Chapter VIII – Part 9

Coming back to what we were talking about before we started our dictation: in the time space what does the question of power look like?

$ In my opinion, there aren’t any labels in the time space. In the time space everything IS. It is ridiculous but after I read chapter X from “The Little Prince” I can’t identify with the statement that men have more power than women.

$ Neither do we know whether it happened specifically after you read a part of “The Little Prince”. Anyway, as I said, according to the Chinese numerology: it doesn’t matter what you’ve got; it matters what you do about it. The range of your power apparently hasn’t changed over last minutes. You have done something so that a factor that limited you doesn’t limit you anymore. And as far as the attitude towards order and cleanliness are concerned, let me share an association with you. There’s something called a red herring, a counterirrtant, described in a brilliant way in “Catch 22″ by Joseph Heller: ‘When I was a kid I used to walk around all day with crab apples in my cheeks. One in each cheek. I wanted apple cheeks. Even when I was a kid I wanted apple cheeks someday, and I decided to work at it until I got them, and by God, I did work at it until I got them, and that’s how I did it, with crab apples in my cheeks all day long. With rubber balls in my hands I could deny there were crab apples in my cheeks. Every time someone asked me why I was walking around with crab apples in my cheeks, I’d just open my hands and show them it was rubber balls I was walking around with, not crab apples, and that they were in my hands, not my cheeks. It was a good story. But I never knew if it got across or not, since it’s pretty tough to make people understand you when you’re talking to them with two crab apples in your cheeks.’

$ Excellent! Are you suggesting that my love to cleanliness is a rubber ball and in fact I’m putting crab apples in my cheeks?

$ I had an association and I shared it with you. If it inspired you to do something – fantastic. If I am way off the target, leave it. Tidying up is an interesting subject. It is connected with the home. My home is my castle. I remember a scene from a movie about the A-bomb. They spread an order: Everybody to the fallout shelter, everybody to the fallout shelter. Everyone is running as fast as they can and a woman starts making beds compulsively. Her husband drags her away, forces her do leave the house and she keeps on evening out the bedsheets.

$ Tough. It resonates with me: to want to control something when so much is out of control. I’ll have a closer look at this and I’ll tell you about it, ok?

$ Of course. I love my job. Now, take our chart and choose at least one translation from reactive into proactive that you can’t swallow and tell me which ones you accept easily.

$ Let me start with what comes easily. Saying ‘and’ instead of ‘but’ seems to be a piece of cake. Why is ‘but’ reactive?

$ ‘But’ means in fact: I delete what I’ve just said. Listen to this: ‘you look gorgeous but you got on in years.’ ‘He is very successful but his work doesn’t appeal to me.’ ‘He speaks English very well but his accent is horrible.’

$ Right. At face value it seems more natural to me to start a new sentence rather than replace ‘but’ with ‘and’.

$ With time it may also turn out that if I see that they look gorgeous I don’t need to add anything.

$ This is very tempting. Next easy one – ‘maybe’. You see, ‘maybe’ is my second nature, it probably doesn’t belong to the easy ones.

$ Be gentle with yourself. You were saying: next easy one.

$ Next easy one is ‘where’s the toilet’. I like that one. Assuming from the very beginning that I can use their toilet. I can’t see easy ones anymore.

$ Which ones do you find unacceptable?

$ Many of them. Beside ‘maybe’, ‘probably’, ‘I have to’, ‘I should’, ‘I’ll try’ maybe – look! again maybe!!! – ‘I regret’ and ‘I wish’ are my strong suits. With a commitment worth a higher cause I analyze in my head what I could have done better or what I could have not done and what I could have done instead.

$ Self-flagellation of a perfectionist. I often work on perfectionism with my students because it is a huge obstacle in speaking a foreign language. Not only in this, of course, nevertheless, I’m putting emphasis on this right now because we are in a language coaching class.

$ I am a perfectionist. That’s me. That’s my way.

$ Let me repeat one question from our today’s meeting: does it pay off to be a perfectionist?

$ I don’t know. Sometimes I feel agonized with my perfectionism. Sometimes I am worried because I think to myself: if I weren’t a perfectionist, I wouldn’t have any ambitions, I wouldn’t do anything.

$ You have a right to choose what serves you. A client of mine, an epitome of perfectionism, came to the conclusion that it limited her and said to herself: from now on good enough is enough. She did what she said, being a perfectionist. Every time people mentioned her perfectionism, she replied: oh, no, no, good enough is enough. And one day she attended a meeting related to the renovation of her company’s building. Her architect said: this must be done perfectly. Of course, my client commented: good enough is enough and her business partner, who knew both my client and her architect very well, added: I’m sure you both mean the same thing.

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