16 April 2010

Learning (still) to let go

I’m not sure why this popped into my head, but it did. And unfortunately now the thought has become a free radical, taking up too much space in my consciousness while I should be concentrating on another far more important task. In my experience, the best way to banish a pesky thought is to write it down on paper; get it out of my head and put it elsewhere. OK, so electronic writing is not exactly the same, but it might work.

Cristy and I are going to a wedding on Sunday and the groom is a particular friend of mine. He has a large circle of friends, some of whom I know on a first name basis as acquaintances. I would recognize them if I saw them and would feel comfortable smiling and exchanging a sincerely pleasant greeting.

Once, a number of years ago, the groom-to-be and I went to hear a musical performance at a local venue. We took a seat at our table and chatted, waiting for the band. Two other individuals from his circle of friends entered the place and took a seat at the bar. My friend gave a slight wave and nod to both. Shortly afterwards, one of them walked over to our table and exchanged a quick greeting with my companion. I knew him by name, but had never had a personal conversation with him. I smiled as they spoke, looking at him, prepared to extend a warm hello. But to my surprise and utter humiliation, he abruptly turned and walked away without even acknowledging my presence. Not a nod, not a glance. It was the sort of snub that might be discussed for pages in a Jane Austen novel.

I think the blood was rushing through my ears and I could not quite hear if my companion attempted to make up a possible excuse for his friend’s rudeness. But, of course I did my best to brush the incident aside and focus on enjoying my evening.

I will likely never forget that stinging breach of manners and I suspect that this friend of the groom’s will be at his wedding. But of course, why wouldn’t he invite his friends? And the fact that he might be there makes me mildly uncomfortable. As though the same experience might repeat itself again. As though I will attempt to maintain a safe distance from this individual in order to avoid the opportunity to repeat the ugliness and shame.

In some step-oriented programs that focus on being-here-now, I might be accused of obsessing about a possible future event that may or may not happen. And that accusation would be true. By placing my consciousness in the future and permitting my imagination to cast a worst-case-scenario, I set myself up to choose a single outcome, from the millions of possible things that might happen. Furthermore, I choose to shift my focus away from the primary purpose of attending the wedding, sharing my friend’s joy, truly the only reason I want to go at all. But worst, I shift my focus away from the here and now. The tasks I should be attending to, the peace and happiness I could be percolating in my heart right at this moment.

Hmm. That’s better.


  1. " now the thought has become a free radical, taking up too much space in my consciousness while I should be concentrating on another far more important task."

    Free radical. I LOVE how you used those words!

    I so hear ya on this, because I would have reacted the same way. I've got this "thing" about rudeness when people don't acknowledge your presence in a group. Like you're invisable or something. I've had that happen several times.

    However, I think you've got the right attitude about attending the wedding.

    "sharing my friend’s joy, truly the only reason I want to go at all.'

    Right on!

  2. When those thoughts creep in, they're just there. Writing it out probably helped. Just decide how to respond to him if you see him (or NOT respond), and then go and have fun. It's hard to shake some people's rudeness. He doesn't sound worth wasting any more precious thought on.
    Enjoy the w/e!

  3. Hope you're able to get it out of your mind and you guys have a great time.

  4. Yeah, just release this from your brain and move on. This guy was probably all wrapped up in himself and whatever was going on in his head, and wasn't even aware that he did anything rude. Who knows, you may see him at the wedding and it will turn out he's a great guy!