Sunday, February 22, 2015

Keeping Balance: On Not Transferring the Ox's Load to the Cow (or the Donkey)

This week's slogan didn't resonate with me at first, even after going through all my normal research.
Don't transfer the ox's load to the cow.
Of course, being who I am, the first thing that came to mind after I read the slogan was the opening of Cow and Chicken, but once I was done singing that a couple of times, I moved onto the research.

Because I've found such help there over the course of this blog, I decided to turn to Judy Lief's piece at the Tricyle website first. The whole of her short discussion seems to look at concepts like false modesty and shifting responsibility at work and in our personal lives. I, on the other hand, tend to think false modesty is bunk. Further, I've got a bad habit of taking on too much at once and saying yes to everyone. Learning to delegate is one of the biggest challenges I've had in my professional career. At the very end of Lief's piece, just before her suggestions for applying this teaching to our daily lives, she did share one idea that started to help this come into focus for me:
"This slogan is also about developing skill in working with others. It is an art to know how much responsibility to take on yourself and how much to direct to each of the people you are working with so that each person feels challenged but not overwhelmed."
That's when it started to click that, even if I'm the ox and others are the cow, I still need to figure out a balance.

I turned next to the place where I had been starting in the past. Now, the translation provided by isn't different enough to share it here, but the brief explanatory paragraph did begin my understanding of this teaching:
"Life is what you experience. What you experience is your life. Don't try to shift the unpleasantness your reactive patterns bring you onto another person."
I could help but think of all the times I've said things like, "They're too busy to add something else to their plate, so I'm not even going to ask for help because I know they'll say, 'no.'" It's a different way of shifting blame for the unpleasantness, but I think it's still within the scope of this tenet.

So, instead of following Lief's advice, "Pay attention to the temptation to shift your burdens to those who are weaker than you," I'm going to reverse it and pay attention to the temptation to shift the burdens from others to myself. I'm going to keep that poor donkey up there (which was the picture accompanying the Unfettered Minds post) in mind.

So, that's what I'll be working on. Until next time, namaste and all that.

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