I’m not sure why I have this belief:
That if my house phone or my cell phone rings, I need to answer it.
I’m required to answer it.
It doesn’t matter if I’m in the middle of an activity:
or talking with my children
or doing yoga
or writing a blog post for that matter.
It the phone rings, I answer it.
I don’t stop to consider if it’s a convenient time for me to speak.
I don’t stop to consider how, by answering the phone in this very moment, I may react to the person on the other end.
I just answer it.
And, why do I do that?
Maybe because I feel like I owe it to the callers.
To be available to them.
At their beck and call.
Like I’m stuck on having to answer that damn phone.
(Even though I definitely don’t always feel this reciprocity in reverse situations.)
But, a friend of mine who was recently over at my house and noticed how I was stuck on answering the phone while we were in the middle of a conversation, helped me to realize that I could stop and choose another perspective.
That telephones can be viewed as impositions.
And that we don’t owe it to anyone to answer the phone at any given time during the day.
And that we can actually choose to say “no” to answering the phone,
and that we don’t have to feel badly that we would be, G-d forbid, insulting the caller by not answering at that exact moment (whether we can identify who the caller is or not).
Looking underneath this all, I’m guessing the root of this is just plain old desire (to please the caller)… desire, which appears a zillion others times in our lives everyday.
Like while eating:
The desire to finish what’s on your plate,
The desire for the next bite,
The desire to eat when others are eating,
The desire to eat dessert, even when you are full.
And so, in the framework of STUCK, I pause and breathe,
in order to be able to consider changing perspectives,
in order to be able to choose another way.
And, so I will practice.
To be more aware and pause when I hear the phone ring,
and not act like a Pavlovian dog responding out of conditioning.
And, for fun, I’m changing the signature on my outgoing emails that I write from my cell phone to read:
Blessed are You, G-d, who has given humans the wisdom to have created the cell phone and has also give them the knowledge and ability to know when not to answer them.
And then, I guess I’ll probably have to do the same practice for emails.
But for now, one practice at a time.