Sunday, August 21, 2005

Ramming It In...

I could write a poetic story about how an Angel in the form of a hard headed Ram came and saved my life… it would be true and you would be amazed… instead, I’d rather tell the story how it is:

Three years ago when I began working in the department I work for now, I discovered what it meant to be treated like an incompetent by people who wore suits and expected you to bow down to their every whim.
Taught to respect your elders even more when they’re your clients, I often got painful knots in my throat when they made me feel completely hopeless… most nights for that first month; I went home to cry myself to sleep.

One day, after being run over by a nasty client with a bad attitude, I was called in to my boss’s office. And in the midst of tears, I was told that no client had the right to disrespect me and if I was going to make it in this business, I was going to have to learn to stand my ground without losing my cool… it’s been one of the most important lessons my boss has taught me to this day…

Chin up, shoulders back… I finally looked at all my tough clients as challenges! The challenge was no longer to survive the battles… the challenge became turning every frown that walked through the door into a smile before it walked out…

And the tougher of the toughest of challenges would be a stubborn Ram that had no patience for “nice” people on the phone, especially when they asked him for the kinds of paperwork that he hated and considered a waste of time.
At first I did my best to talk around his arguments but it just succeeded in a more defiant lecture from him on how I could make things easier on my client if I skip the bureaucritical part of the job. After the first couple of conversations, I could see why no one in the office wanted to be the person talking to him, and it became clear to me that he had just become “my problem client”.

Stubborn and impatient are perhaps the best two adjectives to describe an Aries and one day, I discovered that I had as much of it as my client! So on a particular day when tolerance was at an all time low, I told him that the only person making things difficult was him and if he wanted to make life easier on both of us he could just send me what I asked him so that I could provide him with what he needs…
I was direct, firm and even nice about it… and from then on something new developed… Suit and uniform found mutual respect…
I found after some time, that I enjoyed working with him… mostly because he brought out the better professional in me. This Ram had become more than a favourite client, but a teacher and in an odd way, a friend as well.

I got it!!!

For those of you who I didn’t hear me screaming and shouting hysterically on Wednesday morning: I got the job I applied for two months ago!

After the initial shock wears off, in comes the stress… and we’re talking major stress! I have an apartment to sell, an apartment to find on another continent and I still don’t know whether my stuff goes with me or not… Oh did I mention that I have about a month to sort all of the above out?... STRESS baby!
And so begins the search for a real state agency…
And that’s when I remembered the Mr. Aries… I looked for his contact in my address book and cleared by throat before letting him know that I was going to need his help.

Three hours… that’s how long a fifteen minute deal took. Not because the details were complicated but because we decided to get to know each other better. I was amazed to hear his partner say to him “So this is the girl her boss spoke to us about?”
What had my boss possibly have had to say about me to these two men?
They smiled and assured me that he had spoken very well about me with pride… I didn’t know whether believe them or ask them if they’d had their ears cleansed recently…
I wish my boss would say such things TO me, rather than ABOUT me…

But this story isn’t about my boss… it’s about the Ram that knows my boss, that knows my story and sat writing an e-mail in front of me to his contacts in Lisbon asking them to find an apartment for a friend of his. It had been a long time since I felt choked up without knowing what to say, but that’s how I was left after reading the words “Find the apartment as if it were for me”.

I wasn’t dressed in my uniform, he wasn’t dressed in his suit and I realised that all this time I developed more than the perfect business relationship… I made a friend as well.
A friend who not only was doing his best to help me, but who spent another three hours with me talking, giving advice and offering a helping hand.
Remembering back to our first lock of horns, I was reminded of that old saying “the toes you step on today may be attached to the ass you may have to kiss tomorrow” and although the saying itself has never motivated me, it rang a bell.

