I’ve heard it said that if you don’t learn the lesson the first time, the Universe will give it to you again and again until you do learn it. Oprah describes this by saying that the lesson will arrive again; it’s just wearing a different pair of pants. It’s a good visual to remember.
Recently, I learned the hard way another aspect of the DO NOT PUSH lesson I wrote about in a previous posting. The lesson arrived in two different forms—one wearing skinny jeans and the other wearing pants made of wood and glass.
Let me explain.
I have a friend who is in a particularly difficult place right now. I am trying to understand exactly what is going on and have been peppering her with questions. I wanted to dig deep and help her see the light, but that‘s not what she needed at this time. Also, it was not my place to do this. I pushed so hard that I may have cracked her and broken the friendship.
Push, push, crack.
During this same week, I also broke a window.
We’ve had a stretch of unusually humid days for September in Minnesota. As a result, my back door has swelled and has been sticking quite badly. I’ve had to push fairly hard to get it open. The other day, I was a little too persistent and aggressive in pushing and my shoulder ended up going through the glass window of the door.
Push, push, crack.
My neighbor came down to look at the damage and said that hers had been sticking badly, too. But instead of forcing it open, she’s been letting it be and using the front door instead.
I wish I would have thought of that.
The door repair was an easy one. My good friend Norma’s husband Greg came over within a day to repair the damage. He did an amazing job and the new window looks better than the previous one.
As for the friendship, the repair work is all mine and it will not be so easy. I’m uncertain whether or not I will be able to mend what I have broken. It may be damaged beyond repair. I deeply regret what I’ve done.
Part of the problem is that sometimes my curiosity and inquisitiveness snowball into an avalanche of questions and I don’t always take the time to fully listen to the answers. One question sparks another and they come pouring out. I just keep digging and pushing.
The other problem is that my brain works more like an old dial-up connection rather than high speed internet. I do not always process things as quickly as I’d like to.
Add persistence to this mix and suddenly I’m pushing without thinking about the consequences. Not a great combination.
I realize now that my curiosity needs to be accompanied with a pause and deep, attentive listening. If I’d paused and really listened, I may have noticed that both my door and my friend were telling me to stop pushing and to let them be for now.
Pausing may have given me the awareness to wait for the humidity to drop and to use the other door instead.
And pausing and really listening may have given me the awareness to simply sit with my friend and hold space for her in her difficult time. Pushing my agenda was not what she needed. In pausing, I may have thought to simply ask,
What do you need from me right now?”
Then sat and listened with my ears, my eyes and my heart.