Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Compromising.

While in the process of packing and cleaning our tent at Burning Man last September, I "borrowed" my best friend's Osho Zen Tarot cards. I consult the deck fairly regularly for graceful wisdom and am often visited by a few of the same cards. No card haunts me as much as the 6 of Rainbows: Compromise. Here's a clip from the commentary:
"The two figures on this card remind us of the sleazy and conspiratorial situations we can get into when we compromise our own truth. It is one thing to meet another halfway, to understand a point of view different from our own and work towards a harmony of the opposing forces. It is quite another to "cave in" and betray our own truth. If we look deeply into it, we usually find that we are trying to gain something--whether it is power or the approval of others. If you are tempted, beware: the rewards of this kind of compromise always leave a bitter taste in the mouth."

These two fine fellows visit me so frequently because I am so very apt to compromise. Disappointing people can elicit my anxiety, so I tend to be agreeable, which carries risk when one considers what can result from saying "Yes." For instance, awhile ago I agreed to eat ice cream when I wasn't feeling it and I still remember how sick I felt afterwards. In that moment, I recall thinking how ridiculous it was to do something so trivial that I didn't want to do. There are reasonable compromises that people make, but when the compromises become compromising, it's time to reevaluate.

On Sunday nights I pull a card for inspiration and insight for the upcoming week. Last Sunday Compromise surfaced yet again to inform my choice making, and as usual, was a strikingly accurate indicator of the ways in which I would be grown. By the end of the week, I had found myself alternately making healthy choices that respected my deepest held truths and ending up in a situation so vulnerable that I made a compromising choice to keep myself safe. It is debatable how unsafe I actually was. At the time I felt like my choices were extremely limited, and I am attempting to respect the in-the-moment feeling to prevent self-loathing for the choice made. All the same, I was ultimately reminded of a lesson already learned: Why do things that you are not 100% comfortable with? Like my friend Dave likes to ask, "If you're not doing what you want to do, what are you doing?"

Recently I wrote about how important it is to make bold choices, that it's better to regret what you did than what you didn't do. When it comes to doing what you don't want to do, though, no regrets in passing things by. Example: I'm totally psyched that I've never tried coke. On my deathbed I will not be thinking, "Aww man, I wish I had done coke with my friend that one time we were watching Showgirls together." Here is one moment among many where a resounding, "No," is right on.

When I look back at the things I do regret, I can see that they were all a result of ignoring my truth and doing what didn't feel quite right. And for what? To be "nice" and agreeable? To avoid someone else's disappointment? Here's a radical thought: I will do what I want, get to feel good about all my choices and let all those who are disappointed handle their own feelings. After all, it is they who have the need and it is not always appropriate, necessary or healthy for me to fill it.

No, I will not do coke with you. I can't handle feeling that sleazy. But you want to do some yoga with me? It's on, honeylove.

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