I discovered how much we have in common… besides being two hard headed Arians!!!
He told me his story of how he was successfully working in Lisbon when he fell in love with a Madeiran. While most guys his age saved their money to go partying, he bought airline tickets to see her, until one day he just decided that he couldn’t go on. He left his very successful position, to follow his heart and marry it!
Paulo Coelho wrote in his best book, the Alchemist, that when we truly want something and it is written in our destiny, the whole universe conspires to help us conquer our dreams.
Two days later, he found a job teaching and eventually he climbed the ladder onto the high position that he holds today!
This man is all about projects, he starts one and then won’t let go until it no longer needs him… then he moves on to the next – This is a Ram remember? The First sign of the zodiac! Innovation and Initiative are our motto’s!
His eyes shone as he told me his story… I know knew why he understood me so well, he could see my fears, my motives and my drive.
Confiding me in that he too was planning on moving to Lisbon, his reasons in doing so only made me want to get to know him even more. Married with a beautiful six year old daughter, he knew that one day she’d move away to study and so he was anticipating the move so he won’t have to suffer the distance when that time comes.
Shame kept the tears from falling, although I knew he could see them. I understood completely the reasons that made him my angel…

Friends are the angels that God sends us to help us fly when our wings fail us. In the last three days I’ve been overwhelmed by the love and support that my friends have shown me. Be it the kind words or the incredible actions, the support my friends have given me have already made this change worthwhile a million times over.

I nonetheless had to ask him: “Why are you doing all this for me?”
He smiled as if the answer was the most logical one in the world:
“Because I know you’d do it for me.”

I’ve stopped to consider his answer… but in my heart I know that it’s true.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Steady The Pace

“Why have you given up on him? Why?!!”

She smiled, not only to her interrogator but to herself.

“Who says I’ve given up?
Just because I’m not facing him, doesn’t mean that it’s not his face that I see.
Just because I don’t speak of him, doesn’t mean that he’s not on my mind.
And if I call him my friend, it’s because I’m sure of what we’ve got…
I haven’t forgotten the stronger feelings, but I’m hoping to build on them rather than take them for granted.”

Love isn’t a feeling you fight for… you feed it, you nurture it and you encourage it…
But you can’t create or fabricate it as much as you can buy it in a store.
No one knows where it comes from or how it gets its start… it simply exists.
The challenge is in building upon and around it.

“But how will he know that you’re still interested?”

She continued to smile, answering the same why she answered her own doubts:

“He can ask! Or he can look into my heart through my eyes…
The heart cannot find love where it does not exist, nor hide it where it does.”

What we see, mainly depends on what we look for – Sir John Lubbock

“And if he doesn’t find it?”

A sad look came upon her face, as she repeated her heart’s resolution:

“Then it wasn’t love he was looking for…
We’ll remain friends…
And things will be as they should be…”

In a world where so few hold on to the finish line, it’s easy to imagine that the other person has given up. Have they really? Or are they merely catching their breath before continuing? Have you considered that the time they rest may just be the time they need to make it to the end? Or perhaps… they’re waiting for you to catch up.

Men are more accountable for their intentions then their actions or words, so before you jump to another conclusion… ask a person what they mean and what it is that drives them to make their decisions, choose their words, actions and attitudes.

“...He once asked me if I’d still feel this courageous if suggestions became a reality…
I won’t run from the opportunity to touch his heart…
Nor will I stay if I find it empty…
Time will tell our fate.
Therefore there is no rush, no need for forced words or emotions…
Whatever compliments these feelings will develop as naturally as they did.”

And for those of you reluctant to try consider the following:
Things never go so well that one should have no fear,
Nor never so bad that one should have no hope.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

No Need to be Rescued.

No Need to be Rescued.

I’ve spent a good deal of my life waiting.
Merely waiting…
Waiting for a bus, for a turn, for an opportunity…
Suppressing anxiety, holding back fears, summoning courage and patience…
Simply waiting to achieve, to arrive, to find and to conquer.
I’ve waited to be shown the way, to be taught the crafts and to be rescued.
Ah yes!
To be rescued… from others, from life, from myself…
We all so desperately want to be rescued.
And so we wait…

Hugging my legs to my body I recall staring at my bedroom door just waiting for it to burst open… Mom or Dad was supposed to walk in, ask me what was wrong, where I was hurting and how they were going to make it better. They were supposed to rescue me from my heart ache and make all the hurt go away…
Sometimes they came, sometimes they didn’t… however, it was at the crucial times that I felt most alone, the darkest hours that I sat and waited for them…

I waited to be asked, I waited to be told, I waited to be rescued.

