Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Tattoo, Yoga Guy and Healing Oneself

Today's blog will be one of my Three Things and a Belief exercises (click HERE for an explanation).  I want to see what sort of story my life has generated this week.

1) The Tattoo.

I have a fascination with tattoos.  I don't have one, myself.  When I was younger I remember there being a very strong social stigma associated with them.  There was a saying I heard when I was a kid that you should never trust anyone with two tattoos.  The reason is he might have been drunk and got the first one on a dare, which was forgivable, but the second one he had to go back for.  
My fascination with them stems from the fact that I think I "get" them, but can't think of anything I'd want on me.  They are a proclamation of something about you.  A totem that you want to carry with you, emblazoned into your skin.  At my cousin's recent funeral I met the wife of one of his grandsons for the first time.  She had a tattoo of her first born children on the back of her right shoulder.  I could see doing something like that, if I had a kid of my own.  
While on the shuttle bus at Comic-Con last week, a young lady sat next to me with a very interesting tattoo: 

It's a quote from Winston Churchill.  I liked it because it was not a typical tattoo by any means.  I don't think I've met anyone with a quote from a historical figure on them.  Also, it expressed something that I appreciated.  We've all heard the saying that the road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions.  But the road out of Hell...?  The only type of pavement that will get you out of there is determined perseverance.  
I've been reminding myself about this tattoo's message a lot this week, telling myself to keep going.  

2) Morning Yoga Guy

In the old TV show, Friends, there was a running reference to someone the characters could see across the street in his apartment, "Ugly Naked Guy."  Someone in the neighborhood they all knew about.  
I think I have someone like that in my neighborhood.  "Morning Yoga Guy."  I see him as I'm pulling out of my apartment's driveway every morning when I'm going to work.  He's standing out on the corner, at the end of the walkway to the apartment across the street.  I've seen him there numerous times, but only this week did I take notice of what he's doing.  
Every morning, when I drive past, he looks like he's doing something like the Sunrise Salutation.   It's that yoga move where you open your arms out and stretch back, then you lean into a series of deep stretches.  I do it myself, from time to time, when I'm feeling particularly tight, or before I start my stretching exercises after a long lay off.  
Morning Yoga Guy doesn't go through the whole Sunrise Salutation program.  I've not seen him do so yet.  But he does have his hands raised before him.  He looks like he's from India, with thick black hair, and skin the color of coffee with a couple of dollops of cream.  His eyes are closed as he leans his head back, facing the rising sun.  His attitude is prayerful, meditative.  This is not some mere morning exercise for him.  It's connected with something deep inside him.  
Friday, turning the corner past him, after getting my second good look at him, I found myself feeling better about my neighborhood.  Pasadena is a nice town for the most part, and I live on one of the nicer streets.  Not new or upscale.  But quiet, lined with trees, with a school at one end.  And, with at least one guy practicing his morning spirituality on the corner for the sun and all the world to see.  It made me feel like I lived in a place a bit on the funky side, if you know what I mean.  
I tried to think of other funkiness.  There is someone close by who plays the saxophone.  I've heard him or her play early in the mornings on the weekend.  Haven't heard it in a while come to think of it.  They might have moved out, which would be too bad.  A saxophone player as a neighbor is definitely a sign of positive funkiness.  
My neighbor below me has a keyboard, and I hear him working on compositions.  That's cool.  Musicians, especially struggling ones, have a degree of positive funkiness, too.  
I'd like to be funky.  I don't think I add much funkiness, though.  Being a writer has a funky flare to it, but it doesn't show very well.  I'm usually up before anyone else in my neighborhood is awake, and what they might see through my front window, me sitting at my computer, typing away, looks too much like what someone might do in an office.  
If my neighbors have a name for me, it's probably, "Funny Hat Guy."  Whenever I leave the house, I always wear my camouflage hat with the neck flap in the back.  That's not very funky, I don't think.  

3) Physician Heal Thyself.

I was talking with an associate of mine this week.  He has had a falling out with another person in that circle.  They used to get along well with each other.  Now they don't want to be in the same room with each other.  
I was taking to my associate, telling him how I thought he was mistaken about the motives he assigned to her actions, how he needed to talk with her to get the things he wanted done, etc.  At one point I started to tell him that sometimes, even if you think you are completely in the right, you needed to show contriteness and make the first move, otherwise you'll be cut off and isolated from others.  
It was while I was telling him this that I realized it applied to me as well.  
I've had my own falling out with people that I need to deal with.  My response was to cut our contact to the absolute minimum.  I needed to focus what I needed to do, I told myself.  I would be polite, beyond reproach in my conduct with them, but I wasn't going to go beyond that.  We've been in this minimal contact situation for about three weeks now.  
While telling this associate what I thought he needed to do, I realized that I needed to do the same thing.  That my advice to him applied to me as well.  
I hate feeling that I'm in the wrong.  I hate it when I think I've made a mistake.  But more than that, I hate leaving an error uncorrected.  And when I know something ought to be done, it bothers me when it isn't.  
You can insert a heavy sigh at this moment.  Imagine it came from me right after I listened to my own advice and decided I really needed to do something about it.  
So, I talked with the parties involved.  One at a time.  Each conversation when a bit differently.  I focused on explaining my actions, hoping to avoid apologizing I think.  I hate apologizing.  We started talking again.  It's not done.  But I've done what I ought to do.  
My belief: You gotta fight through.  
I complain about my job.  A lot.  It is stressful.  Things don't go the way I want them to.  I dream about winning the lottery (which I don't play, so it's more of a fantasy), or of having something I've written optioned for enough money that I can live without having a real job forever. There is a lot about my job that I would change if I could.  
Friends will sometimes tell me about openings at other companies, in other fields.  From my complaints, they think I am looking to get out ASAP.  To date, I have not followed up on any of these "opportunities."  I haven't been sure as to why before.  I think I might have an idea now.  
In my job, the things I have the most trouble with are those things that I know I'm not good at.  For instance, I have problems telling people what to do.  I don't like being told what to do.  My attitude is if you've given me a job to do, then tell me the result you want and I'll give it to you.  Unless I need training on some aspect of it, I'd prefer to get the parameters of how you want it to turn out and then have you leave.  Come back at the end of the day, and it'll be done.  
But as a manager, I need to tell people what to do.  I need to find a way to communicate what I want in a way that they feel and respond to the importance I believe it has.  I don't think I'm good at this.  I've tried various ways of getting my point across to my department as a whole and the employees individually.  With close to twenty people to oversee, this is hard.  
I want to fight through this, and the other problems I face.  I want to "fix this" in myself.  It's a deficiency.  It needs to be corrected.  It's like exercising in the hot sun.  I don't like doing it.  I don't like feeling I'm deficient at something.  The stress may end up killing me.  But I want...  I need to deal with it.  Might as well do it now, I suppose.  
I've reached my limit and haven't tried to combine these yet, but I'll do that on my own.  If it's any good, I'll post it here for you later.    


Anonymous AnnD said...

I think your hat is funky. I know you chose it because it's practical, but it screams 'free spirit'.

July 28, 2013 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger Erick Melton said...

Thank you, Ann. Now I need to get you to move in my neighborhood, or have you start a campaign to convince my neighbors of my head gear's funkiness.

July 28, 2013 at 5:12 PM  

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