We know what we need to do

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By Danette Vernon

I once went to lunch with a friend, who unbeknownst to me had invited two other people to dine with us. We were single, they were married. They ordered beer, we ordered water. We didn’t smoke; they inhaled a couple of cigarettes and then casually stuffed the butts in their empty beer bottles.

Having quenched their thirst, one of the two surprise guests started to complain about her marriage. She spoke of a husband so desperate to resolve a marital crisis that he woke her at 3 a.m., unable to wait until morning. The punch line was her derisive laugh.

It seemed within the telling that she wanted her open contempt for her husband, and for men in general, to be affirmed by the gaggle of femininity around the table. She got it, but not from me.  Unable to re-direct the conversation, I made a polite but quick exit.

It was a graceless peek into the private corners of someone’s marriage, but maybe her reveal had a higher purpose then the obvious. Who among us has not disclosed a problem with another person, or ourselves, hoping someone wiser than us, a modern day Solomon if you will, would be able to distinguish between what we should accept in another, or ourselves, and what should be given our immediate and generous attention?

I used to keep a copy of the book “If You See the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him” at my desk when I did life coaching. It’s an unlikely title, but the premise of the book is that we all know what we need to do. We don’t need an authority. The change we need to make is written across our forehead, and it can be delivered to us in ten words or less. The husband in the story above may have been hoping to “deliver his message” before his heart hardened too deeply to go forward in an unhappy marriage. The wife in question may have been so disillusioned she couldn’t bear to hear yet another pronouncement of grief.

I have no idea how their story ended, but what about my story or yours? What do you have simmering just below the surface in your life? What needs to change?  Or what do you need to accept?

The old saying is that “for the man who wears shoes, the whole world is covered in leather.” If you change your reaction, you change everything. Do you need spit out that one simple sentence to your mate that fully reveals what you really need from them? Or is it a matter of critical necessity that you accept that your beloved is different than how you might have imagined your ideal mate…but in so many good ways as well.

There is no Buddha belly to rub. You need no one to tell you what to do. You know in your heart of hearts what the answer is.