The air hostess begged me to switch off my cellular phone. I couldn’t! I was saying goodbye to my best friend whilst I stared at the doors. Any minute now… any minute someone was going to rush through the door and beg me to stay.
Oh God, they’re closing the doors!
Tears began to fall as I lost hope of being saved off the plane. And it wasn’t until the plane took off that I realised that I’d been waiting all the time… waiting to be rescued from the edge, from my own decisions…

Waiting for the answers, waiting for the maturity, waiting for the wisdom… to know when and how to stop waiting.

I stared at the light dimming on my cellular phone and tried to hide my disappointment. He wasn’t coming. He wouldn’t be sharing the joy with me tonight and I would have to content myself with the music and the friends who share it with me.
I tried not staring out at the stars for they remind me of his presence, nor at the door for it reminded me of his absence. Somehow I ended the night still waiting for him to surprise me, to come and claim that last dance…

Waiting to be appreciated, waiting to be understood, waiting to be loved…

I recall a time when I stared at the dance floor envious of those who possessed it, dominated it and honoured it with their moves.
I felt that I didn’t belong; I didn’t have the moves or the invitation.
Dreaming of dancing upon it, yet having no faith that I ever would.
Desperately searching each hand as the one that would take me there and teach me to dance.
Waiting to be taught to dance, waiting to be taken onto the dance floor… Oh how I waited!
Waiting, hoping, and believing that one day I’d be taught to move, that one day I’d dance… My faith grew weak and one day I realised that I was never going to dance and conformed myself to being no more than a spectator.

Until one day… I got up, I stepped onto the dance floor and I danced.
It was that easy, it was that hard.
I forgot the steps my brain had learnt and entrusted them to my heart that let rhythm guide my body’s movements. I stopped caring who was watching, or how I was dancing… I merely danced.

And when the music stopped, those who saw me applauded me… much to my amazement.

I came to the conclusion that dancing isn’t something you learn, it’s something you do and that it probably looks insane to those who can’t hear the music.
That hand that guides you, the feet that lead you and the voice that encourages is none other than your own.
Our friends, family and loved ones are the angels that God sends us to bear us witness. They give us opinions, they give us advice, they give us support and they love us for who we are but they will not rescue us. Only we can rescue ourselves.

Lost in the music, I thought of no more, than how happy I was that I’d found the courage to step upon the dance floor. I no longer needed or wanted a hand, a foot or a partner.
I was glad to have my friends around me, but I could and would still dance if they left…
It was when I was enjoying the music at lost in the beat that I felt someone touch my hand, take my arm and move along to the music with me. I suddenly heard new songs, tried new moves and discovered a different side to dancing. The partner I’d been waiting to rescue me and ask me to dance had been on the dance floor all along…
I discovered that the teachers and partners that you seek; find you on the dance floor.

I would’ve danced even sooner if I’d joined those who called onto me from the dance floor. I then realised that they didn’t know I danced because I never showed them or shared my desire with them… in fact, in life, no matter how many people you have around you that love you, they can never help or support you if you don’t ask.
How will they know if you don’t tell them?
Even God, who knows your heart, needs your prayers in order to answer them.

Life begins and ends at your comfort zone – Neale Donald Walsh

Once upon a time, I rescued myself from myself and I’ve been free ever since.

Waiting and worrying are the most fruitless attitudes a person can have. Those who wait for the right moment to have children never conceive for there is no righter moment than now and there is no greater hero than you.
Who you become, what you achieve and even how you think depends on what you do with the experiences life gives you. It’s so easy to blame someone else, to shift responsibility and play victim to circumstance. We only truly begin to grow and life when we stop taking ourselves so seriously and accept responsibility for both the good and bad in our lives.

Life is a stage that permits no rehearsals, therefore sing, cry, dance, laugh and love before the curtains closes with no applause…