We continue with an excerpt from Live in the Q – The Axiom for Work and Life, demonstrating that how we see others is a manifestation of who we are. And often times, who we are is not who we want to be!
Using the key hanging from his lanyard, Taz flew into the lobby to see Mrs. Rose at the front office reception desk. She was smiling at him. “Mrs. Rose! Thank heavens you’re real! Something crazy has happened and I need your help!” Mrs. Rose had been at the middle school forever, and Taz believed she should be retired by now. She doesn’t have the snap and decisiveness one should have in her role. She gets to Taz’ requests only after she’s finished with everything else–at least that’s how it seemed to Taz.
Fumbling for a sheet of paper in his bag, he said, “Mrs. Rose, I really need your help immediately this time, please! Can you get this copied and in my box for 1st period? I’ll have a student come down and get them.
“Mrs. Rose. Mrs. Rose!” But it was no use. As real as she might’ve seemed only seconds ago, she had now been Han-Soloed–frozen in cardboard carbonite.
“Fine. The kids can read silently first hour,” Taz mumbled to himself while whirling down the hall, with papers flying, blowing over cardboard people as he ran.
And then suddenly the whirling stopped… and Taz, now walking softly up to his classroom door, turned around slowly, and slid his back down smoothly to the floor. Defeated. Taz realized 4 yards back that the key to his room was somewhere between his front lawn and the long hallway. It had fallen off his lanyard AGAIN! (And how many times had he asked Ms. Petunia for a more efficient lanyard!)
Moving his surrendered gaze up from the tile to the cutouts that were either littering the floor or standing throughout the hallway, he saw a few people that he worked with, unmoving in various positions, strewn among the students.
There was Mr. Birch, the science teacher with a smile and a hand raised for a high-five. “Science teachers always get to be the funnest,” Taz thought to himself, “whether they actually teach the kids anything or not.”
And then there was Ms. Lily, “who can’t let go of a grudge, smiling all sweet-like at Mr. Willow, who never liked me from the first day we met,” Taz recounted to himself.
And way down the hall was Mrs. Daisy, “who’s always good for a laugh at staff meetings” but said to Taz recently that he’d be the perfect teacher to oversee the chess club. “I told her three years ago that I wasn’t good at board games!”
“And Ms. Daffodil can’t keep a secret and Mr. Cottonwood never used a single one of my ideas for spirit week and Doug Fir took the promotion I wanted…”
And then there’s Principal Alstroemeria-Delphinium, who was two dimensional only 10 feet away from his classroom! “Thank every Greek god that she’s cardboard right now because she absolutely cannot know I’m running late and lost my key in the same morning!”
Taz then turned to the motionless kids, counting all his ‘problem students’ from the rest he didn’t know. He was somewhere between 13 and 38 when he thought he heard some whistling down at the far end of the hall. He stopped and listened to make sure he wasn’t mistaken. Indeed it was real! Someone was walking his way, whistling and swinging a lanyard around her finger.
Ten echoing footsteps later he knew who it was! Weaving in and out of flat statues was Ms. Bird of Paradise–his one friend these days! She was new to the area this year and had somehow gotten on his good side early. It might’ve been the way she joked back at his sarcasm. Or that she non-judgmentally helped him with his filing. Maybe it was her story about living in 9 foster homes before graduating, but whatever the reason, he sure was happy to see her! (But not happy enough to run toward her.) “Be cool, be cool,” he said to himself. “Pretend this is something you see every day.”
Ms. Bird of Paradise came to where he was and only smiled.
“Hey Ms. BOP–nice to see you this morning. How are you?”
Ms. BOP’s sudden laugh could be heard throughout the building. “How am I?” She questioned before laughing again. “Oh, you can always make me laugh, Mr. Dev.” And then she got down closer to where he was, and looking him in the eyes she said with kindness he needed right now, “I think the question is how are you?”
Taz couldn’t fake it any longer. The casual-but-tough-guy persona he was so good at using, wasn’t available this time. He struggled to say the words, and looked up to the ceiling to keep the tears from leaking out. “I think I’m having the worst day of my life, and it’s not even 8:30 a.m.”
With a smile Ms. BOP nodded, and then said, “I’ve noticed you a lot this year Taz. You seem to deal with more of your share of difficult relationships. I’m wondering if you’re ready for some help.”
With his ‘white flag’ in the shape of lined paper resting on the tile beside him, and knowing that the troubled feelings he’d been living with for far too long we’re worse, not better, he bravely confessed, “I am.”
“Well, that’s what I wanted to hear,” Ms. BOP said, right before her smile beamed as brightly as the sun.
Helping Taz back to his feet, she said out loud, “This [Me-Zone] vision has a cure!”
“Excuse me, Ms. BOP–this what?”
“Don’t you worry Mr. Dev. You’ll understand soon enough.” And with his bag on her shoulder, and motioning for him to follow, she smiled warmly and said with a wink, “I know a guy.”
Transforming the Cardboard in Our Lives
In my book, Live in the Q – The Axiom for Work and Life, we learn that “seeing is the key to being quintessential.” Seeing correctly, truthfully, is the magic pencil shavings that bring any cardboard cutout to life.
Our lives may not always feel as nightmarish as Mr. Taz Dev’s did just now, but to some degree or another, we live with cardboard in our lives, and the difficulty that arises with those cutouts is very real.
Any troubled relationship–anytime we are seeing another as a 5’ x 3’ x .25” corrugated obstacle in our world–brings negative emotions that permeate every other aspect of our lives. There is no hiding from those unwanted feelings. Ignoring or suppressing or pretending them away doesn’t work. Running from them isn’t possible either. We’ve learned all too well that “there ain’t no place that far.”
Troubled feelings that turn the people in our lives into “things,” “ITs,” mannequins, rob us of time and energy that could be more productively spent in ‘Q-Living’ ways. Troubled feelings rob us tremendously of efficiency and productivity in work and life. Our happiness suffers. In fact, the cardboard equation could be written thus: The amount of cardboard you interact with daily is directly proportional to the amount of unhappiness you feel. And it works in the inverse as well: No cardboard? Know awesome! (Know cardboard? No fun.)
It’s worth restating then, that learning the art of being fully present with others (in order to see them correctly and bring them to life), IS the most important thing we can do to be the person we want to be! Everything else, as noble an endeavor as it may be, is secondary. It is the code that unlocks the door to being our very best selves, as often as we possibly can. It is the ‘Q key’ that brings Humanity and Presence together in our being, that we may live quintessentially, every single day!
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For more information about transforming your Me-Zone] relationships into REAL, living, deeply meaningful, harmonious interactions, please contact me. Training in various formats is available. Customizable opportunities are waiting!
Ms. BOP is a reference! And now Taz Dev is too.