Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rule #1: Never Trust Someone You Can’t Get Drunk With

      I was at a local jam when Jimmy plucked the opening chords of Wayfaring Stranger and gave me the nod to sing. I opened my mouth and before a note could slide out of its cozy nest I heard Andy shout, “Why is she singing again!”  I’m used to him making snarky comments when I sing my so I held my peace (which is not the same thing as holding my tongue, thank you very much).  I winked at a guy on the other side of the circle to let him know it was all good and listened to Jimmy tell Andy why I was singing, still my shoulders got a little tight, my breathing a little shallower. Then Andy did the unexpected, he turned to me and said, “It’s nothing personal,” and he was right, it wasn't. Andy is a banjo player, a picker. He likes to play fiddle songs. I’m a singer. I like to sing, preferably with a little bluesy rhythm.  I felt my shoulders relax and my breathing deepen and just like that what ever resistance I had melted.  I knew it wasn't personal even if my body needed a reminder.
    One of the gifts of being older is that you learn that the actions and reactions of other people are not about you. I know that’s a shock to the narcissists among us.  They might not know that but you know it, right? It’s not about you unless you make it about you. I try not to make it about me because, well to be honest, the drama just gets old and really, who needs it. So I hold my peace and wink at a cutie.
     I had a friend, a jag officer trained by the Jesuits, who used to tell me that he lived by two rules, well there were three but one is raunchy and not worth repeating.  I’ve lived the better part of 20 years by Tom’s simple but dependable, rules.
Tom’s Rules of Life
                Rule #1: Never trust someone you can’t get drunk with.
                Rule #2: Don’t take out your stuff on other people.  

I try not to take my stuff out on other people and I also try not to let other people take out their stuff out on me. Occasionally, that means revaluating my trust levels, to paraphrase Martha Beck, and setting different boundaries.
   My life works better when I’m happy. Being happy is a good thing and you know when it comes down to it, being happy is not that difficult. It’s a matter of making good choices about the people in your life, how you treat people, and how you spend your time. Those choices are easier to make when you know what your values are and my values have become pretty simple these days, let there be peace and let it begin with me.
 (Don’t take out your stuff on other people.) Let me not add to or create more suffering for myself or others. (Don’t take out your stuff on other people.) Let me accept others as I would have them accept me. (Never trust someone you can’t get drunk with.) And when none of those work there are always guitar players and rock and roll, notice I didn’t say drummers, which would fall under rule #3.

                                                                  What I Am



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