THINK ABOUT THE following words: frustrated, annoyed and angry.
Now imagine more intensity! I was livid and I was furiously angry.
And I didn't know it.
I walked into the coffee shop, immediately scanning the room for anyone I might possibly know. Stopping abruptly, I felt annoyed, thinking that our city was more like a town. Turning and looking up, the line up before me was to the door. I sighed, knowing it would be a long and arduous wait.
I looked down at my watch and then glared at the person at the front of the line. She was waving her ghastly pale hands in what looked like a panic. Why was she taking so long? How many questions can one person ask? Shouldn't the person taking their order speed up the process?
The next person in line was one of those vest wearing trend setters, with his curly tipped moustache. How could his boots be so filthy while his facial hair meticulous?
We shuffled forward like chain-gang convicts, clinking along in unison. Four new people joined us, as the rest of us turned and stared them up and down. Tourists, I thought! They were probably first timers here. They weren't supporters of this local purveyor of fine grounds of coffee, no, they were just trying to be trendy and be able to tell their friends they were here. Tourists!
Time slowed as I waited impatiently until finally only two more remained in front of me - finally, I could order! I turned, looking back towards the exit to see how little I'd moved and in walked a familiar face. He, too, scanned the scene around him. I leaned forward, sticking my chest out and being as tall as I could, as his head turned towards me, almost at me...and then past me. He didn't see me at all. Deflated, I sank my hands deep into my pockets, fingering bits of lint nervously. My posture sagged, with all my weight suddenly shifting forward. Doing one last about face in the hope of being affirmed, I watched in devastation as he locked eyes with another and they visually nodded and exchanged pleasantries.
I was invisible.
What the hell, I scream internally as my brain fired back up. He had to have seen me - he looked right at me. My searing eyes rifled back and forth between the apparent long lost friends as they mouthed words to each other. I swiveled my torso defiantly whirling my body away from them, my head fallen now. I looked down at my feet wishing I had my mobile to distract me from my tormentors. How could I have left it in the car! I gazed around the room convinced that my humiliation was on display for all to see - and all at the hands of these two bosom buddies.
I lifted my head up conscious of my stupor as the girl at the till repeated, "Hi, can I take your order?” In judgment, I wondered: why people do notbegin social engagements with simple pleasantries like "Good morning!" or even "Hello" before entering into dialogue?
"I'll have a cinnamon bun", I said, looking back through the finger print covered glass, further agitated as she picked the smallest one in sight. My temperature was increasing as was my RECALCITRANCE. My body was like a furnace, I peeled my jacket off, disheveling my pressed shirt. Then, to my horror, I could sense my face reddening as I searched for my credit card. Not in my inside pocket, outside ones... dammit, it was with my phone in the car! I leaned forward to plead my case to avoid the verdict of stupidity - she smiled awkwardly as I turned to race to my car.
I, hastily, bumped into the person behind me, as I dashed towards the exit - and it was a good friend, of whom I had missed in my preliminary scanning of the room. I gasped, now further embarrassed, promising to return shortly, half apologizing while rushing to the door.
Squeezing into the seat, I slammed the door.
Locked the door.
And then proceeded to violently hit the steering wheel with my fists.
I looked up at the sun visor, my eyes filling with tears. I pulled down the visor emptying the hastily stored receipts and papers onto my lap. My chest heaved as I slammed the visor up and down in exasperation. Why was this morning so muddled? Since when was I this negative! It seemed like a bad dream. I tilted my head back and gazed upwards out of the sun roof begging God, like a child, for a do-over.
As I paused, my morning flashed in my mind; I realized I had sprinted from the moment I woke until then - just one rushed, mindless action after another.
This was my life.
This seemed to perfectly explain my constant spinning wheels.
I took a few deep breaths and exaggerated the exhales. It felt as if with each breath taken in I was becoming more peaceful and with each laboured breath out - poisoned mindsets were exhausted from my depths. Something happened in that moment, something lovely and something profound. It was as if my paradigm was exchanged for a renewed attitude and perspective. A metamorphosis! I stepped out of the vehicle feeling refreshed. I looked back to the passenger seat and left my mobile where it rested, this time on purpose!
AS I LOOKED AROUND, at peace and not in a rush, the renewed David noticed the warming, enriching Son. And more so, that the sun, in its glory, was casting shadows on buildings. The illuminated trees, light posts and vehicles all silhouetted against the vintage wall of brick buildings. It looked like a shrinking bar graph the further it extended away from me. I took a deep breath, and held it for a moment realizing the air was so fresh, clean and the morning remarkably crisp. Walking back into the coffee shop, I immediately noticed the aromas: bitter strong flavors of coffee and hints of the sweetness of pastries. I felt the surge of air rush into my face as the door swung open. My senses were on fire.
