The Pitfalls Of Trying To Fit In

Thursday 7 March, 2002

07.25 E&M 30 mins. Continued living in the moment, being with whatever I am doing in every moment. It is simple, easy, fun and effective. Karaj and I worked for most of the day on Newsletter 10. We produced the most polished newsletter yet. Both the content and the presentation are very impressive.

In the evening I asked Karaj whether he has noticed a difference in me over the last day and a half. His answer was simple, ‘That’s Child ego state. What is your assessment and what are your criteria?’. I told him that I am trying to live in the moment and I am not only finding it easier than expected, it is also a peaceful way to live my life. There is no internal turmoil or resentment when I am committed to the moment and I find that I am highly effective. He agreed. This is the way to check my progress: don’t ask people for their feedback, just give mine and listen to whatever comments are made on it.

Men’s group

Robert was challenged that he had mothered Dev and potrayed a negative image of Dev commuting to work this week as a result of leaving his car here last Sunday. Robert had spoken to me on Wednesday saying that Dev is having a tough week travelling to and from work on the bus. Yet when I spoke to Dev he told me he was enjoying the experience and the time to think and be with himself. This was a good example of Robert putting his own (negative) interpretation on things without knowing the truth.

George talked about the pleasure of walking to work each morning and the people he sees on his journey. He saw the old lady this week who often greets him with the question, ‘What day is it today?’. This time she had also asked him what she should be doing today. George hadn’t given much of an answer and Karaj challenged him to come up with an answer which could have brightened up her life and made him feel good too – a win-win answer. We took a break for George to consider.

After the break he still could not think of anything so Karaj left it and returned to it later in the evening. Each time he did so George was unable to give any answer. I found this strange; how difficult could it be to put a smile on somebody’s face? My own answer to the old lady’s question was, ‘It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you enjoy yourself’. By the end of the evening George was still without a suitable answer. Karaj later explained that this was allied to George’s inability to give effectively.

On Karaj’s invitation I talked about the week I have had since Sunday and the question of commitment. We all have commitment – but commitment to what? As Karaj said, ‘Exist for yourself, learn who you are (how you mess yourself up) so that you can then relate.

Sunil passed round two photographs of himself – one just before he was sent to England and one just after. In the first he looked like a crown prince in his cultural dress, but with a vacant look on his face. In the second he was pictured with his sisters, but he was out of focus. Very interesting because he is still vacant and out of focus.

Karaj – ‘If I had someone who supported me the way I support Robert, I would be so happy and I would follow them blindly.

Karaj – ‘It’s our attachment to dramas and tragedies which makes our lives complicated.

An Air Of Seriousness

Robert has had his stolen documents returned by his wife’s solicitor. Among the papers were all the stories we wrote for the Sicily workshop. An air of seriousness descended on the group as we considered the implications of our private thoughts and writings being seen and photocopied by lawyers and psychologists. I was not particularly bothered by it but I felt obliged to show some concern, thinking that I was probably being complacent, arrogant or stupid in not taking this seriously. I said nothing at the time but when I mentioned it in summing up at the end of the evening I was challenged fully and unexpectedly by Karaj.

Karaj challenged Robert for allowing his wife access to his (and our) private papers. Robert argued back unnecessarily, admitting his tendency to test things to destruction and stating that he will continue to test Karaj. Karaj told him to stop fantasising and asked him how we can trust him anymore. He has let us all down. Karaj added that it is all very concerning and extremely serious. He told Robert to consult his lawyer and asked Dev to investigate the implications of it all. He told us all to look into ourselves for a solution to the problem. He continued, saying we should note down how often and for how long this issue occupies our thoughts and how it affects us.

Karaj asked Leon and Calvin, the two Englishman, to offer their comments on the situation. Leon aired his appreciation of Karaj’s procedures. He said that he has seen Karaj over the last few months make sure that he has all the protagonists in his sights and has dealt with Robert’s issue and the letters he himself has received from one of his peers on the subject with professionalism and craft, telling Karaj that he is thorough, methodical and proactive. Karaj thanked him for his supportive words.

A Challenge From Nowhere

Karaj invited me to go first in the final round and I said that the evening had been an eventful and an enjoyable one. It was late and everyone was tired but Karaj still pounced on the word ‘eventful’. I explained that whilst I am not particularly concerned by the theft of my Sicily stories, it does concern me that the documents are in the possession of people who are focused on negativity – the bitterness of the divorce, and Robert’s wife’s attitude in particular.

From nowhere, it seemed, Karaj challenged my view, telling me that everything was positive and relaxed. I was so taken aback by this, especially considering Karaj’s initial, emotional reaction to Robert’s issue, that I dug a deeper hole for myself saying that my documents were being viewed by people who are living under the black cloud of divorce and spite. Such negativity! And all because I had tried to fit in with people’s seriousness and concern. Karaj added that after the initial reactions everything had settled down and could now be viewed as positive, yet here was I dredging up all the negativity again. I didn’t know what to think anymore so I shut up.

I returned home reeling slightly from Karaj’s challenge and annoyed with myself for setting it all up by trying to fit in and not standing firm with who I am – I had looked for a reason to be serious (and negative). Another lesson learned.


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