January 30, 2013

No Such Thing as a True Story

This is the title of a chapter from Chodron's book, The Wisdom of No Escape.

It is also a painful truth for me right now. I have tried and tried to share my story with a new dear friend in my community, in my efforts to be transparent and communicate hope. 

My friends have typically liked my ability to be a sounding board.  I tried to Kill that Buddha, too, with this new friend.  

My story proved to be untrue and rarely helpful for DF.  I listened carefully to the way she told her story, and  could hear and see where she had her own distorted perspectives. After a good while,  her stories of her life were tough for me to hear, without asking questions.  So as not to threaten her,  I tried to refrain from that too. With limited success. 

The ultimate test, for me, came when I was "dissed" for asking my friend questions that might help her develop a detailed model of the work she feels called to do.  When she told me that she is a person who does not plan, I got very confused. I felt very inadequate.

In fact, she dissed me for being a "planner." I did not get to where I am in my life, without planning. 

I wanted to explain to her how average I am, and I was completely transparent about my own issues with finding work.  My story, perhaps, had more ambiguity in it than she could handle.  Or perhaps she wanted to draw from other strengths that she wanted me to have.  Not following my example of restraint,  she began to tell me what I "should" do in my job search. And tell me that I need to focus. She even felt it was OK to point at what she thought was a lack of confidence. And, in the end, she told me that she too is a writer, even though she does not publish, nor write letters.

Whatever the whole truth is, I know that neither of our stories about each other are true right now. 

And that hurts. I value my friends, and I value being mirrored and mirroring accurately. 

But the more I hold onto my attitude that  friendship must be a certain way, and grasp onto my beliefs about what it is to be a friend, or what a friend should be or do....I am deaf instead of being able to hear. 

I have been challenging myself, in this friendship and in all the newness of my life, to look my beliefs right in the face, and step beyond each of them.  I have been trying so hard to be kind, and looking right at the core of this messy experience, without judging.

This is hard!

For a long time, I have been shedding my confirmed and righteous beliefs in the program as the right way. This person and I met on that common ground. We met, I thought, with hope.  But she has returned the Sister program book she borrowed from me and every last pamphlet, too. 

I'll say this:  my friend knows how to let go!  

I worry at the truth that she is telling herself, though.  I am the first to admit the program is not perfect.  I do know that when it is used, it has great applicability and flexibility. I wish she had been a person who had spoken up and said what she wanted from the program. I wish I had somehow been able to avoid triggering her defenses.

But I tried, and I would still be trying. To keep our friendship, I was doing my best to kill the Buddha-- the beliefs I have about myself.  I also was willing to be enlisted by my friend to help her do the same, so she could step out of the trap of her story, which was full of mistrust.  But I have learned that is an inside job.  

If DF's done the letting go for me, it might just allow me to do what I need to do. I can go back to taking care of myself. And  begin moving in the direction of work that is right for me.


  1. I have learned that it really isn't my business where other people are on there journey just where I am.

    Trying to explain myself is really about me wanting you to like me. If everyone likes me I am a good person am meeting my high standard for myself.

    I can examine whether what someone has said about me is true. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't. I can learn from this self examination and not be offended.

    Friendships come and go and sometimes they are just for a moment. It isn't personal life just changes.

  2. It may take me awhile to find the lasting peace in your words, Grace. Does not mean I don't appreciate your caring to share with me!



I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~