The line, much to my pleasant surprise had dissipated to only a few people and I heard music. A gentle symphonic tune. It was Anton Bruckner: Symphony No.4 in E-Flat Major (R).
I fondly looked around as I glided forward with Anton's music carrying my feet. My city, my coffee shop, my fellow patrons - I could see and think clearly now as everything was magnified in new light. A beautiful light. Almost like a light illuminating the world before me.
Mr. Bruckner's symphony was building in intensity, yet my heart rate was slowing. What was going on here? It felt like I was in a carefully choreographed movie scene. The line I was tethered to was moving along fluidly, as was my mind. What would be next...
Looking from side to side, people seemed to be gazing at me, almost star-struck and smiling. The light shone in through the windows and shimmered off my shirt buttons as if to assure me that I was as valuable as they were. Value: something of importance, worth, and vital use. I felt beloved.
I SEARCHED THE ROOM once again and this time saw the person who, earlier, was at the front of the line waving her hands about, but was now sitting with a companion. Her sleeves were now rolled back and her arms were long and elegant, like how I imagined a ballerina's would be. Her peaked color, now illuminated by the sun, was radiant. Her hands now moved with the music. One arm motioning in the air as the other moved side to side. I was enchanted at her stunning grace as she appeared to be conducting Anton's work.
I looked around the room for my curly tipped mustached friend; he was preening and twisting his coarse bristles to perfection in the coveted corner seat.
My perceptions were elevated as the symphony approached its crescendo and I was in touch with something much greater than myself!
I looked around for the familiar face - locking eyes with me, he spoke through his gaze, communicating that he wanted to say hi before he or I left. His long lost friend smiled at me, clearly longing to meet me, but that would have to wait for another day as I would not interrupt the magnificence of what was happening to me. As I combed the room, my head was now up, proud, confident and I certainly did not want or need my mobile means of distraction. I, for once, did not want to tune out from this majesty! Reaching the register girl she interrupted her general introductory question with a genuine, "Hi, welcome back", before I could say anything, she told me that the person behind me had paid for my order and left. Well, my cinnamon bun tasted fresher than ever before.
I marveled at the course of events that had just unfolded and pondered if I had anything to do with this and if so, what could I do to sustain such a feat:
1. Wear big bright hats to be noticed more easily.
2. Learn to read lips so you ACTUALLY know what people are saying about you.
3. Never yell at a counter person.
But no, this wasn't about me, this wasn't about self, this was about the advent of something greater than me, myself and I. I contemplated my earlier powerlessness and the futility of my life and became suddenly still. I was in awe of the boundaries of my human existence. I couldn't feel noticed, respected and valid unless I knew who I was, where I was going and where I came from. I resolved, right then and there, at the barista's station, that from that day forward, I would commit to making the time to pause and reflect each day. I would extend the necessary effort to be aware that life does have an ultimate meaning and its fulfillment comes from the promise of something beautiful to meet us right where we're at.
The Truth is, I was born to be still, molded to pause and to reflect. Created to be filled, to be restored and sustained. The problem was that I never stopped. Ever.
SO, TO ME IN THIS REFLECTION:
X. Leadership is breaking off the lies.
The lies of what people think of me, believe about me or even say about me. The truth is, I am loved. I am good. And I am complete.
Y. Leadership is choosing the appropriate lens to look at life through.
I will see what I choose to see. I will think how I choose to think. If I believe me to be an heir to the throne, then I shall behave like a King.
Z. Leadership is believing the truth about ourselves and therefore, others.
I will lift others up where I would normally slander. I will honour instead of critique. I will reflect what I believe about myself and project that onto others, for we are all royalty although some may not know it yet.
I walked back outside to the car, took another deep breath and prepared mentally for the mission ahead of me.
Grace and peace,
Are you angry? Did you identify with the first part of the article? If so, you are not alone and you can rest, assured that there is hope. Hope sometimes comes with prayer, sometimes effort, diligence, perseverance - but often we only need a helping hand to move us to the next level.
I can be that helping hand for you.
Check out the following short excerpt on ANGER. It has very specific tools you can start using today to change behaviours you feel burdened to change.
Together, we can make lasting change that will impact the manner in which you think and behave. Your family, your workplace and your life will be changed for the good.
Let's make 2016 our year of hope. You can do it.