It’s nice to be back in California after a very exciting trip to my old college campus to do a keynote, my hometown to talk at a bookstore and the nation's capitol to do an in-house training.
Reflecting back on my tour there were many great moments I will always relish and one that even challenged me to grow and practice what I teach.
When I stood up to embark on my journey and step off of the plane, a man in front of me didn’t leave his seat, so I nodded at him, and slowly proceeded to walk forward.
Suddenly I heard that man shout, “ Hey man how about letting people in front of you leave first” as I felt a hand angrily push my back and I was swept forward by its force.
Man, did that trigger me. I immediately was transported to junior high school as old feelings in my body returned. It was as if I was just pushed by older bullies who pushed me in the cafeteria line. It reminded me that you never know when an old memory, still alive in your cellular memory will resurface. Well, mine sure did and I must admit to you, for several moments I had thoughts of pushing him back and much much worse, as if I would be pushing back all of the bullies from my past.
After several moments of seething anger and having a few fantasies of pushing this man onto the baggage claim wheel with the luggage, I thought to myself, “ These thoughts are not doing anything but making me more stressed”, so I stopped and took a few deep breaths and asked myself, “What would the Dalai Lama do in this situation?”
I sat down and listened inside and came up with, “I am going to be compassionate and understand that this man must be very angry and sad in his life, to explode so quickly”, so I went up to him and shared,” I am truly sorry. I thought you were staying on the plane. I didn’t intentionally get off before you. Sorry” He returned my apologies with, “ F you man, whatever” and his body was screaming for an excuse to fight. For a moment it was as if I never left junior high and guys like him who were so angry that they would do anything to fight. Many familiar feelings came flooding into my body as I looked into his aggressive angry eyes.
So I decided to walk away and for several moments see-sawed between thoughts of compassion and wishing I was a black belt expert so I go back and chop him up and get revenge for all the kids who ever got picked on or pushed by a bully. Wow, my mind had so many scary cinematic episodes, all in about 2 minutes. Before I left the airport, I sat down and breathed deeply until I felt calm and ready to let go.
This incident once again confirmed to me how many cellular memories live inside of us and can be triggered at any time. The key is what we do when they arise. In my mind only, I got close to taking out revenge for past bully incidents, but fortunately, I chose compassion and to let go…and it was not easy.
And by the way, as I left the airport, I also thought “Now this would make an interesting blog to share as I bet others go through incidents like this.”
I would love to hear from you about this.
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