June 11, 2009

Day 2 Karma Yoga- When Help Doesn't

I was sad and preoccupied most of my day. The morning was nice, I dropped the kids at school, went for coffee then snuck away to write to a dear sweet friend who I have been wanting to write a long juicy email to. Then things got hectic. Just as I was about to start writing I got a phone call from daughter #2:

“Mr. H wants you to bring me my recorder and recorder books, they are up at the house”

My 25 minutes of leisurely writing time has now been whittled to 4 minutes tops! I send off a quick email. Rush up to the house, can’t find any of what she is looking for, and, in looking for it so long have become late for daughter#3’s year end forest walk and BBQ. When I finally get to the school I run up and tell daughter #2 I couldn’t find her recorder, she feels let down. I run through the woods to find daughter #3’s class, she too feels let down that I was late. After some potlucking and socializing, we all walk back to the school for closing circle. I am waiting outside of the other kindergarten classroom because my Karma yoga for today is picking up a friends daughter, so she could have her lunch hour to herself. I am not aware of the time, I just sit outside the classroom, waiting. Eventually my friends daughter is brought out to me. Daughter #3 is crying in my arms at this point, she is sad to be leaving the only teacher she has ever known. She is a sensitive soul and feels things so deeply. My mom is with us, so I ask the teacher to take my friends daughter over to her, who takes her caterpillar hunting. Finally we all congregate in the parking lot. I take daughter #3 while my mom takes my friend's daughter to her grandmother. What a busy couple of hours! At this point daughter #3 and I go to get a drink and meet my friend. I am completely unaware that during the course of this time, something has gone sideways.

When I meet up with my friend, the one who was suppose to have had a lovely hour to herself, she is upset, mostly with me. As it turns out while I was sitting out front of her daughters classroom, the teachers were inside trying to figure out where I was. They had missed me in the crowd of kindergarten parents outside thinking I had not shown up. My friend was frantically trying to find me, or anyone, to pick up her daughter. She was worried because she knows her daughter gets very upset when she is not picked up right on time. Plus her grandmother is wondering where the heck I am?! The situation had caused fear, hurt feelings and confusion. My friend was shaken, mostly at the fact that I had arrived aloofly checking my phone messages, she had spent a frantic half an hour of which I was blissfully unaware. She left without talking to me, she was angry. This was not how the Karma Yoga was suppose to work!

I didn’t speak to my friend till late that evening. I was preoccupied by our disagreement all day. When we finally spoke there were tears. I love her so much and wanted her to know how much I honour her and her baby, how the whole thing had been a misunderstanding. We worked things out, it is such a relief!

So I don’t know what to say about today’s Karma Yoga. I imagined each day I would feel warm and fuzzy about what I had done. Warm and fuzzy did not show up today. At least not until after the sun went down and I sat sobbing on the edge of my tub telling my friend how much I loved her and how I didn’t mean to let her down. We made it through our first argument. I do think that we will be even closer after this... ah the silver lining!

“How do you deal with conflict?” will be put inside 12 days journal #59. I have decided to hold onto the last two Karma yoga journals. I will give them away when I am on my travels.

I am off to pack, and for more end of school madness. Heres hoping tomorrows Karma Yoga will be a little less painful!


  1. I felt that entry right in my heart. Wow, what powerful words. I suspect that this friendship will become stronger but the process of it becoming was heart rending.

    How do I deal with conflict? Wow, that's really good question. When the conflict is not with someone who I love a lot I can be very present and rational and understanding. I talk things through. I work in partnership to resolve issues. When I am triggered emotionally by someone with whom I am close I aspire to do those things that I just mentioned. Too often I take things personally and get angry. I am working on this, though. I appreciate having the opportunity to write this down. Thank you so much.

  2. What a day! Dealing with conflict, mostly I avoid it. If it happens I get very rational and say things like "Are you always like this?" or "What's the point of that?" or "Are you drunk or stupid?" This, I feel defuses the situation sometimes,and is helpful in seeing the issues. It also allows me to feel superior and right, no matter what. The disadvantage is that I don't get to rant and rave and get it all out of my system. I guess the best answer I can find is to see everyone with love, and then no matter what is said or done, it's all an expression of love, the best possible under the circumstances.

  3. Conflict sucks, plain and simple! LOL. For the most part, I try to talk it through with the other person. I try to listen without taking anything personally, while at the same time being open to taking responsibility for my part in things, also trying not to beat myself up for my failings. I try to speak my truth in the least hurtful, most loving and compassionate manner I can, and forgive freely when the other person also takes responsibility for their part in things. If all goes well, we work it out and are better for it.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't always go this well! Sometimes you get into conflict with someone who doesn't operate with the same level of mutual respect as you do. In situations like that, I just do the best I can to do what I perceive to be the right thing to do, hope for the best, and leave the rest. You can only control yourself, not the other person...if they are going to be unreasonable and/or hold grudges, there's not much you can do about that. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, that not all conflicts can (or even should) be resolved. Sometimes they just don't and you just have to let it go. But I'm always, ALWAYS happier when conflicts can be worked out in a mutually satisfying way.