Over a decade ago, in a moment when I knew I needed that kind of support, I booked myself into Sonoma Ashram for a few days. One afternoon I met with Babaji, the Ashram’s founder and resident monk. Weeping, I described the pain of being misunderstood, and worse, my anguish at being misrepresented to others.
“If someone is saying things about you that aren’t true,” he suggested, “swish cold water around in your mouth for a few seconds and then spit it out.”
He also recommended I try washing my feet in cold water.
Whenever I remember to do these things, I remember how powerful it can be to bring my attention to a part of my physical body, rather than let the unhelpful thought pattern continue to go ’round and ’round and ’round in my head. The shock of cold water often helps me see things from a different perspective, and sometimes that’s all it takes to break free from a mental whirlpool.
And just as often, words written by wiser souls are the balm.
Apart from the fact that “being a man” has never been a motivating factor for me, this poem is really helping this morning.
May I meet bad behavior in others without resorting to it myself!
by Rudyard KiplingIf you can keep your head when all about youAre losing theirs and blaming it on you,If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,But make allowance for their doubting too;If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;If you can meet with Triumph and DisasterAnd treat those two impostors just the same;If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spokenTwisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:If you can make one heap of all your winningsAnd risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,And lose, and start again at your beginningsAnd never breathe a word about your loss;If you can force your heart and nerve and sinewTo serve your turn long after they are gone,And so hold on when there is nothing in youExcept the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,If all men count with you, but none too much;If you can fill the unforgiving minuteWith sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!