Why Is The Tablecloth Not Straight?

Saturday 14 December, 2002

At 08:45 I began tidying the house. Dev arrived at 09:00, Ishwar at 09:30 and Priya at 09:50. At 10:00 we had an hour’s supervision. Karaj pointed out that we are not ready. Dev was in a meeting two days ago and missed the opportunity to sell the work we do here because he is not prepared. We have not written up the work we have done and we are not focused enough to recognise and be able to take opportunities when they come our way. Too passive.

Preparing the food with Dev and Ishwar, I was more in charge than usual. Also more focused; and able to challenge both Ishwar and Dev on their lack of verbalisation and negativity respectively. I pursued Ishwar and felt empowered as a result. The beginnings of a much more challenging day. Toward the end, with the final preparations for lunch, I isolated myself when I could have involved Ishwar and Dev. Seeing this I resolved to stay closer to them and be more involved with them for the remainder of the day.

For the rest of the afternoon we worked on our respective yearly appraisals. I finished mine but annoyed myself at times by creating doubt in my mind about its quality, telling myself it’s not good enough, when the truth is, it’s more realistic and true to myself than last year’s. It’s a truer reflection of where I am.

One learning point from today is that I have been sharper and more focused in recent days and I have been eating less too. This shows just how draining food is. Remember the end of my 3-day fast when I sat with Karaj and felt so alive and focused.

We joined the Women’s Group for an hour in the early evening, where we looked at Ishwar’s issue of not communicating his thoughts and feelings and that, therefore, no-one trusts him. He needs to verbalise where he is.

At 20:00 Simran arrived. He was feeling low but within ten minutes he had cheered and woken up. We had energy and I was on the ball, as I have been all day. This is what energises me: being focused, present and contributing in a serious way, which also allows me to joke where appropriate.

We spent an hour brainstorming the liability of and the threats to group members. This was accompanied by a rallying of the troops prior to joining the women’s group again. Ishwar had been nervous all day about being involved with the women, Dev and Simran have a habit of disappearing too, and I take Karaj’s comments even more personally when women are present. I reminded each man what they needed to be aware of: Simran’s voice and contribution; Ishwar verbalising; and Dev not getting jokey and cocky. But I had to ask them for their contribution to me: don’t take things personally, don’t get emotional or go into CES. They are too willing to be led. So I will lead; for myself, not for them.

All the preparation beforehand was lost in the first challenge: ‘Why is the tablecloth not straight? Sort it out.‘ Karaj kept me out of it and, before my eyes, all the teamwork of the day disappeared as the men competed with each other and tried in vain to impress the women. The learning points were that we have to learn how to be a woman in order to be men and that women can give us useful advice if we listen. Karaj wants the house decorated in such a way that women will think a woman has done it. Then we know we have done well.

At 23:30 we began tidying up. Everybody helped; how much easier it is than doing it alone, and how willing people are to work.

Summary: worked steadily throughout and built up momentum as yesterday. I have been sharp and focused and have linked learning points for Ishwar and Dev from this afternoon and evening to what happened this morning. This shows that I am awake. Moreover, I find it easy to do. Stay focused. (Stay lean.)


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