In our first podcast, Pathways to Resilience and Healing, we ask how can we nurture ourselves and strengthen our self-empowerment? Randy Carson and I will model a two-chair dialogue between a father and his son, Edgar, a rebel character in my story Sex Education. It’s a snapshot of how our inner conflicts and self-criticism can be resolved and how we can grow compassion for ourselves and others.
Speaking of rebels, I’ve been called that myself. And, like most of us, I have an inner critic.
I’m chuckling now and thinking of my experience at the community swimming pool the other morning.
I’ve been swimming laps several times a week for years. Sometimes it gets pretty busy at the pool and it’s considered pool etiquette to share your lane–when requested by another swimmer. I have to confess, rather guiltily, that I hate sharing my lane. It’s not as relaxing and there’s always a risk of collision.
That morning, feeling protective of a sore shoulder, I was in a lane by myself, swimming peacefully on my back. Backstroke, as you can imagine, has a much higher collision potential. And the inherent “flailing arm” positions seem to take up more space than any other stroke.
Enter a young woman, demanding to share my lane. But not asking directly. Instead, glaring at me. Talking in a rather rude way as she ranted on about pool protocol.
I mumbled, “Well um, I’m swimming on my back…” hoping she’d approach someone else. She fumed, “How long have you been here? Everybody has to have a chance…everyone here uses the excuse of swimming on their back, where does that leave me?” … and on.
I said, “I don’t need the lecture.”
Feeling self-critical, I was about to invite her to share. Just then, she accepted someone else’s offer, but I felt twinges of remorse. My serene reverie diminished. Like Edgar, I scolded myself as I swam along solo. My inner critic chastised me, “That wasn’t very nice, Kixx.” Clearly, my old ways weren’t working for me.
The moment of truth came when I got out of the pool. I walked over to the end of the young woman’s lane, where she’d stopped to adjust her goggles, and apologized. I complimented her on her style (she was a fast, capable swimmer, who kept to her side of the lane and would have been easy to share with).
She said, “thank you, I’m just upset today. Things are not going well at home.”
And, to my utter amazement, she burst into tears.
We chatted for a few minutes, I offered comforting words and asked if I could help in any way. She thanked me profusely.
This woman’s tears were an important reminder. We never know what travails others are experiencing and what anguish might lurk beneath the surface of another’s angry, strident, or even just perplexing outburst.
What, you might ask, does all this have to do with the podcast?
I’m feeling I’ve learned much through the process of writing my stories and creating the podcasts.
I’ve once again reaffirmed the value of compassion and self-compassion, resolving inner and interpersonal conflicts and resilience. I remind myself not to underestimate the power of nuanced dialogue. And I’m remembering to follow my own words, “Speak from your heart and be heard” – my lifelong challenge.
My experience at the pool was a salute to understanding and compassion. It was a gift.
We’d love to hear from you!
“A Special Blue Heart Session with Dr. Kixx”