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Saturday, May 30, 2009

B. Come Up With a Plan

We have made a commitment. We want to improve our lives and by default, the lives of the people around us.

We have recognized all of those faulty beliefs, we have begun to wrestle control of our egos by recognizing and admitting that our false sense of self had control of us. How then do we put this all together?

We adopt a plan. A daily plan. It will only take a few minutes each day. We will learn by repetitively installing our new belief system and going over it until it becomes second nature to us.

What I'm about to suggest worked well for me. I am also going to talk about an incident that happened to me well after I had adopted my plan. It was a failure on my part to stick to the plan and it serves as a constant reminder of just how tenuous this process is and just how easy it is to let our egos back in and wrestle control of us.

My daily plan was relatively simple. Each morning for months, I meditated for five to ten minutes. Completely wiping any thoughts out of my mind. Emotional silence.

I then used a subsequent five or ten minutes to go over my daily plan. That daily plan included adherence to the four agreements. I also added an additional ten things or so. Some of those things included refusing to control situations, refusing to engage in one up and diminishing conversations, refusing to get angry, seeking to understand, listening instead of formulating thoughts and talking so much, refusing to make judgments, (very key-for me) and I refused to attach any out come or expectations to anything. In other words, if I applied for a job and never heard from a prospective employer, I was ok with that. It was beyond my control and I was satisfied that I had done my part. What happened after the application process was beyond my control.

And ALWAYS, I sought to apply unconditional love to those human beings I just don't understand.

My plan was fluid and I changed, updated, or deleted things as needed. The plan, my plan, only applied to me. It was unique to me. Just as yours should be for you.

About a week after implementing my plan, I had a complete system failure. It happened at a Walmart store on Tchoupitoulas St. in New Orleans. I offer it to you only as an example that no plan is perfect and it's ok to have a complete and utter emotional fiasco. We learn from it.

This particular Walmart is very busy. After 3 PM, the store is awash in shoppers. About a week after adopting and committing to my plan, I stopped into the store to grab a few things on my way home. All of the lines were at least five customers deep. It was ugly. I found a line. What happened next was even beyond my wildest comprehension. I can't even embellish this.

The first shopper had two carts full of items. When the cashier finished, the shopper had acquired more items than she could pay for. Painstakingly removing the "un neccessary" items one by one, they finally reduced the total to an agreeable amount and left a small mountain of items at the end of the checkstand and piled on the floor. The second shopper did the same thing and added to the growing mountain of unpaid items. The third person in line, had his card rejected and thus he walked over to an ATM and got cash with the very same card and returned. By this time I had been in line 30 minutes. My ego was in control. I was on fire, awash in angry emotions and wondering if everyone in this line was an idiot. I wanted to flee. Just after the third shopper left, the cashier got a cell phone call and took it, yelling I suppose at her significant other and unable to concentrate on what she was doing. The gal ahead of me did precisely what the first two shoppers had done. Bought too many items. I didn't understand that all of these shoppers were using government issued assistance of some sort until the gal ahead of me tried to pay. The cashier, finally off the cellphone, stopped and began asking her what she wanted to remove. By this time I had been in line nearly 45 minutes. I was suffering a complete and total emotional breakdown and had to flee. I did the only thing I could do.

I said, "excuse me, how much does she owe?" The cashier said 48.03 cents. I then asked the shopper if I could pay for it. She said "yes." I whipped out a fifty and settled it. The shopper was very grateful and asked for my phone number. She said she would pay me back. I gave it to her. I did not ask her for her number.

When it was my turn, the cashier said, "you'll never see that money, again." I disagreed and said "if I don't, I'm ok with it." The cashier then said well if she pays you back, I want you to tell me. I said ok.

Nearly one hour after this fiasco started, I was freed from that Walmart prison. I was completely and utterly spent. I was totally disappointed at my internal emotions and my inability to accept that people were just living their lives, unconscious for sure, but that I could have left that line at any time.

Two days later, I got a call. It was the shopper. I gave her directions to my house. She gave me the 50 bucks in person. I didn't really expect that. Her kids even hugged me. I stopped by that Walmart a few days later to tell the cashier. (I did not buy anything) She seemed shocked.

After that episode, I added a few things to my daily plan. It has been working well with a few bumps along the way.

Thus, we begin to see that we are really developing a plan to emotionally risk manage ourselves and lessen the effects of dark emotions. We really do have a choice. We always do. When we get better, so does everything around us. Real emotional freedom is just around the corner.

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