Personalise Challenges

Thursday 25 September, 2003

Karaj, Shona and I talked about last night’s session. Karaj said we’ve made a good start and the fact that he was not present meant that we could approach it gently, rather than with the intensity which typifies his work. The main learning point is to personalise challenges to the individual concerned. With Ishwar last night, when he told me just to talk about my pain I became frustrated because if it were that easy I would not have asked people to help me. My response was to equate his suggestion to asking Karaj to talk about the pain in his life, which he has been unable to do for years, up until this week.

The best way to approach it, however, is to personalise it to Ishwar. Ask for his to-do list, for example, because he is unable do a simple thing like bring a to-do list to the group, yet he is asking me to talk about my pain. That way, people have no excuses and nowhere to run. They have to hear you. I have been told this before (with Simran) so get on with it.

Michelle arrived in the early evening and an hour later Calvin phoned about his plan to come to the house tomorrow morning. When he phoned I was just about to write up my account of last night and was slightly annoyed that I had been interrupted by a phone call. However, I took the opportunity and challenged Calvin on his lack of presence here. I told him he has a reputation for it and that he should come here at 09.00 tomorrow and be prepared to work and forge a new reputation for himself.

He mentioned that Karaj always says he defends his boss, and then went on to prove Karaj’s point. When I stated that he needs to stand up for himself against his boss – someone who referred him to a psychotherapist because she thought he was a dangerous man – his immediate response was, ‘Well, I have to thank her, otherwise I wouldn’t have met Karaj.’ Need I say more?

I recorded the events from the previous evening. I thought it was going to be tough to recall and record but it just flowed and flowed. Challenging Calvin freed me to get this down in one go. There is so much to write about at the moment and I am really enjoying writing about my experiences and learning points. I am enjoying the way I express myself, too.

During an extended break, I talked with Michelle about the way different people summarise their day: Simran, Calvin, Priya, Michelle, Harriet. There is too much detail, too much emotion, or too much hesitation. Seeing these things in others allows me to learn and grow. For instance, I see in Priya how I used to give feedback; and with Harriet I see where I got my old habit of packing my feedback with emotion which, when I see it in others, now just makes me cringe.

It was way past midnight when Karaj and Simran returned in the van, having delivered some furniture to Priya’s house. Michelle’s car was in the way and I blamed myself for this. Karaj was mad with Michelle for still being here, and he and I ended up shouting at each other. I then shouted at Simran for not having checked the message I left him (he hadn’t actually received it.)

Karaj parked the van, came in and told me there was no need to shout at him because he wasn’t mad with me. We all sat and talked. Karaj highlighted to Michelle that, once again, she had overstayed her welcome and that it could quite easily have repercussions with Karaj’s wife. He then challenged Michelle and Simran about their respective confusion and contribution to me last night.

After the others had left, I chatted further with Karaj in the sunken garden. He is seeing everything these days and he just doesn’t want to know. He wants to be left alone to walk his straight path but he is being shown (or is seeing) everything about everyone.

Summary: I felt very tired from yesterday’s session but Karaj and I accomplished a lot today. I worked well this evening to record everything and get my appraisal up to date. I enjoyed Michelle’s company – we had good conversations – although she did infuriate me with her inability to find or even try to find the switch on the printer despite having been given precise co-ordinates. Another full day.


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