From Resentment To Appreciation

Saturday 28 June, 2003

Four of us went for breakfast. I felt annoyed at the prospect of the day. I don’t want people around. Although if I were alone I’d probably still be annoyed. When I mentioned it, Karaj responded by saying: ‘The day you stop being annoyed with these people is the day we can move on. You need to be fully focused on yourself.

Everyone else arrived and we sat together for the first session of the day (Karaj, Priya, George, Shona, Michelle, Ishwar, Dev, Calvin and me). During the check-in George read his garden story about getting involved in the buckets. He recalled the hard work, effort and teamwork and as we sat in the clients’ room listening I looked at Imogen’s painting of the garden. It was good to listen to the story and to look at the results of our work. That’s it, I thought – remember the pain, look at the results and keep going. This will sustain us (me!).

Priya was challenged. She takes answers but does no work herself and so does not progress. I need to keep talking about where I am because if I don’t I’ll disappear into myself, get withdrawn and annoyed.

We then spent nine hours in the garden, digging the utility block floor further down and repairing the sewage pipe. I made sure people talked to each other and got fully involved in the work. I felt quite good physically so I asked for people’s support to make sure I did not overdo it today. We dug 500 buckets from the utility block. I reflected that, being involved again with bucket work, I have come full circle from three years ago, but I have learned so much in that time. The digging process has not changed and I just have to keep doing what I know works in order to continue to grow.

We dug the pipe out to find that it was broken in two places. There began an elaborate construction made of flower pots, sealant, tar, aluminium sheet, polythene and cable ties, to create a temporary pipe until we can fix it properly. It took a tea break for us all to step back and work out (very quickly) how we could solve the problem as effectively as possible given the limited time and the limited resources.

By this time I was in a lot of pain with my groin and back (the sharp groin pain went right down into my knee). I verbalised this to Karaj and he told me to get changed and have a shower. I could not stand anymore and so rested for a while before having a shower. I felt the familiar frustration at the debilitating nature of my pain, but at the same time I know it has been a lot worse in the past.

I returned and ate with the others. It was good to be in their company. Being alone and in pain is no fun, but I was struck by how good it felt to be with the others. I appreciated their presence. In the past I have felt resentful at others’ health and fitness and have remained alone and withdrawn in a kind of sulky ‘rescue me’ way. Not this time.

In the final session, Karaj worked quickly through people’s agenda items so we could all go home to bed. Unfortunately, because of the delay caused by the broken pipe, we will all have to meet again tomorrow to get the rest of people’s agenda items sorted. By this time I did not care because it was midnight and I just wanted to go to bed. Although the worst of the pain had subsided by this point, I could still not walk properly.

People left and, after a brief chat with Karaj about the work we did today, I sat alone and read the paper for a while. There was nothing of interest but I need time to myself once everyone has gone. It’s priceless and it almost doesn’t matter what I do with it.

Summary: I have come a long way since this morning: from resentment to appreciation. I need to watch my body, especially towards the end of the day. Worn out.


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