. I'm trying to return to the "what's so" so I can be present, where things are always manageable. Where I'm left right now though is quite sad and more than a bit isolated.
So what do you do when you notice there's a breakdown? You first of all acknowledge it. "I had a breakdown in my communication!" What do you do then? Restore your integrity. "It is not my intention to make other people wrong for how they are. My plan is to be open, to not collapse what happened with what I make it mean, and just stop making stories up, especially ones that don't work for me." You can also notice the impact it has on other people when you do that. "Wow, when I make up stuff about what happened, I'm not listening to you. I'm not present to you. And that creates distance when what I really want is connection." And then you continue with your commitment/integrity restored. "You can count on me to listen. And I will acknowledge when I'm not and restore my intention."
It's a lot like yoga. Notice where you feel the sensations and breathe into them. Allow them to be there.