The truth about my se­cret of­fice re­la­tion­ship

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - FRONT PAGE -

ISEEM to re­mem­ber that I of­ten stum­ble into De­cem­ber a bit flat, punch­drunk and not sure where I be­long. It’s par­tially the rain and dark­ness and all that, and I think it’s to do with the end of a run of TV too. No mat­ter how long or short a run of TV is, I find it weirdly an­ti­cli­mac­tic and bleak when it’s over. You’re dy­ing to get to the end in one way and then you do, and you’re not quite sure how to feel.

I think I also feel at this time of year I’ve used up all my tol­er­ance for the year. Peo­ple start piss­ing me off. If one per­son is piss­ing you off, it could be their fault. But if it’s more than one, you have to won­der if you are the prob­lem.

I’ve been try­ing to get through the ir­ri­ta­tion with fu­ri­ous bouts of med­i­ta­tion. I’ve been try­ing to do the Lov­ing Kind­ness med­i­ta­tions on the app most days.

The Lov­ing Kind­ness med­i­ta­tions are the most cringey of all the cringey med­i­ta­tions on the app. The idea is to teach you to be a bit eas­ier on your­self and ev­ery­one else. They’re very PC about it. They say if you are un­com­fort­able with the phrase Lov­ing Kind­ness, you can just think of it as friend­li­ness. I sup­pose you have to be care­ful these days with the free love.

You start by giv­ing the love to your­self. So I lie there, hand on my heart, and try and in­fuse my­self with warmth and com­pas­sion and all that jazz. And I try not to lis­ten to the Cork ac­cent in­side me say­ing, “What are you do­ing, you dope? If this gets out, you’re fin­ished.”

The lady sug­gests phrases to say in your head, to your­self. “May I be happy. May I be safe. Maybe I be healthy. May I be at peace.” Once you’ve warmed your­self up, you do it to some­one you love, some­one who causes the heart to open up nat­u­rally. I think about my two girls. I im­age them there in front of me laugh­ing to­gether, which is, I re­alise, when my heart opens most to them. Even though when they are do­ing that in real life, I’m usu­ally say­ing, “Come on! This is bed­time. Not play­time. Cop on and brush your teeth.”

So I pic­ture them there, feel­ing slightly guilty that it’s not my wife in the pic­ture, and I send them Lov­ing Kind­ness. I some­times have a vi­sion of a laser-gun ray of it pour­ing out of my heart. The girls are the eas­i­est one.

Then you do a per­son you are neu­tral about. Some­one you see on the bus, or in work. For some rea­son, the guy who came to mind was this guy at work I never speak to beyond ‘good morn­ing’. So I pic­ture him and then I say to him, in my head, “May you be happy...” etc etc. I have no­ticed it has made me warmer in my greet­ings to him in the morn­ing in the real world.

He seems to gladly take my hearty greet­ings. Fair play to him, given he doesn’t know what has gone on be­tween us ear­lier that morn­ing. He’s just be­ing friendly. I’m only be­ing this friendly be­cause I have this whole se­cret re­la­tion­ship with him in my head.

Then the chal­leng­ing one. You have to think of some­one you find dif­fi­cult and of­fer them the love.

A guy told me re­cently he some­times pic­tures Don­ald Trump for this one. He is a more no­ble man than I am. I have a dif­fer­ent can­di­date ev­ery day. Who­ever is piss­ing me off most in that mo­ment. I ad­mit it does help to send them the love. They some­times look taken aback, in the lit­tle scene in my mind’s eye, to see me smil­ing at them, say­ing “May you be happy. May you be safe...” and so on. But they take it. And it does di­lute their poi­son slightly for me.

Then the worst bit. You have to do it to ev­ery­one. “All be­ings”, as the lady calls it. So I pic­ture as many of you all as I can and say, in my head, “May all be­ings be happy. May all be­ings be safe. May all be­ings be healthy. May all be­ings be at peace.”

And do you know what? As fool­ish as it all sounds, it does make me a lit­tle more tol­er­ant for a while. So there you go. I am the font of all love, send­ing good vibes out to heal the whole world. But hey. What­ever gets me through the day, right?

Lord, make me a more tol­er­ant per­son... but not yet?

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