Study for Meditation Mat

Study for Meditation Mat
Handspun Tapestry Weaving

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Just Breathe: Difficult People

Another winter solstice is upon us.  Many people and cultures mark this time as a period of reflection and celebration.  We call it joyous and festive, but sometimes there's not a lot of joy and festivity in the air.

Everyone has difficult people in life. Throw a mix of personalities together and there are bound to be clashes.  People don't share the same values, or understanding of appropriate behaviours.  Some people are simply clueless, stuck in bigotry and racism.  Others are deliberately provocative.  Some days, it's a mad world.

You don't have difficult people in your life?  Good for you.  Now, go look in the mirror.  That face staring back at you is some one's difficult person.

When we're faced with things beyond our control-the long lines at stores, rudeness (never ours, of course)-the simplest thing to do is breathe.  Stand in tadasana, take a deep breath and stay present.  Put aside that list of what needs to be done and focus on what is happening right now, with you. 

When you're on the edge of a disagreement, stop, breathe in tadasana and then speak the truth. 

Being mindful and considerate does not mean ignoring truly bad behaviour.  In one of my favourite sections in Sylvia Fraser's book, The Rope in the Water,  Fraser wonders what she should have done when faced with her driver's sexual advances.  Her advisor recommends smacking the aggressor over the head with an umbrella, with all the loving kindness you can manage.  I love that passage.  I may not have ever whacked someone with an umbrella, but on several occasions, I've fantasized about it.

Before you go bashing about with weapons, try using your breath to help you.  It's always with you, it's much lighter than an umbrella and in most cases, breathing does no one any harm, unless, of course, you've been chewing on garlic bulbs.

Enjoy the moment.  And if I see you in a check out line holding an umbrella (around here, it's more likely to be a hockey stick), I promise to behave.


These stockings were a holiday commission.


  1. I could have used this the other day when I had to go to the big box store in the city! A few more busy stores and I was starting to lose my patience. It's all too easy to do sometimes.

  2. Those big box stores are scary. I tend to hyperventilate when I'm trying to breathe in one!